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The Castle of Mey

The Castle of Mey, North Side, watercolour, 25 x 36 cm

In contrast to my usual subjects of open landscapes and simple cottages, this was quite challenging. Just fitting the whole thing onto the paper was the first problem, and then I had to get all those turrets and battlements in the right place. I started by lightly indicating the main features to get everything in the right place, but even so there was a bit of rubbing out and redrawing involved!

The painting wasn't easy either, with all the shadows and reflected lights, but by working carefully in layers I think I achieved a sense of solidity and depth.

With this kind of subject there is a danger of concentrating too much on the detail and ending up with a very accurate but rather lifeless painting. I think I managed to keep enough looseness to give the Castle a sense of a moment in time, but the viewer will be able to judge that better than me.

The castle was built in the 16th Century and was originally a tower house, a type of fortified dwelling common in Scotland at the time. It was altered and added to in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. The Castle of Mey Trust now owns and manages the property as a visitor attraction. HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, stays at the castle during his visit to Caithness every summer.

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Bruce Sherman said…
Good morning Keith,

All of the challenges you faced were completely met to obtain the facile outcome
that you searched for.

Working in layers in all likelihood was the key to your success. Successful water coloring depends solely upon that being achieved.

Bravo!... Another first class project!
Warmest regards,
We had a wonderful holiday in Sutherland last year and our visit to the castle of Mey was one of our favourite days out. I love the personal feel that this castle has, it is as if the Queen Mother had just popped out for a stroll along the seashore and we were simply visiting! You have captured the castle perfectly, it has the same lighting and colours that we saw on our day there!
Keith Tilley said…
Hello Caroline,
The castle does have a personal feel doesn't it, much more like a home than the bigger, grander edifices. Prince Charles comes to visit every summer, and apparently he likes the intimate, homely atmosphere.

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