Last Sunday I did a plein-air painting/drawing of the Palatine Farmstead, a historic home in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
The house dates back to about 1770. It’s one of the last surviving buildings from the Palatine German settlers, who came to the region after being uprooted by the Thirty Year’s War and lured to the New World by the British crown.
Until about a decade ago, a very old woman lived in the house with no plumbing or electricity. After her death, the house was donated to a historical society. A careful restoration project is underway to repair the damage from water, fire, rot, and bees. The back of the house, shown in this view, had to be almost totally reconstructed.
I wanted to do a present-day view with a retrospective flavor, so I turned to a monochrome treatment, using sepia watercolor and water-soluble colored pencils. It is 6 x 9.5 inches (15x 24 cm) on a large size (about 8 x 11") Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.
After drawing the lay-in with pencil, I covered the whole surface with a light wash of tone, leaving only the sunlit white planes of the house on the left. Then I drybrushed and detailed as much as I could with sable brushes, switching over to the colored pencil for the finer lines.
Here’s a closeup showing how the pencil and the watercolor combine to describe details like the chipping paint, the clapboards, the shutters, and the branches.
Photos of the house and restoration.