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Colours of the Dawn Light, Lindisfarne Painting

Updated: Feb 20

Welcome to my first ever blog post!!

I thought that I would talk about my latest painting Dawn Light - the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and take you through the process that I go through to create artwork like this.


Dawn Light Holy Island of Lindisfarne Painting
Dawn Light - The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Limited Edition Print £249 - Original Artwork SOLD

Firstly, I went to Lindisfarne and took lots of photos. I try to create a good composition for the painting using the camera. For example, I positioned the metal ring in the corner to help lead your eye into the painting. See Below.



Using a fine pen and the photo as reference, I did a series of small thumbnail sketches to work through other possibilities for the composition. At one stage I considered doing a tall image.


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne sketches by David Holliday
Pen and Ink sketches

I then did a very detailed pencil drawing, approximately A3 size. At this stage I have the opportunity to make changes to things that I see in the photo. In this instance I wanted to draw more attention to the metal ring, so I increased the size. The light in the photo was quite flat because it was an overcast day. I wanted to do a sunrise image that would have a strong light source and as a result cast well defined shadows. Unfortunately, because this was lacking in the photo so I decided to go over the drawing with grey and black marker pen to increase the intensity of the shadows. I also placed a white circle where I wanted the sun to be. I used this image as a reference when I came to paint.


Detailed drawing rendered in marker pen.

Before I get started on a large painting I like to do lots of small colour studies. This stage is very important to decide which colours work best and to get some practice before I start the final painting. I did a lot of tiny 2 inch by 2 inch colour studies.


Lindisfarne colour studies by David Holliday
Small colour studies

Next…I did some larger and loose colour studies. Painting fast and loose helps you to be more spontaneous and less rigid when you paint. The results can often be better than the images that have meticulous detail.




I wanted to practice doing the sunrise. I really liked the results, so I decided to make it a card and print. This one is bottom left.

The last image has a change of colour with more focus on the rocks and the metal ring. Again, I was happy with this one so I decided to sell the original and to make it a print. It's called Rock and Rust.




I now felt confident enough to do a large version. I used everything that I had learned from the small practice paintings and poured it into the final work. It took almost 2 weeks to create the painting but if you factor in all of the work that built up to that...it's probably more like a month.



Dawn Light The Holy Island of Lindisfarne art print




Here a some other paintings that I have done of the Northumberland Coast.


Craster Harbour painting by David Holliday

Craster Harbour - Limited Edition Print £119



Dunstanburgh Castle painting by David Holliday

Dunstanburgh Castle - Limited edition Print £249

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