Classical Features

The changes that the passing centuries have enforced upon the fabric of these marvellous buildings make the rigid DESIGN and construction of classical or formal public buildings an interesting and challenging subiect for watercolour painters.

The buildings examined here all have one particular design element in common -geometry. The very notion of classical buildings was that they were constructed in line with rigidly defined mathematical and geometrical formulae to give the maximum potential in terms of their aesthetic qualities. They were designed to look good, and as artists we can rarely pass by these wonderful buildings.

The other common factor that these buildings share is the materials from which they are constructed. Because of the desire for authenticity in imitating original classical structures, stone or stucco was used for the majority of the facades, with brick being introduced for buildings constructed within the past two hundred years.

Other elements to look out for are the decorative plasterwork. columns and pillars w hich w ere frequently constructed of a contrasting material and, consequently, will be of a different tone or colour. The illustration on the opposite page is a good example of this. It has been designed on the rigid rules of symmetry (although successive generations have made alterations or amendments which have added a curious element of asymmetry), and is constructed of stone with w hite columns and decorative plasterwork.

Painting these buildings is challenging for two main reasons. Firstly, their structure often requires very careful observation of the shadows created by the pillars, decorations and doorways. Secondly, you will require very few colours indeed. This, however, will require that you use a wide range of tones in your painting to prevent the buildings from looking flat and uninteresting.

Sketchbook Study of Fokmai Gatehouse

The grandeur of formal architecture has a faded elegance when the effects of weather and time begin to show

Classic:ai Fac.:ai>l

The grandeur of formal architecture has a faded elegance when the effects of weather and time begin to show

Most formal architecture was designed around the concept of geometrical symmetry. Sometimes, however, a curious asymmetry occurs which makes these buildings all the more visually appealing

A limited range of colours allows the artist the opportunity to experiment with tones

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