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How I painted 'The Town House'


  I am sometimes asked how I work, so I have chosen this painting to illustrate the process.   I usually work from photographs I have taken myself, and selected this one as I felt it contained some interesting architectural details; I also liked the red brick variety and the shape of the windows and door:

I wasn't particularly keen on the shape of the building as a whole, so I cropped the image quite extensively to get to the bit I wanted:

Then I prepared my preliminary pencil sketch.   I usually do my pencil sketches freehand, but with a fairly complex subject such as this it helps to make some reference points - you will see I used a very simple 'X' grid arrangement to help organise the elements of the painting and keep everything aligned.   The verticals on the right have gone out of alignment, but I will correct that later.  This scanned image of the sketch has been enhanced a little in Photoshop to make things clearer:

Now the first watercolour washes are put in, with some correction to the verticals.   I am trying here to build a focus on the doorway arch:

The finished painting.   Second watercolour washes have been applied, then the outlines of the features are emphasised in pen and black Indian ink (Pitt artist pens are my favourites).   I was conscious of the desire to give the painting a central emphasis and focus on detail.   Click on the image to see a larger version of the final work:

The entire process represented about four hours work.


All images on this site are Andrew Rance

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