Enniskillen Castle

How about a wee story behind a painting. My latest print, available in my Etsy shop, is one of Enniskillen Castle.
I have always loved a dander around the Castle. Some reading this might remember singing the Spitting image song on the way to swimming in the forum on a Thursday with Brother Mark casting his eyes upwards. After the swim we were let loose to find our own way home across Enniskillen. For some of us the excitement of heading over to the Castle was the main attraction. I can still remember looking in awe at Gordon Johnston’s models.
Last summer I found out that a relative on the Drum side fought at Waterloo with the Inniskillings through assistance from the staff in the Castle, so the wonderment continues…
Right, enough of that. The main message is that certain places have stayed in my head in a way that I know some day I am going to paint them when I get the chance and the Castle is definitely one of them.
The next thing is to try something different. There are some amazing paintings of the Castle overlooking the Lough the bring me there but I wanted to see more. So I decide to go up into the sky a bit in my head and try to see more of the town. Once I do this in a sketch it was time to trace and retrace until it all looks believable.
After this it is time to hit the piece with the watercolours. They are quite simple really once you realise that the secret is not fiddliness, but water and slappings of it. The more water the happier the colour.
From this it is time to decide where to start. I normally go for the sky, as there were too many times it got the better of me. If you look at a sky most times of the day it just won’t look right, try it, or maybe that’s just me.
I decide the Castle is the main feature so it has to be right. The stonework in the castle is beautiful. The next time you are there (on an essential journey) walk up and touch it, look closely at the colours. There is lovely smooth blueish stonework and crunchy gravely plasterwork with lichen in it that has a sumptuous ochre, green feel. Shadows play beautifully with light higher up in the turrets. I have to somehow capture these.
I start and things are looking a bit ghoulish, but hey it’s a journey not a sprint.
A bit more work and the stonework is coming to life. It’s time now to put other elements in so that it makes sense. I am getting excited now as the hoped for balance is appearing. The greens are drawing out the browns and knocking back the blues. The fight is on!
The sky is in now. Dear Lord, this is when things can go very bad very quick. I have to admit that on this one things turn into a blind panic.
Too much blue and the whole thing is swimming in a dog’s dinner that is getting muddier by the second. The jar of water is now spilling over the table, brushes everywhere and kitchen roll is being frantically dobbed everywhere. My nerves are shot as I look at a piece that has collapsed. However, I get thick and try to take some more off. Then I mix up a purplish blue. Possibly a change in hue can save things.
The little hint of darker blue over the Methodist Church is the beginning of the redemption. I’m beginning to remember a Wesleyan quote I heard many years ago “All can be saved”. Thankfully that was the case and the sky starts to have manners.
The water goes in and the masking fluid peeled off and hooray. It has worked.
Some nice wrapping and a gift message and the signed print is ready to send...
Buy this now