||I begin the Cityscape ( two areas), one to the right of
Helen, and the other to the left of Michael's shoulder.
my masking fluid to outline Michael's shoulder and the the base of the column from the
edge of the line of the sky to Michael's arm. The building closest to the foreground
has a light gray roof line so I am masking out this triangular shape too.
After close examination of the photograph, I select the area to the
right of Helen to begin drawing the city shapes. For distant buildings, I am going
to focus on the shape of colors in the background rather than trying to detail the
buildings. This will magically happen on its own....trust me here.
||Ahh...the graphite sketching of the city
skyline...still more to draw...but I wanted to begin painting in some of the clearer
details in the foreground...and more masking to protect the white areas where cars will be
on the street along with the countless pedestrians...and also the beautiful fountain in
the middle of the street...
No matter how small the detail,
begin the first wash with water...just enough to wet the top surface level of the
paper....then a thin transparent layer of the color I wish to use. I will continue
to build layer after layer. For gray areas...I use Payne's
Gray...at least one layer of Pthalo blue for the lighter gray areas of the object...and
then a Mauve layer...and then I bring that area to the intensity I am wanting with more
Notice the street...one layer of water...one layer of Payne's Gray
and one Mauve layer...before it is done, I will add a touch of Pthalo blue...
I will come back to this area as the cityscape progresses...now more
||I continue to draw in the shapes in the
background....and when I need a change from the pencil....I begin to lay out small areas
of transparent washes....I find this really helps me in defining some of the areas that I
am trying to make some sense of...since the background city landscape is very complicated
in both architecture and design ...and I love simplicity...
painting the trees, I begin with a first level wash of yellow - (Gamboge) on top of the
water wash and then work in the greens, starting with the lightest which is Emerald, then
Oxide of Chromium and then Viridian. I use Payne's Gray to begin the shadowing and
it mixes nicely with the greens. I then paint over the whole area of the trees with
a heavier layer of Gamboge. I will come back to the trees later.
Tips and Hints
Gamboge yellow is my most overworked color on my
palette for base transparent washes. I will begin this color wash for things that
will end up in greens, browns, reds, flesh tones...geez...for almost every warm color
going. It is the perfect base for layer building.
||Tips and Hints
My Palette in Action
Thought it would be good to show you my palette and
where I keep it during my painting sessions. I have several of these palettes, with
two of them totally dedicated to specific painting requirements. One of the two is
for flesh tones only and I will show you a pic when I get into painting the faces.
Another reason I wanted to show you my palette, was
to show how much water I use to mix with my paints and also how I arrange my colors in the
cups. Since the Cityscape is limited to only nine colors, this worked out perfectly
for this size palette. Working on an angled drafting table allows me to
mix my desired color intensity and then gravity keeps the mixed paint in the bottom of the
cup. I find this allows me to maintain a consistent color level of my paint.
Top left corner to right - Viridian, Emerald Green,
Mid left to right - Oxide of Chromium, Gamboge
yellow, Payne's Gray
Bottom left to right - Opera Rose, Mauve and Pthalo
||I have now almost completed the first three layers of
washes in the skyline buildings and structures....The Eiffel tower is now clearly distinct
and I have straightened out the tower by blending in a touch of Cerulean blue and mixing
the tower lines of Paynes Gray with the sky. I move back into the
drawing stage to complete the foreground buildings on the right hand side of the street.
One of things that I am noticing with this painting is that it is such a
different format for me to paint this type of background. I rarely ever use
this level of detail in my backgrounds. My style of paintings has evolved to where
my backgrounds are just a blur, much the same as opening the F stop on your camera and
just focusing on your subject. If you go into my Cybergallery and view some of
painting's backgrounds you will understand what I mean. Paintings such as "
Lajos at Liberty" are highly detailed in the foreground and the background images are
there but with no detail.
||Continuing to move into the cityscape foreground, I am
paying very close attention to the play of light on the foreground buildings. I am still
building color shapes into the background. I have just completed the Indigo layer to
the background buildings in preparation to the Chinese White Wash that will soften the
background, but I will wait for this wash until after I have completed the cityscape to
the left of Michael's shoulder to ensure that I achieve the same level of intensity of
colors to both areas.
I have begun to cut the finer details in
the street below, shaping the vehicles and pedestrians....Still more indigo needs to go
into the Eiffel tower base...but I will save this until the cityscape is almost completed.
||I lay in the first two layers of washes in the remainder of the cityscape
and I will add more color washes to build on these areas...
||After completing the layers of washes to get the area
to the intensity I am wanting, I allow the area to dry and then I begin the Chinese White
washes to the background buildings just above the treeline...See how totally washed out
the area looks...While the area is still wet...I take my Bounty paper towel as shown in
the inset and gently dab out some of the Chinese White where I want the buildings to
Now I wait for the Chinese White wash to
dry....the background colors come back through but are the perfect blurry effect that I am
When the background is totally dry...I make a heavy wash of Titanium
white and I do a quick touch up on the white areas of the background buildings.
Because Winsor and Newton Titanium white is an "AA" paint and I apply it fairly
heavy, it will create a three dimensional effect to the background buildings.
The final addition of Indigo Blue for shadows in the buildings
really provide a rich 3D effect.
||I have just finished the triangular roofline in the
foreground...This roofline is important to give evidence of the sun's light .
The white ridge line of the roof along with the converging lines of the street buildings
below will help carry the viewer's eye to the Eiffel Tower. I just need to finish
the parapet wall just to the right of Helen and then the background is complete.
I remove all of the remaining masking on the Pillar and Michael's right
shoulder and left hand.
Now to mask our the area along the parapet wall to keep the paint
from Michael's finger's and Helen's coat...
||The Parapet wall has many colors that make up the
concrete and the flashing. The main color of the wall is brown...and not what I want
to use to contrast with Helen's beautiful earth colored coat...so I am going to shift the
color to pinkish grays...
I begin with the water wash...hmmm
then a Pthalo blue wash...imagine....then while the paper is still moist, I add the
following layers Payne's Gray, Opera Pink, Mauve and Indigo...
||I let the paper totally dry...and complete a heavy spot
coating of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.
Tips and Hints
Concrete has a pebbled textured and I create this
texture by wetting my #6 brush, then drying it with a paper towel...I open up the bristles
and then dab the brush into the Burnt Umber then I dab the paint onto the watercolor
paper. Keep your brush as dry as possible and use a vertical thrusting action with
your brush....Cover the entire area of the yellow ochre....
I now do a complete Chinese White Wash...let it totally dry...and
then I build the same color layers as above....Pthalo Blue, Payne's Gray, Opera Pink and
then I use the mauve to cut the edge of the concrete where it meets the sunlit top.
The cityscape is completed and I will come
back to this portion of the painting in the final details....
Now on to Page 3 The Pillar....