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Tag Archives: building

Sheila Boneham3

Tammy Enrietto4

Laura Nellum2

Rachel Peterson

Posted above, are four paintings from the 2018 session of watercolor landscape. We studied creating a center of interest, use of value and division of space, color, using masking fluid, techniques for clouds, skies, water and trees. We discussed buildings and learned technique for painting “little people in our landscapes. If you would like to view the gallery of all 27 landscape paintings please click here.

Jan Reche2

John Kelty2

Robert Einhaus

Ruth Karau

Linda Flatley2

The above paintings were created by artists in the 2nd session of adv. watercolor this fall. This is a group of artists who have completed all the other classes and still want to come together to learn from one another.  They are to create 3 paintings each six week session and they share and critique their work at the end of every meeting. I serve as a mentor or helper. If you would like to see the entire gallery of their work, this session, please click here.

Thank you to all of the artists who shared their work here.

I ran across a night scene in a photograph from wet canvas that caused me to pause. I had only attempted a couple other night scenes since I began painting and decided to give the above a try. How to do the red dark and still get the sign in the foreground to appear as though it is green in sunlight?  I think learning to make rich dark washes is one of the most difficult skills to learn.

Prior to adding any color to the drawing of the above scene, I went in search of a reference to use for the guy walking past. He is actually from a beach scene photo I have. I put a hoodie and jeans on him and had him carry a small bag instead of a picnic basket and added him to the scene. I used liquid friskit to save his image and  the lettering and neon lighting on building and parking sign.

My first wash of color was aureolin and I applied it in a watered-down wash over the entire scene. I allowed that to dry. On a scrap piece of watercolor paper, I worked some oranges, reds and then greens to experiment with different combinations and values until I got a feel for the colors. I used no browns in this piece other than what was created from the greens and oranges and reds. I like the deep dark colors I was getting from hookers green and fire engine red.  In the deepest dark areas, I would add alizarin crimson with those two colors.  I slowly added washes of orange and red and worked wet-in-wet as I approached the darker areas.  Some areas just had the yellow and orange washes and others, as I moved outward, had the green added to the wash. I was very careful with the amount of water I used as I did this. I did not want the paper to become over saturated.

I painted the municipal Parking sign with green, then red, then green again so it looked a little more green than the other washes.

I waited for all the above to dry. I had to go back in to the deepest dark areas and lay in deeper dark colors and softening edges where the dark colors met the lighter areas. I allowed that to dry. I then took a damp brush and smeared some of the colors from the dark areas over the double windows on the upper left so they did not appear to be in bright light from the Hotel sign.

After all of that dried, I removed the liquid friskit (masking fluid) and painted the areas that required colors, using a small brush. I smeared the dark color of the green sign over the lettering and lighter rectangle beneath that sign so they appeared darker. There were some blues in the neon around the windows and I used that color in the man’s jeans to subtly draw the viewer’s eye to him.

This was a fun painting.

Below are the other night paintings I have tried.


Thank you to wet canvas for the reference photos for the above paintings.


I just finished teaching our fall session of Beginning Watercolor.

Kay Byerley4

Lizzy Smith3

The first thing we worked on was learning wet-in-wet, wet on dry and dry-brushing strokes. We practiced brushstrokes and painted a back-lit scene for our first assignment.

Lizzy Smith

Carole Smith2

We talked about ways to create texture and foliage and trees. We also discussed greens and adding other colors to them.

Jennifer Howey3

Kay Byerley3

We discussed ways to create skies, clouds and that similar washes could be used to create water.  Each student created a large sky or a large foreground painting.

Carole Smith4

We talked about how to paint buildings and learned to grid reference photo and size our format and grid it. This helped us to get the perspective correct on the buildings.

Jennifer Howey

The fifth week we talked about color combinations and specific colors that fell in either the light, medium or dark tonal ranges.

Carole Smith5

We finished by learning how to paint little people into our landscapes.

Thank you to all students who shared their paintings here. If you would like to see all their paintings click here. You can also scroll to the top of the page and click on Student Art: Beginning Watercolor.

We just finished our fall/winter session of Watercolor Landscapes class.

Cindy Guzik3

Cindy Guzik3

We worked on five different challenges. We always begin with designing a landscape with a strong and identifiable center of interest. We discuss gridding a reference photo for perspective and cropping it  for the best composition .

Kathleen Smierciak4

Kathleen Smierciak4

Kathleen Smierciak3

Kathleen Smierciak3

In the second week we discussed value contrast and everyone was asked to paint two or three small value studies in one color and then translate one of those studies into a color painting.  We also talked about our palette and how some of our colors fit in value ranges of light, medium and dark.  I showed them how they could make color squares on paper to determine which ones were the darkest and which were lightest. We reached a consensus that most of our brightest colors fell in the mid value range. Our darks seemed to be the staining and more transparent colors of all. Of course there were exceptions but not that many.

Sue Mendenhall5

Sue Mendenhall5

Betty Bercot

Betty Bercot

We discussed how we could divide space and enhance depth and create drama just by changing the values within that space.



Nancy Longmate4


Henn Laidroo3

We painted buildings and man-made objects. Notice how the small cars in the fist painting and the people on the deck in the second one ad some life to a painting.


Judy Notestine

The last week I asked everyone to attempt a painting they would not normally attempt or one that looked too hard.

If you would like to see all of their work you can scroll to the top of the page and click on Student Art: Watercolor Landscape 2016 in the list of pages or just click here.

Thank you to all the artists who shared their art on this blog!



I began this painting several months ago. I guess I was anticipating summer and warm weather. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could render these Victorian beauties in some way. I do not consider myself very good at drawing and painting buildings. One thing I know I do not do enough is insert little people or animals into my landscapes. I get so caught up in the “thinking” part of putting landscapes together that I never include a story; and I like stories so much better! I used two separate reference photos to come up with the neighborhood and another for the “little cowgirl”. I made up the older person at the top of the stairs and modeled the dog’s form after the boxer who lives across the street from me. I can remember a time when those red boots and hat would have been my prize possessions, not to mention a man’s best friend to spend the summer with!

Little People are fun to paint. Here are a couple sketches to ad to the mix:




Baha'i Temple


The assignment for my Creative Challenge class was to Paint an edifice.  I chose to work from a reference I had taken years ago of the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, Illinois. I lost the white when I painted the shadows and resorted to using white. I don’t like to do that but it surely gives weight to this building. My building appears much older and aged than the glorious real Baha’i Temple.  But!!!!! I learned I will need to be more delicate and light with my washes on white buildings and maybe make it less of a challenge.

by Nancy Longmate

by Nancy Longmate



These are Nancy’s and my second paintings inspired by Carol King’s post here.

An interesting thing is beginning to happen with these. I have seen this happen, time and time again, in our watercolor classes. We study a technique and it grows into all forms of styles.  What I really like about this technique is the strength in value it lends to a scene and the element of interest the splatter and runs create.

I completely forgot to do a step-by-step with my painting but have another in the works that I will post that illustrates the monochromatic and splatter phases.

Our first attempts, with description of technique, can be found here.

My painting of a street corner is from a reference photo I took , near here, in Churubusco, Indiana. It is so small town Indiana!


This week we talked about buildings or man-made structures in a landscape.  We discovered that most man-made things are very geometric in form and that the rendering of them might be like putting a series of shapes together, such as triangles, squares, rectangles, ovals and circles. Arches are good examples of rounded forms and are found in many bridges and entryways. We considered values and how our building/ buildings sat within the foliage and landscape that surrounded it. Were there shadows cast by eaves or trees on the side of them? Was one side of our structure in bright sunlight and the other darker? Where would our center of interest be? Would it be the doorway, a reflective window, a person standing outside? How did our structure or structures contrast or fit into the landscape surrounding?

I chose a photo of Bodie, California that I found on Wet Canvas. Thankyou to Wet Canvas for that! I had only attempted a cluster of buildings once before and saw this reference as an excellent one to practice putting shapes upon shapes within a landscape.  I was intrigued with the large and sloping landscape of the background hills against the old ghosttown and the tiny shapes nestled within them.


My first concern was gettting the buildings on my format where they belonged, so I chose to grid my paper for my drawing. If you do this, remember to erase those lines before starting to paint.


I also took the time to plot a simple value sketch so I could determine how I was going to divide the space so the lighter buildings would be visible in a largely light landscape setting.


I began with the background hillsides and worked my way down to the ghosttown.


I worked my way through the main cluster of buildings. I realisied, at that point that the cluster pointed to the road on the right, so I left that very light as I worked because that road seemed to hug the town and circle around and behind it and could possibly serve to lead the viewer’s eye through my painting.


To finish, I put a light wash of burnt orange behind the lighter cluster of buildings to help to make them more visible and defined the area of the roadway. I scrubbed (with a damp sponge) away a portion of the pigment to the right and left sides of the main cluster to provide contrast. I put finishing touches on the loose foreground grasses and darkened the areas to the far right and left of the scene in order to hold the viewer’s eye on the scene. The smokestacks and poles were the last things I painted.

I wonder what it would have been like to work live and work here in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.



Remember this post?  The above painting is what I came up with. In the long run, I like that I used rough Arches paper. I think it gives a softer and more aged look to the subject material.

I have included the steps I took in creating this:

Special considerations had to be perspective and all those little tiny detailed things.

I splattered the roof and street ( areas that were hit with bright light ) with friskit I used friskit to save the lettering on both blue signs above the store.  I painted in initial large washes on the roof and the street to define the light. I had to darken a window or two because all that white paper was driving me nuts!

I then painted the greens surrounding the building.  I used a loose squiggly  pointillism working wet in wet so the colors would blend some.  I worked on that red bench and a few tiny things.

Then the detail work began. This took forever. There is no shortcut! I thought about loosely painting this in with abstract little shapes and color that runs together, but the subject really did not call for that. I think the intrigue with this restaurant is the general store atmosphere and all that detailed clutter under the entryway roof.  Each piece required special attention because just one flat color was not going to shape it or make it look real. The windows were fun to create wet-in-wet. I also liked creating those double wooden doors in the center. I used very tiny brushes!   #’s 1, 2 and 4 rounds. Oh yes! I painted the chimneys, paying special attention to the shadowed and the light side.

This step was finishing all the detail under the porch roof as well as darkening areas of the main roof hit by sunlight.

 Finished Painting

This step involves tieing everything together.  I noticed the shadow under the porch roof had gradually appeared lighter and lighter as I added the details and more color in each step.  I painted the lettering on the signs above the porch roof and the color in the two hex signs. I could not get that tiny lettering perfect, by the way. Hand not steady enough, brush not tiny enough and an artist who does not care about perfection.   🙂     I used white gouche on the Coca Cola sign, to brighten areas of the “ice” box, the “Fish Fry” sign and the white legs of the red-topped table on the porch. I removed the frisket splatter and washed some red into some of it on the large section of roof.  What a great learning experience this was. Patience was the “key”!

Do you know the feeling artists?  I’m usually a “dive in” and “see what happens” kind of person. I have been presented with a challenge to attempt a watercolor of this store. I love the whole appearance of the place and am anxious to see what I can do with it. …BUT!  When I spent two nights just getting the drawing down and all the little pieces and parts that little voice inside me said, “Oh! You’ve done it this time. This may be too much for you!”

I have had to tell myself I may have chosen the wrong texture of watercolor paper for this (rough). I have reconciled myself to the fact that I need to give this drawing a “go” and re-draw it on a coldpress surface if I don’t like the outcome and maybe even a hotpress surface due to the detail in it. I have had to remind myself of the many tools and techniques I have to see this through to the finish. More importantly, I had to tell myself that this is a piece of paper and that I have more where it came from if the first take does not work. Sometimes I think I get in a mindset that every single venture has to be a finished project when I, perhaps, might choose to view each piece of paper as a learning experience.

Wish me luck. I will surely share the journey with you on this one!