The Black Castle
In the Studio

The Black Castle

Thoughts and Process

Once upon a time, an amazing photo popped up in my Instagram feed. I love castles and follow a few of them, including this one in Ireland called The Black Castle. (You can follow them yourself @theblackcastle.) One of these days, when we get to travel again, I’d love to visit.

I loved the light and shadow, the cool and warm, the unyielding rock and pliable baskets. So much contrast! Inspired, I contacted the photographer, Sonja Bergin and she graciously gave me permission to use it.

My first step was to overlay it with a grid using an app on my phone. (Yes, I know I can do it with pen and paper but I do love my tech.) I printed it out as an 8 x 10 and proceeded to size it up as I had decided to make this larger than my usual habit. It was time to ‘up my game’ and take on the challenge of painting larger.

Once I was satisfied with the drawing, I used graphite paper to put it onto 20″x26″, 300lb Arches coldpress watercolour paper. After doing some colour tests to decide on my palette, the fun began.

I tackled it in sections as the size felt a little overwhelming to me at first. So I did the blue shadowed area and window first, then moved on to the warmer walls. Truthfully, I think I was avoiding the baskets because that weaving looked complicated.

Not sure how to proceed, I practiced painting the weave on scrap paper to find a ‘rhythm’. It took a few tries but I finally figured it out. All that detail took longer to paint than the rest of the picture! But finally, with the addition of the small details, it was done.

The Black Castle

The day I posted it, it sold locally, which meant I met with the purchaser and saw it off to its new home. And they lived happily ever after, which is how every story with a castle in it should end.

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