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 Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island.


One of the most evocative and fabulous views in the North East is the beautiful island of Lindisfarne or Holy Island. I find this place has got the most awesome atmosphere and special feel.

It has to be said the day wasnít the most beautiful, but then again you can quickly get very bored with painting fabulous blue skies all the time. So it's nice to have something with a bit of atmosphere.

Essential Supplies

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

Watercolour Paint

Raw Umber
Charles Evans Sand
Charles Evans British Sea
Hooker's Green
Burnt Sienna
Yellow Ochre
Alizarin Crimson
Light Red
Ultramarine Blue

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


As you can see from the first image I have done my basic outline drawing and put on my sky wash. In this sky wash Iíve firstly pre wet the whole sky area using my big 1.5" wash brush, then dropped in some yellow ochre and burnt sienna mixed, then gone on from the top all the way through with a fairly strong mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. Wash out my brush, drag out some clouds and then again ultramarine blue and burnt sienna mixed (slightly stronger) for some darker bits underneath the clouds, all done whilst still sopping wet.

For the castle itself, once the sky had dried, I used my No.8 round brush and filled the whole thing in with a weak mixture of raw umber and yellow ochre and whilst this was still wet dropped in a few tiny daubs of light red here and there, just to warm it up. Now let it dry. It has to be said, with this wind it didnít take long.



There is kind of a roof bit in the castle to one side, and for this I have used a little bit of burnt sienna. Still with my No.8 round brush and now it's time for all the shadow, it's this that really brings a building to life. My shadow mix is ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and burnt sienna. I have kept this predominantly to the left-hand side and then with a damp brush, just spread it across into the rest of the castle here and there. Look what a difference the shadow makes.

I swapped to my No.3 rigger brush briefly and with just one stroke I put in a flag post and a few windows here and there, remember at this kind of distance you donít need to see sash windows and net curtains, it's just a stroke with the brush. For all of this I used a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna to make a black.
In the next image it looks like Iíve done a lot here, thatís just because it's a big bit of all the same colours. I started off with the stone underneath the castle using yellow ochre and raw umber as in the castle. For this I have used firstly yellow ochre then raw umber all whilst it's still wet, and then put some of this yellow ochre down and through the rest of this whole area. Then Hooker's green and burnt sienna mixed and start with grass where my rocks finish.

Now as in the castle, I need some shadow in this whole area, so itís the same shadow mix, and predominantly again to the left-hand side. Iíve used my ĺ" wash brush to put all this on but also you will notice that I sucked paint out here and there to reveal a little bit of light and curvature to the hillside. Notice how the hill in the distance is weaker, just a little bit more water.



Coming further forward now and we have a dry-stone wall running along the front of the castle which, as most of you will know, is actually at the side of the road which takes you to the castle. Guess which colours Iíve used - youíve guessed it, yellow ochre and raw umber. Keep the stonework the same. I used my No.8 round brush for all of this, and whilst it was still slightly damp, dropped in with a little bit of my shadow mix to give it a bit more texture. I next changed to my 3/4" wash brush and suck in the grass below the wall, firstly with yellow ochre then yellow ochre and Hooker's green mixed. It's starting to come to life now.
For the beach areas I have used the Charles Evans sand colour which is a fabulously versatile colour straight from the tube. You can use it for mixing, for lightening other colours, beaches of course and it's superb for stonework. In this case, it's just as it is painting my beach areas. For the reflections I have used the same colours as in the castle and the grass hill, but a little bit weaker. Once this was totally dry I stroked over with a very weak mix of the Charles Evans British sea colour. Again a very useful colour straight from the tube, and it will answer all of your problems with water in general, just make it stronger for the sea and weaker for rivers and lakes with the addition of more water.



For the finishing stages I put in a few raw umber stripes into the beach areas using my 3/4" wash brush, this just helps to bring the eye into the picture a little bit more. For the grasses in the foreground, firstly yellow ochre, I bashed all these colours on with my 3/4" wash brush, then Hooker's green and burnt sienna mixed, then ultramarine blue and burnt sienna mixed. Flick up a few bits to make it look like grass, and then scratched some paint out using my fingernails for light grass.

To finish it off totally, add a few people to the hill behind, silhouetted against the sky. I used my shadow colour and my No.3 rigger brush. A few sea gulls passing by, three ticks in the sky. And there we go a nice day remembered on Holy Island. Incidentally, quite often when I go out on location and people ask where do I get my water from, in this case the sea was very close by. How about that for a bit of authenticity?