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 Warkworth Castle (Acrylic)


The subject for this System 3D acrylics project is the beautiful Warkworth castle in my home county of Northumberland. I am very lucky because I have subjects everywhere on my doorstep, this one for instance is literally two miles from my house. Down on the river here, there is even one of the old rowing boat ferries which takes you over to the hermitage and caves on the opposite side of the river. The village itself is a quaint little place with galleries, restaurants and pubs.

Essential Supplies

The items you will need to complete this scene are as follows:-

Acrylic Paint

Quinacridone violet
Titanium white

Raw sienna
Burnt sienna
Middle grey
Payne's grey
Cobalt blue
Hooker's green
Bright green
Cadmium yellow
Raw umber

1.5" Wash brush
3/4" Wash brush
No.8 Round
No.3 Rigger




As you can see from the basic outline drawing, I havenít fiddled and messed about, it is purely as I say an outline with any old pencil. I donít like the fancy heavy pencils because when you put the paint on they tend to spread and become mucky.

For the sky wash, I pre wet the paper using a 1.5" wash brush and then go in with a little bit of cobalt blue, well watered, getting weaker as it comes further down, then drop on top of this still using the same brush, some titanium white for my clouds and then a tiny touch of quinacridone violet mixed with my cobalt blue and my titanium white for a warm colour at the base of the clouds. You may notice at the top of the sky a bit of a blue blob, but Iím not worried about that, because I know that's where there are going to be some trees coming in from the top.




For the castle itself I am using a mixture of raw sienna with a tiny touch of burnt sienna into it. Incidentally, if you mix burnt sienna and raw sienna together this gives you half baked sienna - that was a joke by the way, donít believe me. Instead it gives you a great castle colour, I am using my No.8 round brush for all of this and just blocking in the castle.

For the darker side of the castle I have added a touch of middle grey to my mix. This is just a darker version of the stonework, itís not shadow as suchÖyet. However, the shadow when added will bring this whole thing to life.

The beauty of acrylics is you can paint your lights on top of dark just like you would in oils. And so here and there on the lighter areas I touched in with a little bit of titanium white.

There is of course the flagpole to go on top of the castle; I am filling that in with a single stroke of my No.3 rigger. For the flag a tiny touch of my quinacridone violet. For the windows I am using a tiny touch of Payne's grey mixed with burnt sienna, this will give me a rather nice black. Donít mess about with these windows, you donít need to see sash windows and net curtains behind them, they are just a couple of blobs. Remember no one is going to say to you, "That canít be Warkworth Castle because youíve only got fourteen windows and the castle has twenty". Anyone who knows, will know by the shape not the detail.





Now for the shadows and for this I am using a mixture of Payne's grey with a tiny touch of my quinacridone violet. And itís the strong shadows which will give this whole thing life. This mix is quite a warm shadow colour which I just loosely stroke over the other colours.

Now it's time for the trees. In this neck of the woods, pardon the pun, thereís a heck of a lot of them. Iím starting off firstly with a few trees in the far distance, and for this strangely enough I am using my quinacridone violet with a touch of cobalt blue just literally stippling on with my ĺ" wash brush. I want to keep these further away, so no need to mess about, just literally daub it on.

Now moving further forward time to add some serious greens, a little bit of Hooker's green mixed with burnt sienna. Now with acrylics, these colours are really strong and chunky so be sure to add plenty of water, keeping it fairly weak to start with. Again Iím just stippling on with my 3/4Ē wash brush ensuring that around the castle areas that I go up into the castle a little bit, so that I can see a little bit of castle through the tops of the trees.

Now Iím starting to mix some other colours into the tops of the greens. Starting off with a little bit of raw sienna, just a few touches here and there, this is just to break up all the greens so it's not too samey. Now also a few touches of burnt sienna, again just stippling on. These are the first colours before I start and shape them.




Now Iíve got my Hooker's green, burnt sienna and cobalt blue, I am going into the trees with this mix to denote some shadow in between trees. For the tree trunks a little bit of Payne's grey with my burnt sienna mix, but make sure you donít have too many of these.

Now for a touch of bright green, and again itís my 3/4" wash brush stippling on. Bright green is a lovely vibrant colour, but it does just as it says on the tube, it's very bright, donít over cook it. Iíve also added a tiny touch of cadmium yellow to highlight the lighter areas of the tree tops.

Now coming further forward into some more distinct trees. For this I am starting off with some fairly strong Hooker's green and burnt sienna mixed. Add a little bit of Payne's grey and burnt sienna to add a few twigs here and there before finally stippling on with a little bit of my bright green, this time mixed with raw sienna, still using my 3/4" wash brush. Add a little bit of my bright green for the bank underneath the bushes. For the base of the banks, a little bit of burnt sienna mixed with my Payne's grey.




Now it's time for reflections. Basically just repeat the colours underneath that you have put in on top. But interestingly enough, I am painting my reflections before I paint the river, then let this lot dry before going on with the water.

For the water, once all the reflections have dried I simply stroked over with cobalt blue mixed with a touch of titanium white, once this has dried I will be adding a few strokes of stronger white.

Iíve now realised that I need the reflection a little bit darker on the left-hand side underneath the bushes. So I am going on with a little bit of cobalt blue mixed with Payne's grey and the same to the right-hand side.




Now thatís the main subject done really all that remains is to frame it, and when I say frame it, I donít mean physically put a frame around it, I mean get some nice darks, top and bottom, to take the eye into the centre of the picture.

Once my water has dried starting off at the top with a few leaves coming in from over hanging trees. For this I am going to use all the same greens Iíve used in the rest of the picture, but a little bit darker and stronger. Iím going in with my ĺĒ wash brush with Hooker's green and burnt sienna, nice and thick and strong. And now you will see what I meant about the blue blob disappearing in the top of the sky. But donít fill it all in, you want to see some sky wash through the gaps, remember the poor old birds, they will break their necks if they try to fly through a solid tree.

Into the top parts of this Iím adding cobalt blue mixed with Payne's grey to make the leaves really dark here and there. Now a little bit of edging with some lighter green, basically a little bit of light green mixed with cadmium yellow, just a few touches.

Now for the bottom edges, Iím starting off firstly with some light green. Just look at that, see how wrong it looks. But donít panic this gets better as you go in with the other colours, starting off with burnt sienna and Hooker's green mixed, and whilst that deadly bright green is still wet, tap in with the darker green.

Whilst this is still wet, with my rigger brush, we will have the impression of a few plants growing here and there. For this I am using raw umber mixed with my Hooker's green. Now a touch of cobalt blue mixed with my Payne's grey still with my rigger brush a few daubs here and there. A few bits of raw umber mixed with burnt sienna for a few different colours. Now a little bit of Hooker's green and burnt sienna good and strong, not a lot of water in this mix, so that I am just leaving a little bit of the light green showing through.




Finally, in the bottom right I am going to have some Payne's grey and cobalt blue, mixed good and strong and dark down here. Then using my finger nail just stroking out a few bits and pieces here and there. I could have painted on with white paint here, but that would have been a bit too bright. Take off your tape and you have a finished picture.