Menu Close

Members Project 2

Project 2 : Venetian Scene – Watercolour

Step 1

A fairly complex drawing on this one. For obvious reason it’s a complex scene, so spend a little bit of time looking at the angles of the windows and the bottom of the buildings where they meet the water. Because its these lines that will create a little bit of recession in the drawing.

Step 2

For the distant buildings, I pre wet the entire area going around the windows. Just with water and my No 8 round brush., then work fairly quickly and drop in yellow ochre, well watered, followed by a little bit of light red, again well watered, followed by cobalt blue with a tiny touch of light red mixed in, again well watered.

Then make that blue mix slightly stronger to put into the dark shadowed area. You can see where that is on the building.

Step 3

For the shutters in the distance, I used a mixture of cobalt blue, a tiny touch of hookers green and a little bit of burnt sienna. Again I used my No 8 round brush for all of this area.

For some of the window frames a little bit of light red and for the glass itself cobalt blue with a tiny touch of burnt sienna mixed in.

Step 4


It doesn’t look like I’ve done much in this next image, but look carefully and you will see that I have put shadows into the buildings, especially in the windows.

The shadow mix cobalt blue, alizarin crimson and a tiny touch burnt sienna, keep it fairly strong inside the windows and to one side of the shutters.

Once I have finished with the shadow on the windows, put a heck of a lot more water into the shadow mix and put a few strokes here and there in the buildings themselves, especially in the bottom of the buildings where it meets the water.

Step 5


For the bridge, again with my No 8 round brush, with a mixture of burnt sienna and light red, more or less equal quantities. Notice that I have left the top and bottom parts white including the people.

Step 6


For the people a very easy way to make flesh tone is to use Charles Evans Sand with a tiny touch of light red mixed in. And lets be honest you don’t need much flesh tone for people at that distance.

For the clothing a little bit of cobalt blue and plenty of water for one of the figures, and for the other a little bit of light red with plenty of water. Although you can paint the clothing in any colour that you want.

At this stage also put the shadow in, which is the normal shadow colour, cobalt blue, alizarin crimson and a tiny touch burnt sienna. Notice how strong I have made it underneath the top lip of the bridge and to the side of the bridge.

Step 7

For the gondola in the distance I used black for the boats (ultra marine blue and burnt sienna) itself. For the gondolier leave his shirt white but add a little bit of cobalt blue here and there to give a bit of shape.

A few bits of cobalt blue inside the gondola itself and cobalt blue mixed with a tiny touch of burnt sienna for the boat tucked in on the left hand side.

For his pole, I used raw umber with a little bit of burnt sienna mixed in.

Step 8

Now for the start of the big buildings on the right hand side, again using my No 8 round brush, again pre wetting the entire area. I started off by dropping in yellow ochre mixed with Charles Evans Sand in the farthest bit away. Bring this forward and dropping in little bits of burnt sienna and light red here and there.

Step 9

Once the initial wash had dried I painted the shutters with a mixture of hookers green cobalt blue and light red, using my No 8 round brush and be very careful just to confine this just to the shutters. Once this was done I gave the impression of a little bit of brick work here and there again with my No 8 round brush with raw umber mixed with burnt sienna. These are just a few strokes here and there to intimate brick work. Remember you are not building the building, you are just painting it. So don’t be doing thousands of stones.

For the marble areas in the doorways and some of the windows ledges I used Charles Evans Sand mixed with a tiny touch of cobalt blue.

Then I got a mixture of hookers green, light red and a tiny touch of cobalt blue and put that to the bottom of the building where it meets the water.

Step 10

For the plants in the windows boxes, I just used hookers green, burnt sienna and cobalt blue, a nice dark rich green and then split my brush, literally tapping the end of my No 8 Round brush into the fairly thick paint mix, thoroughly splitting the end of my brush and then very lightly dab on giving you a leafy effect. The brushes that I use, which are of course are a very hardy brush and will withstand this kind of punishment. Now dip the brush back into water and it will come back into its point, with the point of the No 8 round I used a mixture of alizarin crimson and yellow ochre to make that orangey red, this is for the flowers.

At this stage I have also added some shadow which is cobalt blue, alizarin crimson and a touch of burnt sienna. Keeping this fairly strong inside the windows and underneath the windows ledges.

Step 11


Now this is where you have to be brave. A tiny touch more water into your shadow mix and get those dark areas of shadow being cast onto the building itself.
Coming down mainly from underneath the windows boxes but leaving bits of the under colours of the building showing though here and there to create that strong contrast between light and shadow.

Step 12

The buildings on the other side of the canal are a lot easier, there are not that many of them. Firstly I pre wet with my No 8 round brush, just with water. Whilst it was all still wet, drop in some fairly strong yellow ochre, a few touches of light red here and there and a little bit of hookers green mixed with burnt sienna at the bottom of the building.

Step 13

To the water, I first dropped in some really well watered cobalt blue around the boat area. Once this had dried I then got hookers green, a tiny touch of burnt sienna and a little bit of cobalt blue. With my ¾” flat wash brush block in the whole lot avoiding the previous cobalt blue patches. At this stage be conscious where you want to leave white like in the ripples and the ripple around the oar in the water.

Step 14


Leaving the water to settle I moved back to the buildings on the left and first do the windows. Inside the couple of top windows I have just done a very simply stroke of light red well watered followed by a little bit of shadow mix to the right hand side of this and the green at the base of the windows again cobalt blue, hookers green with burnt sienna. For the posts raw umber mixed with burnt sienna fairly strong. All of this was done with my No 8 round brush. And of course you know by now how to do the plants in the window boxes.

Step 15


Let all the last buildings settle for a while. In the mean time back to the water, which by this stage is good and dry. Using my 3/4” wash brush a mixture of yellow ochre and light red, really weak! Just with the tip of the brush, dab on here and there just to give the impression of a little bit of reflection from the distant buildings. Using the same brush but using a mixture of cobalt blue and light red I made a nice dark mixture for the reflection from the left hand building, all the time being conscious of where I want a few little white ripples to show.
Now a few shafts of darker water in the backup using cobalt blue hookers green and burnt sienna, and just dab on using my ¾” wash brush again.

Step 16

Now for the major reflections on the ride hand side. Raw umber with a touch of burnt sienna, fairly weak and using my ¾” wash brush again just dab on with the tip of my brush so that you are leaving bits of the under colour here and there as well. Whilst this is still wet, also drop in a few hints of yellow ochre. For the reflections of shadows I switched to my No 8 round brush and using my shadow mix but not to strong.
Also reflect the colour of the green at the base of the buildings and then finally with a a mix of cobalt blue, hookers green and burnt sienna, and gain my ¾” wash brush add a few ripples here and there in the water.
Once I have finished with these ripples I then put more water into the same green mix and using the same brush put in a fairly square block of reflection around the boat area which of course is reflection of a building on the left out of sight. Again be aware of leaving the white and light where you want any ripple.

Step 17

For the gondolier chap, I used yellow ochre for the block of his hat, with my No 8 round brush. A tiny touch of alizarin crimson mixed with yellow ochre and with the rigger brush, do the stripes on his shirt. Remember don’t make this all straight and perfect, they are on a shirt with movement. For the T shirt underneath his shirt I used just cobalt blue mixed with Charles Evans Sand to make a light blue.
For his trousers the black mix ultra marine blue and burnt sienna.
Also just use cobalt blue for the ribbon at the back of his hat. For this hair underneath his hat, again the black mix, and for the flesh tone on his hands, Charles E vans Sand and a touch of light red. All of this using my No 8 round.

Step 18


For the outer lip of the boat I used my rigger brush and cobalt blue, leaving a little bit of
white showing here and there. For the purple inside a the front of the boat I used cobalt blue mixed with alizarin crimson this time using my No 8 round brush at this stage we have to be fairly detailed so paint carefully.

The cushions and various bits inside the boat, I pre wet this area again, with my no 8 round brush, dropped in a little bit of yellow ochre followed by alizarin crimson here and there and again a touch of that purple mix, cobalt and alizarin crimson.
The seats themselves were done using alizarin crimson and then with my rigger brush and the black mixture add the little bit of detail between seats and front area.

For the little bit of area where the guy is standing , he is standing it is rug painted simply with alizarin crimson, here and there in between these areas I have put a bit of black mix a) to create a bit of movement in the fabric and b) to divide the areas.

Step 19

Now the whole of the hull of the boat is the black mixture, ultra marine blue and burnt sienna. Using my No 8 round brush pay a little bit of attention to detail to those pointed bits front and rear at the ends of the boat . This is the peculiar shape that makes it a gondola don’t loose this opportunity .

For the shadow in the gondolier believe it or not I used the usual shadow mix, cobalt blue alizarin crimson and touch of burnt sienna, in both top and trousers. Now for this oar, a little bit of raw umber with burnt sienna mixed and using my rigger brush. It’s a quick brush stroke of filling it in, but when you get to the bottom of the oar put more water into the mix and just do the odd horizontal stroke here and there to make it look like its going into the water, so you can see it through the water.

Step 20

Now all of the reflection is painted in black, ultra marine blue and burnt sienna. Then using my No 8 round brush there is the main block of the boat which gets weaker as it comes to the bottom of the picture, simply put more water into the black. Then with the tip of my round brush a few black squiggles here and there to create a little bit of movement around the lighter coloured ripples.
I do hope you have enjoyed this one