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Charles Evans has a post-Christmas yearning for a curry

Warkworth Castle and an Indian restaurant in Amble comprise a good day out for our foodie artist Charles Evans

Charles Evans Art The Taj Mahal Restaurant in Amble
The Taj Mahal Restaurant in Amble

A bit of a departure this month. After all the Christmas food and the festive season in general, I just really fancied a curry!

So it was down to Amble and the Taj Mahal Restaurant. The interior of this place has really been tastefully done, with sumptuous leather seats and a warmth that is very welcome on this cold January night.

The place itself is very easy to find, located at the top of the Main Street. You can’t really miss it.

For my starter I ordered Ammaur Jhinga Milan, which is king prawns fried in garlic butter on a bed of mango and coconut. Sounds lovely.

For a main course I went for chicken dupiaza, a traditional dish where the chicken is cooked with medium spices and mixed with fried onions, green pepper and coriander.

Charles Evans Art Food at the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Amble
Food at the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Amble

It all sounded yummy and I chose an egg pilaf rice to accompany my chicken. No extras – got to think of the waistline after all the festivities!

That was a fabulous starter. The prawns were fresh and firm and very, very meaty with a hint of garlic and ground black pepper, lightly fried and fabulously complemented by the delicate sweet taste of the puréed mango.

A fitting start, not leaving you too full for the main event but, rather, wanting more.

Amble really has had a great resurgence over the last couple of years with eating houses of various nationalities and specialising in various styles of food springing up all over the place. I’ve picked another goody!

The main course really was lovely. I’m not into ‘burn your mouth out’ curries which make you sweat, start steaming out of your ears and necessitate the downing of five pints of lager.

Charles Evans Art Food at the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Amble
Food at the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Amble

Neither do I like them too sweet and sticky. This had a bit of a kick with an immaculate mix of spices, with just the right amount of onions, peppers and tomato all sautéed together to give a mouth-tingling fusion of flavours.

Accompanied by a very tasty rice which had its own mixture of herbs and egg, it really was a meal to savour.

The service was friendly and attentive, without being too rushed – all in all, the kind of place and people that really make you feel welcome.

Of course, the only drawback with Indian restaurants is that very few of them do proper espresso. This was no exception! A small price to pay for an excellent meal in friendly and accommodating surroundings.

All in all, a fab night out.

Charles Evans Art Warkworth Castle by Charles Evans
Warkworth Castle by Charles Evans

The painting

I started this view of Warkworth Castle, from the top of Amble, with the usual basic outline drawing.

For the sky wash I used my 1½ ins flat brush and pre-wet the sky area. Then I flooded the whole thing with ultramarine blue.

With the same brush I ‘sucked out’ a few clouds and dropped in a bit of the blue mixed with light red for some cloud shadows.

Once dry, I used my No. 8 round brush and painted in the middle distance with a mixture of Hookers green mixed with yellow ochre, followed by just the latter. All were well watered and fairly weak to imply distance.

Once this was dry, and still using the same brush, I used the same green mix (though a little stronger) to pop in a few field lines, trees and bushes.

I then turned my attention to the castle. Dampening the whole thing again with the same round brush, I dropped in some Charles Evans Sand to the lighter sides, then Sand mixed with raw umber to the darker sides.

I let it all dry before adding the shadow and details. The shadow mix was ultramarine blue mixed with alizarin crimson and burnt sienna. You can see where I’ve put this, into the darker sides of the castle, and I’ve also done details, such as the windows, with this same colour.

For the trees around the castle I used first a mix of Hookers green with yellow ochre, then Hookers green mixed with burnt sienna.

I used this for the dark side to trees, especially to the right hand side of the castle. The yellow and green mix was also used for the hill on which the castle is standing. I used my No. 8 round brush for all of them and varied the amount of water to make some stronger and further forward than others.

Charles Evans Art Charles's sketch for his Warkworth Castle painting
Charles's sketch for his Warkworth Castle painting

I used the same round brush for all of the houses, too. For the ones with red roofs I used light red and for the blue roofs I used ultramarine blue mixed with light red.

All the buildings were painted using raw umber, light to one side then stronger and darker to the other. Once these were dried I filled in the trees around them using the same colours as the last lot of trees.

Time for the water. I used my ¾ ins flat brush for this and a very weak mix of ultramarine blue with light red – heavier on the blue. Gently stroking over with a nice wet brush, I let the browns of the reflections seep in and merge.

Once everything was totally dry I slapped on a bit of yellow ochre followed by raw umber, quickly followed by ultramarine blue mixed with burnt sienna. Then I quickly scraped the colours together with an old credit card to give the shape of rocks in the foreground. After flicking up a bit of Hookers green mixed with burnt sienna for grass around the rocks, the painting was finished.

All the art materials used were by Winsor and Newton.

For more free painting projects, courses and art materials visit charlesevansart.com or find me on Twitter @charlesevansart


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