How to Paint The City Gate in Watercolour

Skill Level : 2 Intermediate

Medium : Watercolour Painting

Subject : Cityscapes

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 1 hour 51 minutes

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Class Description

Ancient buildings usually attract hordes of visitors to the relevant cities. Local inhabitants are so familiar with them that they don’t even notice them any more. Here we have the ancient with some of the modern. This is an old gate to the city. The strong wooden gates have long since disappeared.

In this lesson you will learn:

1.  How to paint the grey skies
2.  How to simplify the buildings in the city
3.  How to add the figures
4.  How to straighten out the vertical perspectives.

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Short Class Video

Class Tutorial

Paint the background

In order to get contrast for the light buildings we need to darken the sky slightly with a Blue/Purple mix.

Carefully go around the towers and then a bit lighter towards the horizon.  Thoroughly dry the sky before proceeding with the buildings.

Make a dark Brown mix with Cadmium Orange and Blue.  Start on the left tower being careful not to paint into the window area.  Paint vertical strokes to simulate the height of the towers.

The righthand tower will have some sun shining on it.  Add the dark shadow.  Also bring some deeper shadow on the left tower.

Paint the roof

For the conical roofs take Cadmium Red and add some Blue into it.  Carefully paint it in and with a damp brush lift out the sunlit side.  With slightly more Red into the mix for the brighter sun, paint the other roof.

Darken the shadow side.  Also lift the highlight on the roof with a damp brush.  Add the dark shadow under the roofs.  Add some Orange to the sunlit area.

Paint the windows

With a dark mix, paint in the small windows in the towers and paint in the flag posts.

Paint the buildings

Mix up alight Blue/Purple and paint the buildings in shadow.

With a light Yellow Ochre begin the buildings in sunlight.  Block them in lightly at first.

With some of the dark mix begin adding the very dark areas.

Paint the windows

With a small flat brush start adding the windows.  Don't try and count them.. Just give an impression of them.  Darken them up as they come closer.

Paint the various tonal ranges of the building faces.

Paint the distant buildings

Carry on now with the distant buildings.  They will all be lighter in value than the nearer buildings.

Now we can begin outlining the ridges, etc, of the buildings and working on the windows and doors at ground level.

Lightly block in the building in shadow that is on the right as well as on the left side.  With various tones of the tower roof, paint the other roofs of the nearer buildings.

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Paint the door

Add some Yellow Ochre for the sunlit door in the archway.  Add more windows and outline the archway shadows.

Paint the roadway

Paint in the building shadows on the ground and a light Blue/Purple for the street.  Darken up the foreground and fade out to give the impression of distance.

Complete the bottom of the righthand tower and the add more windows.

Paint the people

With a small round brush add the impression of people. Just a dot and a short stroke will do.  Not too dark for those in the distance.

Add the two talking in the arcway and the larger figure on the right, this time with some colour.  Lift out the reflection.  Don't paint detail!

Paint the plants

With some Green, add the plants at the base of the towers. Add some Yellow, straight out the tube, for the highlights.  Continue with the shadows of the buildings and also for the figures.

Final Painting

About Dennis Clark

Dennis has been drawing and painting for most of his life (since 1944) and shortly after that in watercolours. During WWII there were no art books so to speak, so he had to teach himself through experimentation, sweat and tears. He teaches the following mediums online - Watercolours, Pastels, Acrylics, Pencil, Pastels, Pen and Ink and Oils.
Read more about Dennis Clark

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