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Painting Eilean Donan

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Painting Eilean Donan

Painting Eilean Donan in one sitting was a challenge. And I chose to do it on a small panel and solely with a painting knife using heavy bodied artists acrylic paint. I did not sketch in any under-drawing either. It was all done on the fly in about two to three hours'.

I did make a few marks in burnt umber pigment with the edge of the painting knife to plan where the various aspects of the composition should sit; such as the Eilean Donan castle and its bridge plus the distant hills.

The challenge was not the physical size of the painting nor the use of a painting knife as opposed to a brush but the paint itself. It was a warm day and the paint was drying very quickly thus making it difficult to mix and blend.

Instead of pre-mixing on a palette, I mixed the various colours directly on to the panel support.

Of course I could have mixed in a retarding medium but I did not have any. All I had was clean water to keep the paint moist but the problem with using water is losing the thick impasto effect. So in the end all I used the water for was to clean the painting knife along with a rag.

At the time of my visit in July 2007, there were only a handful of tourists visiting the castle and its surrounds. This meant my view of it was clear of additional detail and my place of painting was clear of people watching and commenting on what I was doing and which I find quite off-putting, at times.

I started the painting during a mid afternoon and finished it soon after the depicted sunset. I moved the sun a bit too. When I started the painting the skyline was very much blue but overlaid with a white haze of cloud and which changed to cream then peach as the afternoon headed towards the evening. Eventually there was a burst of yellow and orange and which I accentuated to get the final effect as shown in the picture.

I did not have any pre-made orange paint and so I made my own using various hues of yellow and Scarlet Red paint. For some of the yellow I mixed Titanium White into it to lighten the final hues.

The light blues reflected on the water came from the light blue sky directly above me.

Painting the actual castle buildings involved changing the colouring several times as the light kept changing.

I made it look a bit more foreboding to reflect its history. I am sure some horrible going-ons would have happened within its walls during its earlier habitation. And perhaps especially during its medieval era.

I painted Eilean Donan castle again soon after finishing this one but I used a much larger stretched canvas and the sky is somewhat different and there is a lot more detail. To differentiate their painting titles I have titled the newer painting Scottish Castle - Eilean Donan .

Copyright (c) Edward McNaught-Davis 2018. All Rights Reserved.

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