Wells on a Wet Spring Day

I use a Chinese watercolour brush medium size. I feel they hold a great deal of paint/water which will help with the flow of paint and also have a very pointed tip.
French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Crimson Alizarin, Cobalt blue, Prussian Blue.

step1From a photograph add a very basic pencil layout. It is too easy to go into detail at the outset, but as we are painting a wet in wet (loose) watercolour we need to keep the lines simple.
Some elements may be left out as you progress through a painting and some may be added according to balance and spontaneity.

Step 2:
Make sure you are painting at a tilt of around 20 degrees (this will allow the paint to flow at a steady rate and not run away with you.
The secret of creating a flat wash or a graduated wash is to always have a bead of water at the bottom of where you are painting. This will stop the paper drying until you are ready for it to dry.
I want the Cathedral in the back to have minimal detail so I am going to paint this in as almost a silhouette. Don’t forget the paint will dry much lighter than how you see it when wet.
I mix a little French Ultramarine with some burnt sienna and a little Crimson Alizarin until I get the shade I am happy with (try a little out on a spare sheet of watercolour paper to see how it dries)
I want to achieve a granulated effect so I use French Ultramarine rather that cobalt blue. French Ultramarine is wonderful for creating a natural granulation.
Start at the top of the page with quite a strong mixture, then add water as you bring the paint downwards to the roofs. I deliberately paint over the Cathedral as I want to overpaint this with a deeper shade of the same colour when dry.
Bring the water down to the ground area and add a little Burnt Sienna to give warmth to the road.

Step 3:
Mix a little more of the same colours used for the sky and when the previous wash is completely dry carefully define the shape of the Cathedral.
Use this wash to cut into the top of the roofs to clarify the edges.
Allow to dry.

Step 4:
Here is the part where we start to splash the paint around!!
Mix a watery wash of Burnt Sienna and a little French Ultramarine and gently wash over the faces of the buildings as if a warm sun is shining down on them. You can leave little speckles of white if you prefer, I have left white paper where my signs will go as I want to paint rich un-muted colours in those areas.
Once dry, deepen the buildings in the foreground with another wash of the same colour making sure we have a darker foreground (we want to take the viewer through to a light area in the middle right of the picture).
The buildings on the right will need to be darker than those on the left as they will be in shadow, so add a little stronger mixture of the same colours and paint those buildings in. Notice how it is beginning to granulate as the French Ultramarine settles before the rest of the colours begin to dry!
If you have too much water beading then use a damp brush or tissue to touch the bead of water and it will draw up the water like a magnet.
Leave to dry completely.

Step 5:
Make quite a strong mixture of French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna and a little Prussian Blue, then starting at the top of the eaves and working down, begin to identify the shapes of the corners of the buildings and bits of masonry. You don’t have to be too precise as this is not an architectural plan; but an interpretation.
Make these washes nice and loose and try to let them flow down and across the road.
The strongest areas should always be where the shadows are on the buildings to the right and at the foreground.
Leave to dry completely:

Step 6:
Using a strong mixture of French Ultramarine, Crimson Alizarine and Burnt Sienna (Mostly Burnt Sienna) add windows and doorways. These should only appear to be shadows as we are emphasising light and shade in this painting. Then add water to the bottom of these areas of wet paint and drag down to the bottom of the page and over the masking tape. This will give the appearance of a wet floor.
Lift out excess water from beads of paint with a damp brush tip or tissue paper.
Leave to dry completely.

Step 7:
Now to add a little colour to the painting.
We can lead the viewer through the painting with different methods.
1. By ensuring the viewer to the area by using the thirds rule (this would be the area just under the cathedral at the lightest point of the painting)
2. By using shadows in the foreground to take the viewer to the lightest point in the picture.
3. By using strong repetitive colours to lead to our favoured point.
We will add strong primary red in various places getting smaller to our point of interest. Paint in the sign on the left, the bottom left corner of the sign directs the viewer to the next area of red, which is the red canopy towards the centre right of the picture.
We will add some greens to floral areas in order to contrast these colours.
Just add flat colours, we will add shadows when dry.

Step 8:
We will now add shadows to our objects and a little shadow to the cathedral.
We keep to our mixture of French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna and Crimson Alizarin and add shadows to the left of our signs etc. as if the light is coming from above and from the right.
Add a little more green to the floral displays and a little red just to take the viewer through.
Put strong shadows with our mixture on the buildings on the right and take these shadows down to the road and to the left.

Final Stage:
wells-high-street-websiteAdd windows and shadows over shadows in the windows. Put a few simple characters as silhouettes in the scene and strengthen the shape of the trees and floral displays with stronger mixtures of our previous colours.
Hey presto!! A pretty loose scene of Wells.
Hope you enjoyed this.
Please share if you did.