Friday, 30 April 2010

Ringwood Hall

Some time ago my daughter announced that she and her partner were to marry. We discussed various aspects of the proposed wedding and during that chat they asked me if I would do a watercolour of the venue that was finally chosen for the ceremony. I was obviously delighted and agreed enthusiastically. A few weeks ago the happy couple tied the proverbial knot by civil ceremony at Ringwood Hall near Chesterfield.

I don't wish to be unkind to Ringwood Hall but finding a suitbable viewpoint from which to make a presentable painting was not easy. I took dozens of photo's from all angles. Doing a painting of any part of the building wasn't going to be difficult, but making it a 'Landscape painting' rather than picture of bricks and mortar was a different matter.

After much deliberation I decided to try and recreate what the Hall might look like from a higher-than-normal viewpoint. This allowed me to pull in landscape from the surrounding countryside as well as include the wonderful relaxing and tranquil formal gardens. Getting my head round this 3-D object using only ground-level 2-D photo's was not easy but thank goodness for Google Maps. The satellite view of the Hall provided me with a wealth of useful information not only with regards to what was on the roof, but also the way the various parts of the building fitted together.
A lot of time was spent on preliminary pencil sketches and in drawing out the building itself onto the watercolour paper. Perspective was obviously going to be tricky.

At first I wasn't pleased with the finished result. One of my weaknesses is that I am too timid with colour, especially the darks. The 'finished' painting looked flat and disinteresting but some arty friends nudged me into getting some more darks in there and it has made a world of difference. Now I am very pleased with the painting. My daughter and Son-in-law haven't seen it yet and I'm keen to see their reaction .... just a tad nervous about it too.


  1. Do you know John, I think your daughter and son-in-law are going to be pretty pleased with this, and I bet they would never dream about the vantage point! Your work is always very precise and tight worked, and I know how much time you put into each and every painting. Kudos for this one.
    I wonder if you used Google maps for the Northampton market picture?

  2. I hope they are Frank, and thank you for the kind words.
    No, I didn't use Google for the Northampton drawing as everything I needed was in the photo.
    Thanks again.

  3. John, just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog and your compliments. "Nice to meet you" and happy painting to you!

  4. What a lovely present! Such a lovely thing to be able to do for your daughter. So much nicer than a photograph. I think you have done a great job!

  5. A nice personal gift to give that is so much more meaningful than something bought. A lovely painting.