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  • Marja Brown

Painting Corfe Castle


I went to the beautiful Isle of Purbeck with my lovely friend Annabel this week, to visit some of the landscapes I love to paint, to see them through fresh eyes, from a different point of view. I paused to take photos, reflect on my mood, absorb the colours. I´ve painted mystical Corfe Castle, and iconic Durdle Door many times, yet never in the same way twice.


Durdle Door was formed 10,000 years ago by the sea crashing against the Portland limestone. Durdle Door, Moody Sunset seen here, shows the dramatic, breathtaking view I usually paint.




Corfe Castle, was built in the 11th century, and is sometimes seen floating dreamlike above the rising mist. The magnificent, ancient fortress sits on a cone-shaped chalk hilltop, cut away by two streams which flowed around the outside eroding the rock slowly, perfectly, over time. Corfe Castle in Bloom is available as a print.


Mother Nature has taken what seems like effortless centuries to create these stunning landscapes. It´s going to take me a couple of weeks to complete my new painting. I´m inspired and start by checking my art supplies. I select parts of two or three photos so that the composition feels more complete. Placing the beautiful, peachy roses blooming in the foreground and the foliage to the left will create more depth.


Although a portrait would work quite well, I prefer a panoramic canvas this time. I prep the canvas with an ordinary, sandy coloured acrylic so the paint won´t sink in and leave white speckles when it dries. I select my colours for my preferred limited palette. Cool cerulean blue, cadmium yellow, magenta, burnt umber, black to cool and shade, white to lift and enhance. I will create the abundance of green from yellow mixed with a little black and use magenta and white for the roses. I would never introduce another red once I´ve chosen one for my palette.