Paul Raymonde, tutor at ‘La Terazza Atico’ Watercolour Painting Holidays in Barcelona, shares with us his top tips for painting Urban Landscape out of doors.
1. Don’t be intimidated by a complex scene. Keep a cool head and simplify, simplify, simplify. Many beginners think they won’t be able to paint a complex scene full of people, trees, cars etc. You can do this simply and effectively by just seeing and painting them first as shapes. Think about the details last.
2. Watercolour is painted in layers (washes) that when thin are transparent. When you have sketched the scene simply in pencil apply the first layer. This is the colour wash. It should be done quickly and loosely and it just states the basic colours of the main background objects (as if they were in full light – ie: don’t paint any shadows yet). Make sure you fill the paper- it gives you confidence!
3. The second wash will be for the shadows. This may include buildings or trees silhouetted against the sky or the shadows on objects or cast by objects. Shadows, to be interesting should be created in transparent washes of variegated greys. Alternate between warm and cool tones. It is important to judge the ‘values’ (lightness against darkness) in this layer. You can do this effectively by squinting your eyes hard at the scene. This reduces everything you see to light and dark shapes. This layer will bring your background into 3D.
4. So far we have only painted the background. Now you add the details to your painting to bring it into focus. Put in the people, lampposts, windows, chairs and tables, etc. These can be dark or bright and painted in strong thick paint. Dry brush is particularly effective. Don’t forget the shadows cast by these objects too.
Not many painting holidays offer the excitement and challenge of plein-air cityscape painting and where better to pursue this than Barcelona.
Paul Raymonde and his wife Angela spoil their guests for a week in the luxury of their beautiful penthouse apartment and Paul takes them on an inspiring week of tutored urban watercolour painting.
Light, warmth, the bustle of café life, palm trees, beaches and stunning architecture, Barcelona is the perfect romantic cityscape. Paul teaches both beginners and improvers how they may capture the vibrant scene quickly and effectively in paint.
Paul says that the aim is to paint in pure watercolour as opposed to ‘Urban sketching’, which tends to be pen and ink drawing that has then been coloured.
For more information please visit http://www.la-terraza-atico.com