Project 5 Exercise 2 – Squaring up

For this exercise, we are asked to enlarge an image using the squaring up technique – preferably a townscape or with buildings in it. I chose to use one of my own photos taken whilst I was in Wales recently, it’s a view of Criccieth Castle.

reference photo

I don’t usually tackle a scene like this using a squaring up technique, I prefer to paint an impression of the place. When we were there, the weather wasn’t all that great and it was gloomy most of the time, I have some lovely photos of the castle taken from the beach on the one morning when it was bright but they don’t include buildings in the foreground, so I decided not to use any of those. In retrospect I think I should have done because there would have been more ‘light’ in the finished painting. anyhow, I first squared off the image that I’d printed onto A4 paper and then expanded it onto A2.

I decided to use gouache for this exercise, for the white, I use Winsor & Newton acrylic, ‘cos I still haven’t managed to buy more white gouache!

I used a variety of different media to work on this painting, including soft pastels (for the grassy hill and parts of the castle ruins, sky tones. I decided to get rid of the car. This is the finished work:

‘Criccieth Castle’ squaring up exercise. Gouache, soft pastels and pencils on A2 CF paper

I now have one more exercise to do before i can start preparation for Assignment four.

Footnote: I discovered that JMW Turner painted many castles in England and Wales. He also did studies of Criccieth. The images below were obtained from a website that concentrates on Castles and Fortifications (, however the copyright for these images is held with the Tate.

Criccieth Castle circa 1835 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 The British Museum
?Compositional, Colour and Underpainting Study for ‘Crickieth Castle, North Wales’ ?1836 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Crickieth Castle, North Wales, engraved by S. Fisher 1837 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Purchased 1986

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