AND EXIST rOR many DIVERSE PURPOSES. FROM THE ARTIST's PERSPECTIVE, THE FISHERMAN's HUT ON THE FORESHORE is OFTEN EQUALLY as ATTRACTIVE as the colonnaded MANSION - ALL HAVE THEIR PURPOSE, AND all HAVE VISUAL APPEAL.
This book is written from an artist's point of view - an artist with a love of structures, and a fascination for textures and how to recreate tlieni in watercolour. I am not an architect, and have had no training in architecture — I simply respond as an artist might, to the environment within which I find myself and the visual stimulus that I seek is often to be found tucked away in the streets of villages, towns and cities.
The word 'buildings' embraces many types of structure, and I have attempted to choose as wide a selection as possible to illustrate a variety of watercolour painting techniques. I often try to seek out the unusual when on a painting or sketching trip - flaking plaster around an old street or shop sign, a rickety old barn door affording a view across the countryside through a few missing planks, or a decorative white column streaked with rust stains from an attached hinge or hook. Equally, I seek out the visually inspiring — the formal symmetry of classical facades, courtyards and cloisters with warm dappled summer shadows, and sail lofts along the foreshore. All these structures I find attractive, and all for different reasons that I shall elaborate upon in the following pages. I have devoted a chapter to one other aspect of painting in the built environment - street life. Even the smallest of towns, outback stations or hamlets only exist because of the people who have built them and who inhabit them. Without people, there simply would be no buildings, so I consider it essential to give thought to the best wav of including them in paintings of the built environment.
I choose to work in watercolour for several reasons, not least the accessibility and portability of the equipment required. My main reason, however, is the translucent quality of the paints. In brief, watercolour paints are tablets or tubes of pigment, bound with gum arabic, and given more body with a little filler. When they are made wet and applied to paper, the water evaporates, allowing the gum to drv. binding the
pigment to the paper. Every subsequent wash will allow the previous layer of gum-bound pigment to show through. These translucent qualities make watercolour an ideal medium tor recording the fabric of buildings, where textures are always required and shadows arc always in evidence.
On a final note. I have travelled widely and have never failed to find buildings and structures that hold some type of visual attraction or appeal wherever I have been. Again. I have attempted to include a wide variety not just of styles of building, but of buildings where the geographic location has determined the materials from which they were built. So. wherever you happen to find yourself, be it in your own high street or village, or in parts of the world that arc foreign to you. keep your sketchbook handy at all times, and enjoy your painting.
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