First Snow, Mullaghcreelan – Oil Painting

First Snow, Mullaghcreelan


The snow has not arrived yet, so I used a photo I took two years ago as the reference for this painting. Mullaghcreelan is a huge earthwork, close to where I live, which was the fort of the O’Toole clan in former times. Its structure is still very much in evidence with the ditches and ramparts surviving to this day. When the Normans invaded Ireland and passed this way in about 1180ad, Walter de Riddlesford decided to build a castle at the foot of this fort. There may have been an alliance between them and the O’Tooles but it seems more likely that the building of Kilkea Castle, so close to the fort, was an act of subjugation. Saint Laurence O’Toole was born here in 1128ad. and ironically died in France (home of the Normans) the year the castle was completed, in 1180ad.

The entire earthwork is now covered in trees. Its a great place for a walk. The sense of history is enormous. You can’t help but think about the lives of the people who dug those ditches more than a thousand years ago.

This painting is specifically related to the Christmas season. I will use it for Christmas cards or a calendar. I will do a few more in the next few days. I’ll have to get more into the Christmas spirit, in spite of the un-Christmaslike weather we are having at the moment.

The colours used were: Burnt Sienna (red), Raw Sienna (yellow) and Cobalt Blue. No medium, solvent only. I’ll have the video in a day or two, see you then.


20 thoughts on “First Snow, Mullaghcreelan – Oil Painting

    • Thank you Elena. The snow was so heavy that year (2010-11), that many of the evergreens collapsed. They grow too fast and soft in the normal mild years and pay the price when the big snow comes.

  1. This is such a beautiful painting Liam!! I love seeing your work and have missed it so much of late! Your paintings are so inviting…I feel like strapping on my snowshoes and going for a walk in the snowy woods. Thanks so much for posting and have a lovely night, Lorelei

  2. How cool. I love your interpretation. So stunning. After last years “green” winter I’m looking forward to snow this year (hopefully). Makes me lust after snow. Thanks. 🙂

    • Like the good summers, we remember the severe winters. That severe snow of 2010-11 will supply me with enough ‘snow’ scenes until the next one, which could be 10 years from now in Ireland.

    • I sort of leaned as I was painting it and then seemed ‘quirky’ enough to leave that way. I think subconsciously I was remembering the overgrown evergreens which did lean and some actually fell over. I’m glad you liked the ‘quirky’ tree, I’ve had a few comments as to why I painted it like that. I like the odd ‘mistake’, at least it’s memorable. 🙂

  3. Gorgeous rendering of a snow scene and I imagine that such is as rare as snow in Vancouver, except on the surrounding mountains. When you paint snow do you add another colour to the white? I’ve always understood that a touch of blue is required. Having never attempted snow paintings I am interested – thanks William…

    • Thanks John for the comment. Snow is not that rare, every 3rd/4th year or so. Because I lay down a variety of under colours with solvent only, the addition of any colour later applied (including white) will take up some of the under colour. This I find, is easier to control the colour of the snow, as the more the final layer is brushed, the more mixing happens. In foreground parts I would add a little blue for shadow snow and a little of whatever yellow I’m using for lighter parts.

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