American Town Houses



Sometimes the setting of a building can be firmly established by including objects such as cars (or figures) in the composition

I )i nvi k Town Holm

Cobalt blue and ultramarine were mixed to create the shadows here

As this building had a lot of windows, careful consideration had to be given to the reflections. The glass was painted using the sky and shadow mixture (cobalt blue and ultramarine) with just a touch of burnt umber s i n in n dincs

Project: House and Garden, Colorado

I Background treetops were painted using a medium brush, and by dropping cadmium yellow onto damp sap green, followed by a little cadmium red. The tops of the trees were then blotted to achieve a feeling of softness.


2 The foreground tree was painted using the same technique as before, but this time the cadmium red was applied when the tree was dry to maintain its strength of colour; also, the top of the tree was not blotted.

The first part of this painting involved establishing not just the mood of the day, but also the season. Many North American states are world-renowned for the way that their landscapes and woodlands blaze with colour in the fall. It was important, therefore, that this building, set among such rich and vibrant colours, was initially established against the correct backdrop of colour.

The treetops visible in the far background were painted with an unusual selection of colours - sap green, cadmium yellow and cadmium red. Firstly, a wash of sap green was applied. While this remained damp, a little cadmium yellow was dropped onto the tops of the trees and allowed to bleed dow nwards, with a little blotting around the very top of the trees to create a feeling of both softness and distance. Before this mixture had time to dry fully, a very small amount of cadmium red was touched into the damp paint and.

again, allowed to bleed freely. The trees and bushes did not require any detail, but they were strong in their depth of tone. They were painted by mixing sap green and a touch of ultramarine, then adding some burnt umber to remove the greenness, while enhancing the depth of colour.

The tree in the immediate foreground was painted using the same technique of applying washes and then dropping some colour on once the paint had begun to dry - but this time, the final coat of cadmium red was held back until the paint on the tree had dried fully. By applying the paint to dry paper, with no water or other colour to dilute it, the strong, deep red was created that can be seen on the left-hand side of the tree - the fiery colours of the garden.

Having created the environment in which the house stood, it was time to get to work 011 the house itself.


3 An underwash was applied to the building using a medium-size brush and a mixture of burnt sienna with a touch of the cadmium red and yellow that had been used in the trees. This was painted horizontally across the roof, leaving a few broken lines to represent the tiles.

4 Most of the shadows were painted using ultramarine and burnt umber - again, with a touch of orange - using a medium-size brush. These were painted onto dry paper using single brushstrokes and allowed to dry with a hard edge.

The first stage was to mix the appropriate colours to use as an underwash tor the tiled root"and wooden walls. As the entire scene was awash with reds, yellows and oranges, it was essential that these colours formed the basis for the colours of the buildings. The roof was created with burnt sienna, enhanced with a touch of the orange used in the trees. This was painted horizontally with a medium brush to suggest the lines of the tiles, leaving a few broken lines here and there (even .1 suggestion ot individual tiles would have been too much for this enormous roof). This was still only ,111 underwash. The colouring 011 the lower sections ot the walls was created with a watery mixture of the roof colours, toned down with a touch of ultramarine. This was painted onto dry paper.

The sharp, angular features of this building, and the sharpness of the day, meant that the introduction of the main shadow areas had to come next. The shadows cast 011

the right-hand side of the building w ere painted once the roof and wall colours had dried, using .1 mixture of ultramarine, burnt umber, .1 touch ot the orange mixture already used (cadmium yellow and cadmium red - an anchor colour for this painting) and a lot of

Cadmium yellow

Sap green

Studies of individu; leaves helped my understanding and knowledge of the colours needed for the garden

Cadmium yellow

Sap green

Studies of individu; leaves helped my understanding and knowledge of the colours needed for the garden

5 The shadows underneath the porch were painted with a small brush using a mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine, and pulled downwards. The same paint and brush were used to paint in between the white wooden fencing, to push the posts out towards the viewer.

6 The windows were painted carefully with a small brush. I worked around the white wooden frames with a mixture of burnt umber, ultramarine and cobalt blue for lightness, with a touch of orange for the reflections.

water. The shapes of'the shadows were picked out w ith a single brushstroke and allowed to dry with a hard edge.

Having established the main shadow areas, the next stage was to enhance the shadows underneath the porch. 1 mixed a deep tone

. Scarlet lake

Ll AF Srunu s

Raw sienna

. Scarlet lake

Ll AF Srunu s

Raw sienna

Burnt sienna mium red

Burnt sienna mium red of burnt umber and ultramarine and painted this directly under the roof of the porch, using a small brush. I pulled this paint downwards onto the dry underwash, and carefully around the bright red leaves of the tree. Seen against a darker background, the leaves appeared considerably brighter. Then, using a small brush and working onto dry paper. I painted the sections between the posts in the same deep tone, creating alternate positive and negative shapes.

Using the small brush again, I carefully painted the dark tones onto the w indow panel in the top window, leaving the white woodwork untouched. The lighter panels were painted with cobalt blue to lighten the reflections, and, not forgetting the colours of the surrounding garden, a little of the anchor orange was dropped onto a couple of the w indow panes while they were still damp, picking up the colours that were being reflected from the garden.

7 Most of the windows were painted using a small brush and a mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine. The shadows underneath the eaves and guttering were also picked out using a small brush, working onto dry paper, with no bleeds required.

The main mass of the building could now be completed by painting in the remaining windows, and adding a few c c finishing touches to the woodwork and guttering where shadows were cast onto the woodwork. Most of the windows (being lower down the building) reflected mainly the shaded sections of the porch or the lower walls, so did not require any elaborate shading. All that was needed was a strong mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine painted carefully around the window frames with a small brush onto white paper.

As soon as this had all dried, a warm mixture of burnt umber, ultramarine and the orange 'anchor' colour was run along the edge of the guttering using a small brush, and pulled downwards across the white woodwork. I allowed this to dry with a sharp edge. The building itself had now taken on a solid, angular form, bathed in the light which carried the warm, soft r1

orange tones of the surrounding trees. Just a few touches on the right-hand side of the woodwork (the posts and supports) confirmed that no more detail was required on the building.

Completion of the painting depended upon successfully painting the foreground bushes and shrubs as an integral part of the house — one of the human touches that made the house a home. Visually, these features also helped to anchor the house to the foreground.

The shrubs beneath the large window were painted in exactly the same way as the trees but with a slight addition. As soon as the shrubs had dried thoroughly, a dark mixture of sap green and ultramarine was applied, with a small brush, directly underneath some of the warm orange tones: this was allowed to dry untouched. sin in 11 DiNi;s

Because chick paint was put onto dry paper, little movement occurred, and this resulted in the dark green paint drying w ith .1 hard line. This suggested that the orange leaves were cascading out over the shadow and towards the path.

The final touch was to apply some

Ni w England House in the Fall orange paint to the grass directly beneath the tree, suggesting that some of the leaves ov1 r*

had started to fall. This was done by-dropping some orange paint onto the grass (a mixture of sap green and raw sienna) while it was still damp, and allowing the paint to diffuse and bleed.

domi.m h iiuii mima

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment