Yesterday in the West Village of New York City, a slice of afternoon light spotlit the brick apartments on the corner of Bleecker and 11th Avenue.
What attracted me was the way the left tree was a dark pattern against the light building, while the central tree was a light texture against the cast shadow. Since my main interest was this tonal relationship, and since I only had a half hour to work, I limited my approach to a black and white wash drawing.
I'm sitting on a park bench holding the watercolor notebook on my knee. On the right is what the sketch looks like after about 10 minutes. At this stage I'm dropping in big tones over a rough perspective grid, careful to paint around the white of the branches and the windows.
For the big tonal areas, I use two Niji water brushes, one filled with water, and the other filled with Higgins Eternal ink. The light gray areas are the clear water brush picking up a little ink.
Here's a detail of a section the size of a postage stamp. After the big washes dry, I use a black watercolor pencil for the linear details of the windows, mullions, cornice details, and small branches.