Windows – I can see clearly now

Domain House2017sml
windows of the Domain House, Hobart, Tasmania

I started urban sketching about 10 months ago when I visited my son, who is living in Africa.  Below are some of my sketches of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 2016.

boda boda table
A boda boda and table
overloaded truck
overloaded truck
carrying weeds
Carrying weeds
shoe shiners

Among the challenges of perspective, angles and a myriad of others things with urban sketching, there are windows.  How do you paint windows so they are not flat, dark looking spaces?  How can you paint “lively and happy” looking windows?  Often the windows are very dark but I don’t want to duplicate that darkness into my sketch.

So, I’ve been playing with different approaches and mixtures of colours trying to find a system of tackling windows that I’m happy with.  I’m still working on it but here is my latest window-painting strategy.

I have found that the trick is painting wet-in-wet and using lots of clean water. Sometimes I use a fleck of Turquoise or Cobalt Blue to start off, then I paint a line of the dark blue/black colour on the shadow side and the top part of the window.  I load my brush with this colour and then I rinse all the colour out of the brush (and this is important because you need to now use water that is clear of colour) or use a different clean brush. I then apply water, rinse the brush out, apply more water and continue the process.  I gently move the paint when I want to spread the darkness around a bit further, being careful to not lose the light captured.  I want to try to avoid creating a solid colour.  If it does start getting too dark or solid, I drop a great big drop of water in and that usually fixes things up quick-smart!

How do you tackle window-painting?  I’d love to hear.

Cheers for now, from Pjpaintings – the unfurling artist


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