The Keep Scarborough

The Story Behind the Painting

Another painting inspired from my 2018 trip to see my family and friends in North Yorkshire. The Keep, Scarborough castle is on the east coast just north of my home town Filey. While I was in the castle grounds there was a market and festival on with knights, jousting and medieval arts and crafts.

I have always wanted to paint The Keep as it is a prominent feature seen from many angles around Scarborough. On my last trip I was shown a nice vantage point to take some good photos which has now become one of my latest paintings.

The Keep

My Painting Process

When I purchased my watercolour paints I was advised to buy some masking fluid to block out the areas you don’t want any paint on. I presumed it would work for gouache just as well as my watercolour paints.

I was also advised to have a dedicated paint brush as the masking fluid can sometimes ruin a brush if you’re a little delayed in cleaning your brush.


As I was painting a nice light sky with my new hake brush specifically bought for skies I noticed a hair fall out just above The Keep.

I used my finger nail to remove it and little did I know this would scratch the paper leaving a cross in the sky. The lesson I learned was check for loose hairs in new brushes and maybe use another dry brush to pick up the hair not hard fingernails.

I managed to cover some of the cross up in the clouds but white paint has a slight shine to it, making it visible from some angles.


This was the fun part, peeling the masking fluid off the paper, to reveal nice smooth edges. I then used a kneadable eraser to remove the pencil lines as close to the sky as possible.


Once I started painting all the stone work of The Keep, I realised that maybe I should have doubled the sized of the painting but once I started painting the vegetation I was glad I hadn’t.

I found the best way to paint the stone work was with a light wash of Naples yellow, followed different strengths of raw Sienna and raw umber.

I would then use a brush with almost dry neutral grey paint and drag this across the rough paper as it would only leave a mark on the paper ridges.


Next stage was to start painting some of the hillside foliage, I did this by using three shades of green for highlights mid tone and shadows.


Still working on the hillside I continued painting mid tone and the shadows, leaving the highlights and flowers for later.


Now this is when the painting really started to come alive as I painted all the highlight on the shrubs and added all the little flower heads and grasses.

I also started painting the under coat for the foreground stone wall.


As I started painting the stone wall I thought of my dad as he was a bricklayer and painted his initials into one of the stones in memory of his passing in May 2018. I have a few memories of him taking me to see the castle when I came for a visit one year.


A close up of The Keep to show all the fine details in the stone work and surrounding buildings and the two grass banks that seemed to give me no end of trouble getting the colour just right.


Finished artwork, I must say that I did loose my mind a little painting all the shrubs, trees and grasses and the millions of little flower heads that seemed to take days.


Finished artwork framed in none reflective glass.

I’m thinking of making some limit edition prints or cards of this painting, and selling them in my cousins shop “The Amber Room” in Scarborough would anyone be interested ?


Gouache Colour Palette

I use Winsor & Newton Gouache on Arches France Watercolour Paper, 300g Cold Pressed.

My painting come from my own experiences that I have lived and photographed while traveling. By reading this blog, you as a viewer can now hear The Story Behind the Painting. Where, when, what was happening while I was photographing the wildlife.
If you want more details about my adventures checkout my travel blog website www.ChrisOsborneAdventures.wordpress.com 

Enjoy, Chris Osborne

One Comment on “The Keep Scarborough

  1. Well done Chris, climbed up to Scarborough Castle a few times
    So much detail in the greenery, brings back good memories

    Liked by 1 person

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