Hadleigh Castle

One of the greatest things about driving is the fact that I now have the means to go to places that are either inaccessible or extremely long to get to via public transport; I just pack up a bag, jump in the car and I’m off to wherever it is that takes my fancy, time and weather permitting of course.

Yesterday I decided to head up to the remains of Hadleigh Castle, not a great deal of the castle is left but there’s definitely enough to get a sense of the place and a feel for how it once stood so proudly and defiant against a most beautiful and scenic backdrop.


I found it to be an incredibly peaceful place to sit and reflect, there were a few people about but it wasn’t overly busy like many of the more popular tourist sites and attractions around the country.  Continue reading “Hadleigh Castle”

Vatican Angel – Watercolour

Vatican Angel - Watercolour on Paper
Vatican Angel – Watercolour on Paper

This is a painting that I done in watercolour in March, I created this using a photograph that I previously took, as a reference to work from.

The original statue is to be found on the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele bridge in Rome, leading one into the Vatican city, I’ve tried researching who designed the sculpture and who made it but without many results¹. The bridge itself was constructed to the designs of Ennio de Rossi.

Overall this painting is an interpretation of the battle between dark and light, good and evil, I have attempted to describe this battle in a few different ways within the piece.

To begin with is the obvious, a silhouetted angel figure, a figure that is instantly associated with light and love, is a dark black silhouette, no light emanating from the angel whatsoever, but it is illuminated by the lighter background behind it, almost as though it is being pushed forward by the light, and away from the light.

Upon further examination of the light behind the angel, it becomes evident that it is actually a storm cloud, battling it out with the much lighter and more welcoming pristine blue sky, whether the cloud is building up, ready to engulf the world of light or whether it is dissipating is open to the interpretation of the viewer.

That brings us back to the angel itself, so at first a vision of darkness, it’s now questionable whether the angel is fighting off the darkness that’s surrounding it and seemingly fighting a losing battle; being consumed by the darkness from within and becoming another fallen angel; or is the angel sacrificing itself, consuming the darkness to bring the light to the world?




¹If anyone reading this knows who the artist was that designed and sculpted these statues I am dying to know so I would be thrilled if you could enlighten me, I’m pretty certain that they’re not works of Bernini, although there’s tons of his designs dotted around the entire city; both Rome and the Vatican.

Hill Fort at Camelot

Hill Fort at Camelot - Watercolour A4
Hill Fort at Camelot – Watercolour A4

Here’s another watercolour piece for my “Camelot Series” I spent a couple of days working on in November, this particular scene captures the Hill Fort in the early days of Camelot, erected even before Uther Pendragon had been born as far the legendarium I am working with goes.

It’s still a learning process and I had a great deal of frustration and fun in the creation of this piece, in all I feel happier with this one than the last, if my work continues progressively like that then I’ll be happy.


Colchester Castle Artwork

As I mentioned in a previous short post about Colchester, I have been working on an area project as part of my college coursework. This post will show some of the sketches that I have created of the Castle itself, I’ve also uploaded the images to the Portfolio section of my site in full size.

North-West Wall of Colchester Castle, Blue Biro
North-West Wall of Colchester Castle, Blue Biro

This quick sketch of the North-West wall was done in blue Biro pen, I didn’t bother too much with perspective as I just wanted to get a loose sketch down onto the paper.

North-East Tower, Cupula, South-West Tower of Colchester Castle, Willow Charcoal
North-East Tower, Cupula, South-West Tower of Colchester Castle, Willow Charcoal

I particularly enjoyed creating these three sketches with charcoal, a medium that I don’t use often but I really enjoy using when I do. The sketches show the North-East tower, the Cupula and the South-West tower of the castle. Again I wasn’t overly attentive to perspective, I just made a couple of rough vanishing points and laid down my images. I really need to work with charcoals a lot more.

Colchester Castle, Pencil, Based on the work of another artist
Colchester Castle, Pencil, Based on the work of another artist

This drawing in pencil is most probably my favorite one so far in this project, I used a drawing by Robert Wisdom as reference for this piece, also this time I did pay attention to perspective, using two-point perspective to carry out the drawing.

Colchester Castle Main Entrance, Pencil
Colchester Castle Main Entrance, Pencil

Last but my no means the least, is the main entrance in the South wall, drawn in pencil from a photograph that I took on the day. I personally feel that of all my drawings so far, this one shows the character of the castle the best, capturing enough detail to show a nice texture of the stone fortress.

So that’s four of my sketches for this project, I still have some more bits and pieces to upload, and more work to do, hopefully I’ll get some monotype prints done as well. Also in my Portfolio, I have a few other things that I’ve done over the past year if you wish to have a look. In the meantime, thanks for checking this post out and feel free to leave any feedback and comments.


Hadleigh Castle

John Constable - Hadleigh Castle, the Mouth of the Thames, after a Stormy Night - 1829 - Oil on Canvas (164.5 x 121.9cm)
John Constable – Hadleigh Castle, the Mouth of the Thames, after a Stormy Night – 1829 – Oil on Canvas (164.5 x 121.9cm)

I decided to finally make a post that is simply dedicated to a painting, now that I’m starting to get the hang of blogging. The painting chosen is John Constable’s Hadleigh Castle.

Brief History

The precise date of the build is unknown, but it is known that it was built sometime after 1215 by Hubert de Burgh. Being situated on the mouth of the Thames it worked well for defensive means, against any invaders using the Thames; and also as a private royal residence that was close to London.

My Views

This particular painting by the great John Constable, is one of my favorite pieces of art for a variety of reasons. Firstly is probably the love that I hold of castles, the fact that even when in dis-repair and ruinous I can still feel the presence of power they once held in times long past. In my opinion, these colossal, stone structures dwarf even the highest of skyscrapers in today’s age.

Another reason for my love of this artwork has to be the recognition of the scene, as I pass this castle every time I get on the train. An amazing factor about the scenery itself is that it hasn’t really changed since 1829 when Constable captured its beauty on a canvas.

I hadn’t been aware of this painting’s existence until fairly recently, when I stumbled upon it whilst researching Colchester Castle for a college project that I’ve been working on.  In respect of that, I’m glad I did find it and therefore came to write a short post about it.

Constable has depicted this scene immaculately and without a single flaw, every part of detail in this work screams perfection in such a way that it’s impossible to ignore.

I particularly like the farmer in the scene as well, just going about his daily business, unperturbed by the remains of a once great fortress, as though it is just as much a natural part of the landscape as the river and hills. The land is still home to cattle and farmers to this day; and they still share the same views of their surroundings as the farmer shown in the painting did, almost two hundred years before.

The sky, being still heavy and quite darkened after the storm, sets the castle in an ominous appearance, thus lending it an even more powerful stance in comparison to it’s neutral surroundings.

It’s just a shame that this once great abode was built on subsiding ground, leaving it in ruins as years have passed, but with the addition of imagination to the remains, it doesn’t take long to feel and become part of this castle when it was in it’s prime.