The Calm Before the Storm

I wanted to do a new watercolour that featured houses in the area that I live but also wanted to reflect some of the things that are worrying me at the moment. Here is the finished painting. The house on the right appears warped but that is only because the paper that I used buckled and it will straighten out.

I started from a photo, but used it as a reference rather than trying to paint exactly what was in the photo.

I would have liked to make the painting a lot darker than it turned out. However I hadn’t started making paintings solely with gouache at this point and making watercolours very dark isnt a skill that I had at this time.

The first layer is quite thin, almost like tea. I used a colour that stained the paper despite it being watered down quite a lot. Despite that it worked out quite well, watercolour seems to dry a lot lighter. The purple I used in the building on the right seemed to granulate quite a bit. I wouldnt use the watercolour paper that I used for this one again.

I began using a thicker watercolour paint to do the indiviual houses. Using a slightly smaller brush gave me a bit more control but it still had quite a loose feel which adds to this image. I didnt want the painting to be too precise. I also started on the cars. The cars are treated as one big object, rather than thinking of them as individual cars.

I darkened the road surface because it was too light in comparison with the rest of the painting. In the final painting I think the road is too dark and flat. Maybe next time I would make it more varied.

I painted in the hedge outside the house and also more of the cars.

Finally I added the telegraph poles and wires. These help to bind the image together and link the two sides of the street together.

This painting worked – just – but I learned several things.

  • Cheaper watercolour paper with an extremely rough texture doesnt suit my style of working.
  • Some yellows can stain when you dont want them to.
  • Watercolour paper need taping down with masking tape. I hadnt learrned this when I did this painting.
  • Gouche can get you out of trouble but only towards the end of the painting. You cant start off with gouache unless you mean to carry on.

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