To the watercolour artist not only tor the intimacy of hie subject matter but also for the textures colour and shapes to be found in the weatherworn stucco

White stucco buildings require only a hint of colour or toning to suggest ageing or shading. Raw sienna is a good base colour for this

used to record rust

Burnt sienna was stains on the plaster used to record rust

The fascination ot painting stucco buildings lies in the wealth of textures that can be created using only water, a little paint, and a piece of kitchen paper. Flaking plaster can be painted so that it looks as it it could be pulled away from the stone or brickwork beneath, and yellow ing stains and rust bleeds from old metal signs add lovely touches of colour.

Burnt sienna was stains on the plaster

The open windows and the splash of colour created by the flowers in the window boxes give a personal touch to the subject matter

The patchy effect required for painting stucco buildings is best achieved by dropping watery mixtures of paint onto damp paper and allowing it to bleed freely

The effect of peeling stucco is best achieved by working with wet paint onto a dry underwash for the exposed stone or brick areas. The wet paint dries with a hard edge around the stucco

White stucco buildings require only a hint of colour or toning to suggest ageing or shading. Raw sienna is a good base colour for this domi s i it m ii dinc;s

Project: Canalside, Venice

As tourists or visitors, we tend to forget that the buildings we find so fascinating are very often people's homes. In Venice the canals serve as the roads, and the old buildings have become a labyrinth of apartments.

I laving established the line of the buildings and the waterline along the canal, it seemed to me that by far the best starting point was to paint both the sky and the water in one go. as the sky would help to determine the quality of the lighting, and the colours in the canal would be determined by the colours in the sky (although they would by no means be .1 mirror image). This was freely painted using a large brush and a wash of a mixture of ultramarine and cobalt blue.

working horizontally across the paper for the sky, and vertically for the water, so that the reflections could be picked up later 011. as the painting progressed.

The next stage of the initial process was to establish .111 underwash for the buildings. The pastel shades of the buildings were created by mixing the smallest quantities of paint (mainly cadmium yellow, raw sienna and cobalt blue) with a lot of water and washing this onto dry paper, around the windows, with a medium-size brush. Having established a foundation of colour to work onto, the next stage was to begin to separate the individual buildings by the use of shadows and detail.

I Sky and water were painted with a large brush, using a mix of cobalt blue and ultramarine. The sky was painted using horizontal brushstrokes, the water using vertical brushstrokes.

2 The shutters were painted using a small brush. Shadows from the window frames t

2 The shutters were painted using a small brush. Shadows from the window frames were painted by overlaying the same

8 i 0 r -j j ffi ul colour paint (sap green and cobalt blue) 11 IT! I I 1 I ® • [fj ffi and allowed to dry with a hard edge.

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3 Roofs were painted using burnt sienna, working onto dry paper with a medium-size brush and single-stroke applications for each individual roof.

To start making some visual sense ot the undenvash, the coloured shutters were painted on the windows, giving each building a sense ot" identity. Even though they were all the same colour (sap green with a touch of cobalt blue), they were all different sizes and shapes and highly individual. They were painted using a small brush and a one-stroke application. As soon as they had dried, the shadows from the window frames were painted by running a line ot the same colour paint along the inside edge on one side only using the tip of a small brush, and letting the paint sit and dry exactly where it was placed.

Having worked through a unifying process which ensured that the sky and the water were visually compatible, and that the undenvash for all the buildings shared a common set of colours - which were, in turn, visually compatible w ith the water and the sky (cobalt blue being the anchor colour in this picture) - the buildings themselves could now be painted one at a time, from left to right across the composition.

The main focus now was two-fold: the buildings had to be painted with all their individual eccentricities, and the

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4 Colours and textures on individual buildings were enhanced and strengthened by the addition of raw sienna and burnt sienna, applied with a small brush and allowed to dry with a hard line.

5 Shadows on buildings were applied using a neutral mixture of ultramarine, cobalt blue and a touch of burnt umber to act as a glaze. This added depth to the walls without changing their colour values.

composition also needed to be brought to life through shadows. The method for painting damp stucco and peeling plaster has been dealt with already (see page <S2). and was a major feature of many of the buildings. The shading needed a lot of attention.

As the light was coining from my left-hand side, the shadows were falling to the right. So. not only did I have to work with a small brush under the ledges and shutters, but I also had to work with a medium-size brush on the roof tops and on the small sections of the right-hand sides of the buildings which were visible. These sections were painted using neutral greys (see page (>>5), mixed from ultramarine, cobalt blue and a touch of burnt umber. As this paint was so thin, it served as little more than a glaze, and the translucency allowed the colour underneath to show through without actually altering the colours that had already been applied. This ensured that a yellow wall only became a darker yellow and a blue wall was only changed to a dark blue wall — and of course, the burnt sienna used for the roof tops only changed to a darker terracotta tone.

While panoramic compositions that look directly at the subject with no perspective can be appealing to paint, an element of perspective, such as the row of buildings on the left-hand side that leads your eye into the centre of the composition, can be very valuable

Compositions will often benefit visually by not being restricted to a rigid rectangular border. Fading out towards the edges can lead the viewer's eye into and across the line of buildings

The final stage of this composition was to paint the reflections from the buildings and the characteristic Venetian poles. This was achieved by collecting the previously used colours in my palette and, using a medium-size brush, pulling them down from underneath the dark colours directly under the jetty, using a single vertical brushstroke for each reflection. As all the reflections were painted in one go. many would run and bleed together - but that is the fortunate r1

reality of painting water with water!

The reflections from these canalside buildings were created by picking up the colours from the bottom of the buildings and pulling them down into the canal area, allowing them to blend and mix

Much of the visual appeal of these buildings was in the soft pastel tones that are so characteristic of Italian stucco buildings

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