French Village – Watercolour
This is a beautiful little French Village done from a photograph I took last year. Although the drawing looks complex it is still just a basic outline paying careful attention to the recession given by the river. i.e. much narrower in the distance than it is in the foreground.
For the sky wash I’ve used my 1 1/2 inch flat wash brush and pre-wet the entire sky area being a little bit careful around the buildings. Pop in some Cobalt Blue, well watered, in the top part getting slightly weaker as I come down then drop in a little bit of well watered Alizarin Crimson into the bottom area before I washed out my brush, squeezed out and suck out a few clouds. Let all of this dry.
I now change to my number 8 round brush and pre-wet the buildings in the distance and whilst wet drop in a little bit of Light Red onto the roofs and also a little bit of Yellow Ochre and let the colours merge. For the darker roof, I used a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Light Red. Notice I have left the chimneys as the white paper.
For the buildings themselves, whilst still wet, a little bit of Yellow Ochre here and there followed by a touch of Cobalt Blue and a little touch of Light Red. Let these colours merge together and when dry, fill in the windows with a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Light Red.
Throughout this picture, I’m using the same colour mixes for all the buildings but now everything is getting a little bit stronger. For the tall building on the right I have, again, pre-wet and used Burnt Sienna for the roof and in the walls dropped in mixtures of Yellow Ochre, followed by Light Red, followed by Cobalt Blue. Let the colours merge.
For the window, again, a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Light Red and its exactly the same for the smaller buildings to the left of this, but slightly weaker.
For the bushy bit in between, I haven’t pre-wet but I’ve used my number 8 round brush with mixtures of Hookers Green and Burnt Sienna, Hookers Green and Yellow Ochre and a few touches of Light Red here and there for warmth. Notice how the bushes look split apart and separate, to get this effect I’ve dropped a touch of Cobalt Blue between them. Once all of this had dried I used my 3/4 inch wash brush, slightly damp, sharpened it between my fingers and used the sharp edge to suck out a line, which will give you the shape of the little ‘lean too’ roof. The building in the foreground, the base of which is exactly the same as the other buildings but whilst still pre-wet drop in a little bit of Hookers Green an Burnt Sienna mixed at the base, now shadow the whole lot with a mixture of Cobalt Blue, Alizarin Crimson and Burnt Sienna.
Over to the left of the canal now, again I pre-wet the roofs first of all and dropped in mixtures of Cobalt Blue and Light Red in varying strengths. Once this had dried a bit I turned my attention to the brown building, which was again pre-wet, and drop in Raw Umber then Light Red and little bit of Cobalt blue to the bottom and right hand side of this building. Merge these colours together with my damp number 8 round brush.The other 2 buildings are much easier but again, pre-wet and pop in some well watered Cobalt Blue and then just a few touches of Raw Umber mixed with Yellow Ochre in the bottom parts mainly.
Now for a bit of detail into those left hand buildings, I used my number 8 round for all of these. Cobalt Blue for the shutters and doorways and within the windows, Cobalt Blue and Light Red mixed. Notice I have left a little bit of white paper here and there inside the windows and the brown stone works around the windows on the brown building is Raw Umber mixed with a touch of Light Red.
I next painted in the path, which was Yellow Ochre mixed with a touch of Raw Umber and whilst that was drying I turned my attention to the big tree. For this I used my 3/4 flat wash brush and stipple on, firstly Yellow Ochre, then Hookers Green mixed with Burnt Sienna, then a fair bit of Cobalt Blue mixed with Burnt Sienna for the darker areas. Whilst still with the same brush and a mixture of Hookers Green and Burnt Sienna, I painted in the grasses either side and within the path then let all of this dry before shadowing with the normal shadow colour. Notice the strong shadow under the overhangs of the roofs of the buildings and the shadow cast by the tree onto the buildings and the horizontal lines across the path.
Now for a really simple section, the river. I used my 3/4 inch wash brush and pre-wet the whole area. Now quickly drop in a little bit of Yellow Ochre in the centre are, a touch of Light Red in this bottom right hand side, some Yellow Ochre and Raw Umber mixed followed by a touch of Cobalt Blue into the bottom right hand side then gently stroke in some Cobalt Blue through all of the colours. Wash out my brush, squeeze out and sharpen it between my fingers and suck out a few light areas in the water.
For the boat, indeed for all of these details, I used my number 8 round brush. For the boat itself I used a mix of Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna and Hookers Green, darker on the outside and then just more water in (much weaker) for the top part. For the inside of the boat I’ve used Cobalt Blue mixed with Burnt Sienna, very strong but notice the little bit of white paper showing between the colours. Then reflect the boat with the original mix.
For the little chap at the side I painted his trousers and head with a mix of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna, nice and dark. I then put a hell of a lot more water into this mix and painted the shadowed parts of his upper body. I used this same mix for the canopy a little bit further up the river. Now to my rigger brush and a mix of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna, nice and strong, for the rod that he’s holding. For the flesh tone, this was a mixture of Charles Evans Sand with a touch of Light Red and finally a few darker strokes into the left hand side of the river with my 3/4 inch flat wash brush and a few very simply horizontal strokes.
There we go. I hope you enjoy this one, its difficult but then again, you’re worth it!