Monday, September 12, 2011

First steps in a watercolor

After yesterday's post, Tom Hart asked:

"When you're doing a quick painting of architecture, how likely are you to carefully draw with respect to perspective (checking horizon line, etc.) as opposed to free-wheeling it? I get the impression that for your longer plein aire sessions that include buildings you do a quite detailed drawing of the architecture. Is that right, and if so, how much by contrast do you wing it on these quicker sketches?"

So Tom, here's your answer. I do try to get the eye level, perspective, and big lines right before winging it later. If I rush ahead with color and washes before working that out, I regret it later.

The top image shows the picture partway finished, at the point of blocking in the main tones in watercolor with a brush. You can see the underdrawing just establishes the main lines, not the clapboards and smaller window details.

I added those smaller details with water-soluble colored pencils after the big tones were laid down.


Tom Hart said...

Fantastic! Thanks James!

Anonymous said...

Is it bad if I like the top one better?

James Gurney said...

Id, not at all! I know what you mean. And there are plenty of watercolorists who work in that way, keeping to broad shapes with the brush only.