View Full Version : WIP Aviles Northern Spain

08-07-2005, 09:10 AM
Hi everyone
Here I am again and trying another painting of a street scene.
Last year a friend and I went to the North of Spain. Terrible weather but its really lovely there.
We stayed in a friend's house and travelled around.
This is a medievil town and full of interesting architecture.
here is the photo that I am going to try and paint:
I have decided to go big with this one and have used Arches paper 22"X15.5"
Here is my drawing: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2005/24459-Aviles_drawing.jpg
you will see I have left out some of the figures and after trying to draw in the people sitting in the outdoor cafe under the umbrellas and not succeeding I have decided to just directly paint them in instead.
I think one of my biggest problems is that I don't plan enough so to prove to myself that I have planned as much as to communicate that with you, I have decided to make the sun shine from the painters position into the painting left front to right back (if that makes sense).
I intend to make the front left hand building very shadowed and quite dark and not that detailed.
The smaller buildings and the tree I intend to paint in light tones getting lighter as they go back and assuming most of these buildings are in shade with just upper right parts in sunshine.
The front two buildings on the right are the focus and are on the whole in sunshine. I intend to increase the colours in these to bring interest.
The people I hope to paint loose and not too defined.
The sky will be plain blue using Ultramarine at the top and changing to Cerulean as we go lower (I notice this is often reality in very sunny skys)
Pray for me that for once this one will go right!!! :D

08-07-2005, 09:53 AM

I like to do streetscenes myself so when I see a wip of one I'm always interested.

Unlike you, I would never have taken this on, as I lack the ability to see the finished product particularly from such a dull (as in sunshine) image.
I'm interested to see what you keep, what you change and the selected colours you use.

If your drawing is anything to go by,this will be a real beauty....

I'm going to sit back and enjoy...thanks for sharing.

Brian (ex caddy)

08-07-2005, 11:23 AM
Hi Gill... I'm up here in the front row beside Malty... I can only offer moral support while watching and learning... your drawing is excellent and I'm looking forward to your next steps...

08-08-2005, 05:41 AM
Brian - thankyou for posting. I can usually get the drawing right - its the painting that ruins it!
Char - thankyou for your comments - you always encourage by posting and that is so helpful. I have had a look at your blue coffee mug and I thought it was a photo it was so realistic. I didn't post to it because so many had, but I thought to myself 'a lot if work there even though its such a simple looking still life' It was beautiful.
Well next stage coming up.
I painted the sky as I had determined with Ultramarine at the top and cerulean further down fading off above the small buildings. I wanted a perfectly smooth wash with a graduated blend but I didn't achieve it and its a bit patchy.
The small buildings, people and tree are all sorts of colours but when I had finished I took a wet cloth and dabbed it all to fade it out. I also put the roofs in while the sky was still damp.
Here is stage 1 of the painting: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2005/24459-Aviles_stage_1.jpg
And here is a close up of the distant buildings and people:
Since taking this photo I have rubbed out all the pencil lines.

08-08-2005, 06:34 AM
Looks like you've got another cracker in the making, looking forward to the rest--------------Alan

08-08-2005, 09:51 AM
Hi Alan - thanks for posting - I truly hope this one will work!
I've done a bit more - the yellow building which is part of the focal point. This time I haven't put in shadow glazes but gone for mixing the shadow colours and putting it on at the same time as the sunny parts.
So for the front wall of this building I used Raw Sienna, Red Cadmium and Ultramarine, instead of painting these colours on, I put a blob here and there, added some water and then pushed the colours around with a brush. I then sprinkled on some salt and left it to dry. Once dry I brushed off the salt to leave a slightly spotty look. I then added some patches of raw sienna.
Next I painted some shadow areas using ultramarine and burnt sienna, wetting the lower edges and softening them.
For the terracotta roof areas I used raw and burnt sienna and some ultramarine and made blobs then pushed the paint around. Once dry I used concentrated amounts of burnt sienna and ultramarine to put in the tile shadows and I kept these sharp - no softening.
For the windows I used pure ultramarine and again blobs, lots of water, pushed around, and blotted with a tissue.
I put in the frames and shadow lines with concentrated ultramarine and burnt sienna.
I then dabbed in the figures with a variety of colours and the chairs with a mix of ultramarine and cadmium yellow.
The tables are a mix of raw and burnt sienna.
I then made some windows under the umbrellas and doors with similar mixes of ultramarine and burnt sienna and finally gave under the umbrellas a wash of ultramarine to put it under there firmly in the shade. I shaded the white umbrellas on the right sides lightly to give tem some defintion.
I put the railings in using yet again a mix of ultramarine and burnt sienna
Here is stage 2:
And here is a close up of stage 2:

08-08-2005, 09:54 AM
I meant to write that the reason I have done the focal building is to help me judge the strength of tone for the buildings between the focal building and the small background buildings. I know they have to be almost as strong next to the focal building and almost as weak next to the small distant buildings. That's what I am going to paint next

08-08-2005, 10:09 AM
Gill it looks beautiful... what size is this ?... the iron railings on the balkonies look so good... they are always a nightmare for me... I like the roof tiles also on that yellow building...

08-08-2005, 10:26 AM
Hi Vasil - thanks for posting.
This is the biggest painting I have ever attempted it is 22" X 15.5"
I learned from Marvin Chew how to do the tiles - his WIP's are fantastic and I just looked carefully at what he had done. This site is so good for learning isn't it?

08-08-2005, 11:23 AM
Looking good, Gill!

08-08-2005, 03:30 PM
This is comng along well, Gill, wish I could dispense with the ruler when sketching buildings like that.


08-08-2005, 10:09 PM
This is coming along really well Gill, I'm really enjoying all the beautiful work you've been churning out, this promises to be another good one.

08-09-2005, 05:03 AM
Looking really good, Gill! It's "my kind of scene" for sure, so I want to see how you progress.

Nice job so far!!! Love the way you sketched in the far buildings and people. And that hosue is SO well painted.


08-09-2005, 06:15 AM
OK Cokey here I am again

June - thankyou for your kind comments

Doug - thanks for posting - I was taught to make my lines wiggyly so that I wouldn't get hung up on making them ruler straight and was told the end result is more painterly - so that is what I do - purposely wiggle the lines.

Olga - thanks so much for your kind remarks

Here is the next stage in the painting. I have used Raw Sienna and Ultramarine in various mixes for the buildings between the focal building and the distant buildings, except for the tall gable end which I wanted to be bright with sunlight.
I painted that with splodges of raw sienna and permanent rose. Added some mixes of ultrmarine and burnt sienna for the dirty lines and the shadow of the roof.
I then used the same mix to put in the window with pure ultramarine for the glass.
Once it was dry I put in the lettering and a few lines with purple lake (I think its purple lake - its purple something but its a pan and I can't read what it says!)
The near focal building's first wash was put in by splodging some permanent rose here and there and some raw sienna with a tiny amount of ultramarine in to take off its brightness. I then pushed the paint around with water to get the variations I wanted.
Here it is: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Aug-2005/24459-Aviles_stage_3.jpg
Since this stage I have painted 106 panes of glass on the nearby building and thought it may halp someone if I explain how I do glass.
I learned this from a video by Richard Taylor on how to paint buildings. This is his video:
I have done a stage by stage painting of a pane of glass on the reverse of my painting to demonstrate.
Stage 1 - put neat wet paint (ultramarine for me!) in the top corner where the shadow would be - don't put it uniformlly - but rather like this:
Then load your brush with clear water and push the paint around in the pane. Like this:
Here it is pushed all around pane:
then finally dab the window with tissue to take out the blueness of it and hey presto;
I relaise that the photos aren't very clear - too near for the camera, but here are some of the panes I have done for the painting;
The next stage will be to complete the house - making the wood much lighter and putting in some high contrasts where the shadows exist.
Thanksfor all your comments - please keep 'em coming ;)

Celeste McCall
08-09-2005, 09:17 AM
I love the colors in the buildings that you have already. This is going to be a beaut!

Lots of clappies and smiles to you.

08-09-2005, 10:26 AM
Celeste - thankyou so much.
I'm just going to upload what I have done further on the forefront building.
I have painted all those dratted panes of glass :( and then I painted the top area of wood much brighter than in the photo as the sun is shining full on it. I used burnt sienna, raw sienna, burnt umber and a touch of ultramarine. I used the same technique again of splodges of pure paint and then water on the brush and pushed the paint around to all join up. Even around the glass using a tiny rigger (? spelling) brush.
I then put the shadows under the roof, at the bottom of the wood and around the windows using a mix of burnt umber and ultramarine. Very fiddly around the windows.
Now I must do some housework before I can get back to it.
My husband is away having taken 15 kids from our church to a children's camp, and I planned to have this week off so that's why I am able to spend so much time painting - bliss :) :cat:
Here it is:

08-09-2005, 10:49 AM
This is a wonderful scene, Gill, and it is coming along really well.

Watching and learning!


Lynn Quinn
08-09-2005, 11:00 AM
Very nice work! I haven't done buildings yet, & figure I'll have a tendency to being too tight. Is it hard for you to paint this loosely? I'm trying to loosen up generally, but I'm afraid I'd be relying on a ruler, too!

08-09-2005, 02:56 PM
Am in awe at your ability to do these very busy scenes - watching with interest.


08-10-2005, 06:09 AM
Hello again from a muggy West Midlands!

Doug - thanks for posting again and for your encouragement - is Char on holiday? I've really missed her comments. :(

Lynn - you made my day with your post. I have wanted to paint loose since I started watercolour and this is the first time anyone has commented on it being loose. If you want help with buildings I can really recommend the video I advertised earlier. Richard Taylor is a very good watercolourist and this video is all about painting buildings - loosely.
The main tip I got from him is rather than filling a certain area with paint in the way one originally learns, you put paint on the paper quite concentrated then fill the brush with water and push the paint around the area to be painted, finally dab off with tissue. I have demonstrated this earleir in this thread for panes of glass, but I use it for most of my painting.
Tim rose - a professional artist who I met at Patchings - an art fair in Nottingham, England, said 'to paint loose one must first draw well' and I would agree that if you are going to paint as I have just described it's vital to have a good drawing.

Pat - Thankyou for your kind comments. I haven't had so many post this time for some reason and am doubly grateful to those that have ;)

I have now finished the nearby focal building. Here it is:
I painted the roof and attic window much like the next door building.
for the lower 2 floors windows I used burnt umber and ultramarine and put it on as described to Lynn.
For the arches I used ultramarine and raw sienna and also made some shaded glass windows.
I have put a light grey wash for the road made of ultramarine and burnt sienna
My big problem is deciding how to tackle the left hand building. Do I make it very dark (it is in shade on the whole) or lightly shaded? Do I make it very defined or just suggest all the bits on it. I don't want the viewer to stick on that as the focal point, on the other hand it isn't in the distance so I can't give it the same treatment I gave the distant buildings. I would seriously be glad of help here - I don't want to spoil the painting by doing this building wrong
And before I go here is a close up of the building I have just finished:

08-11-2005, 05:16 AM
Oh dear. No posts. no help on what to do with my building :crying: :crying: :crying:
I'm doing it today so will just have to battle on myself.
It's all I've got left to do and I want to finish this painting today. It's taken me all week.
Here it is with the figures done.
same techniques - lots of different colours.
Maybe viewers are getting fed up with WIP's or is it just that I've now done 3 of similar types :confused: :o
Anyway here it is:

08-11-2005, 05:25 AM
Coming along beautifully, Gill - love the figures - are you going to add the lady's dog?

As for the left hand buildings, your shadow direction indicates that the light will skim along the front, with bright highlights and long shadowed areas between. I look forward to seeing this develop further.


08-11-2005, 05:40 AM
Doug. What would I do without you!!! :)
Yes I thought that myself.
I was thinking about it in the night - how sad is that, and I thought for this building I would put an ultramarine glaze on except for the front sticking out bits, using my splodge and wash technique and then when its fully dry add raw sienna. Here goes then!.
Thanks Doug

08-11-2005, 05:41 AM
Oops - forgot to say Doug that I am definately not putting the dog in. Scares me to death. I tried to put a tiny one in another painting and it looked like an alien so I'm not risking it here!!

08-11-2005, 05:45 AM
Gill don't panic :D... I am sure many will come to suggest... they are probably still sleeping ;)... if there are no WIPs and demos that place is going to loose its charm... I tried to enhance your photo more on the right and less at the left... it may help :

08-11-2005, 06:02 AM
Oops - forgot to say Doug that I am definately not putting the dog in. Scares me to death. I tried to put a tiny one in another painting and it looked like an alien so I'm not risking it here!!

OK just put in the lead and its tail ;) :D

Nice work, Vasil.


08-11-2005, 11:01 AM
Vasil - thanks for commenting and for the helpful adjustments to the photo
Doug - Hee Hee. She's just swinging her arm and nothing more!

08-11-2005, 11:35 PM
Wow. Your painting is coming along beautifully. I don't paint builing/street scenes very well, so I am going to sit, watch, and learn.

Your work reminds me of mchew Marvin's. Have a browse through the member directory, you will find it at the top of the page in the member services dropdown.
Just type mchew in the search box.

Marvin has done some fabulous wips on this kind of thing, and I am sure you will find something there to help you paint that building on the left!!!

08-12-2005, 02:55 AM
I was thinking about it in the night - how sad is that, and I thought for this building I would put an ultramarine glaze on except for the front sticking out bits, using my splodge and wash technique and then when its fully dry add raw sienna. Here goes then!.

Gill I think you answered your own question. I think if you leave the left building rather darkish (except for those bright bits) then the buildings you have already done will glow in comparison. Looking forward to seeing you post the next step!

08-12-2005, 03:35 AM

This is really a wonderful WIP on a beautiful painting.

Your comments are so informative and helpful. Thanks for taking the time to explain your technique and also tell us the colors you've used. The closeups are really good to see also.

Love your buildings because they are well-drawn without being too precise making them very painterly. I have a book by Richard Taylor called The Watercolourist's Guide to Painting Buildings which is very interesting too.

I've given you my Mentor Point for the day.


08-12-2005, 05:32 AM
Hi everyone.
I'm ready to post the final finished painting.

Laudesan - Thankyou for posting and your comments. I am a real fan of Marvin's work and he is on my buddy list. I sit and study his WIPs, print them off - the lot and have learned a great deal from them. It's the biggest compliment you could pay me to say this work looks like his :clap: :) :D

Andrea - Thanks for your kind comments. It was what I was going to do then after reading what Doug said about the light skimming these buildings, I thought about it and realised he was right so that's what I've done.

Sylvia - Thanks for posting and for your comments and the merit point :) I've looked for your posts and missed them, so glad you did. I guess the book you mentioned is the same content as the video that I have copied into this thread. (same title). I love Richard Taylor's work and his video was really good.

So for the final building I followed uncle Dougy's advice (thanks Doug) :wink2:
(by the way Doug - my mum was from Preston so I know Ormskirk. she's in Heaven now and I don't have reasons to go to Preston any more, but you Lancashire folk are great!). Oh yes back to the painting, I made a mix of raw sienna and ultramarine (just a touch of ultramarine and washed it over the stone area except where the shadows were. I painted the shadows with a strong mix of ultramarine and raw sienna. For the white area of the building, I painted the shadows with a mix of ultramarine and purple. I did the bottom lot of windows by making the frames lreally dark and because I didn't like this so much, I changed the next 2 floors up to white wood in shadow, painting them with the shadow mix for white. The glass in the windows I did with the same technique explained earlier but darker because they are in shadow.
I spent hours doing this building believe it or not, in fact all day yesterday. I really struggled in thinking through where shadows were and were not and had to make a few alterations. Note for instance that although the front of the building is in sunshine, the right hand columns of the arches are even sunnier, so I then had to darken slightly all along the front of the building to throw the columns into brighter light. I had to do this for all the edges sticking out facing the sun. Anyway I think I've got there now so here it is:
Here is a close up of the building. Because this painting is so big, it's hard to show it in less than 100kbytes, it takes the detail out, that's why I'm showing close ups.
In case you like the upper window frames better than the dark lower ones and want me to change them, I've thought about it, cos I would like to, but I think I would muddy it all up, so we all just have to imagine, they are different wood frames to the rest of the building :wink2: :wink2:
Comments and criticisms welcomed

08-12-2005, 05:47 AM
You did a superb job on this, Gill, but just to put the record straight, although I live in Lancashire I am not a Lancastrian!!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:

The name is Yorky born in Yorkshire :D :D :D :wink2:

PS if I had a crit, it is that the shadows throughout are a little pale, and don't square with the clear blue sky.

Doug :D

08-12-2005, 05:49 AM
Beautiful finish!!!!!!!!!!!


08-12-2005, 06:03 AM
Gill this is a really great finish... I like what you did on the left side building... following Sylvia, I have spent my mentor point for you also ;)

08-12-2005, 06:13 AM

I'm glad I joined your thread in time to see the finale! (I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off this week, as my Mom used to say ;)).

I really like the way you do your people. They lend a lot of interest and movement to your street scenes.

Lovely finish, beautiful colors.

Well done.


08-12-2005, 07:29 AM
FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and thank you for the explanations along the way which I managed to read all at once because I am late viewing this.

08-13-2005, 05:33 AM
Hi folks

Doug - War of the roses eh?!? I used to live and work in Leeds so have friends there too! Thanks for all your comments. I agree about the shadows. I actually painted them darker on the left hand building and they seemed to dominate so I scrubbed them out a bit! Also the orginal is much stronger than in here. I always find photographing that there is a blue tint to the picture so I brighten it before putting it in here and that washes some of the definition out.

JJ - thanks - you're very kind

Vasil - thanks for your comments and for the mentor point - Wow!

Sylvia - thanks for your comments. I have been afraid of painting people , but since I started adding them to the scene they do liven it up.

Uschi - thanks for joining in and for your comments.

So the end of this one and maybe a break from doing WIPs as this is my third one after the other. It took me a week of painting every day almost all day to do this last one and I'm glad to see the back of it!

Thankyou to all who have commented.

08-13-2005, 02:27 PM
Oh dear. No posts. no help on what to do with my building :crying: :crying: :crying:
I'm doing it today so will just have to battle on myself.
It's all I've got left to do and I want to finish this painting today. It's taken me all week.
Here it is with the figures done.
same techniques - lots of different colours.
Maybe viewers are getting fed up with WIP's or is it just that I've now done 3 of similar types :confused: :o
Anyway here it is:

LOL This reminds me of when I've done a WIP and added the word HELP!! They came, they looked, and left again, no comments. Quite an experience!!

You did a marvelous job!! You're very good at these, wish I had the hutspa(SP?) to try one.

08-13-2005, 03:35 PM
Thanks for a wonderful informative WIP...like going to a class!

Starting with the focal building....then working with that value and hue already established makes such excellent sense and helps to create a more unified painting. Great point to remember when painting all subjects!

I will also try to remember ... to 'push paint around' The effect is so fresh and unstudied looking. great tip.

A lovely painting of a charming scene. :clap:

08-19-2005, 09:34 AM
Quite the piece of work, Gill! I am very impressed!! Thank you for going into so much detail! It really helps for watchers to understand! :D :D

08-19-2005, 02:03 PM
Gill...please don't think your WIP's aren't appreciated!! I am sure there are loads of folks like me who don't post because they are watercolor newbies but lurk, look and learn! My computer time is quite limited until school starts in September, but I try to pop in to the WIP's because there is so much to learn from them! I LOVE YOUR WORK!!!


Rose Queen
08-19-2005, 02:48 PM
I'm really enjoying watching this come together! Thanks so much for posting it as a WIP so we can all join in the fun!

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10-01-2005, 03:50 PM
Hi Gill,

I have just found this thread - a few years late! I enjoyed it so much. Would like you to know that.

:clap::clap::clap::clap: robyn