Sunday, 6 March 2011

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey
Watercolour on Paper
52cm x 34cm (20.5" x 13.5")

The ruined abbey is set on a hill above the town and dominates the skyline. Dracula came ashore at Whitby in Bram Stoker’s novel and the town has a spooky charm. It is a popular holiday destination for Goths.

The painting is a bit of an experiment. The inspiration was an exercise from Jean Haines ( book Colour and Light in Watercolour.

When I started, I didn’t have a clear vision of how it was going to turn out. I thought it might be moody and brooding.

One of the last things I did was add the white patch to the top left corner. I added it because the sky was looking a bit boring, but it really improves the whole piece. It works well with the shadows on the small tower slightly to the left of the centre and brings the whole thing together. The scene instantly becomes a sunrise with the sun burning off the morning haze. Dawn has come. Dracula has been defeated. A new day has started with all that promises.

I am pleased that, for me, it is an uplifting image because whenever I look at it I will remember Elaine’s father, Pete.

We visited Whitby in November 2007 with Pete and Elaine’s sister, Julie. It is the last trip we had with Pete. Painting the abbey brought back memories of our visit. We had a good time, but the severity of his illness was already apparent.


  1. This piece is stunning. I just found your blog as I was looking for someone's journey through the Nicolaides book that I just bought. I am enjoying reading about your journey and seeing your paintings. This one is my favorite so far. Absolutely beautiful.

    1. Hi Katie,

      Thank you. I hope you enjoy your journey with Nicolaides.

      All the best,