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Old 10-03-2011, 08:03 AM
JafreyBen JafreyBen is offline
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Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

My windows allways look very 2 dimensional...

and i have a hard time getting my buildings to look anything other than one color...

how do i create a kind of stone-work effect using just color? rather than having to add details for emphasis...

also what are appropriate kind of details?

Btw im just a beginner, have only been painting a few months so go easy on me, thanks...
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:42 AM
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Cyntada Cyntada is offline
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

Hi Jafrey,

Mixing on the paper was really helpful for me in painting rocks and buildings. It's a bit scary to dump pure blue and pure burnt umber onto a "white" or gray building side, but swirl it aorund the wet paper a bit (not too much!) and you'll end up with a neutral looking building or rock that has a lot more liveliness and texture than painting it with flatly mixed color. Also, two granulating colors and some rougher paper will do much to add texture without working too hard on your part. Let the paint do the heavy lifting!

Windows are often very dark, especially the tinted commercial types. I paint a lot of these since I plein-aire on lunch breaks, so guess what I see? My favorite method is to wash the sky color in from one corner, then from the diagonal corner come over with a dark neutral. Let it mix roughly (don't smooth it much) and paint "sloppy" so there's white sparkles and spots you missed. If it's an office building, put some dark angular shapes to represent other buildings in the area, or curvy dark shapes for trees and etc. The office windows I see often reflect much more detail than I am willing to paint, but this method gets it done and they look decent to me.



I mixed out the gray fairly flat for this concrete, got the texture from drybrushing which is another way to add some details without killing yourself. Arches 140 CP.

In any case good luck, enjoy practicing and please post your efforts. We'll be nice I promise!
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:35 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

JB, as an early painter you are tackling one of the more challenging objects in landscape painting, ie, buildings and other structures.

Generally speaking, there are several approaches to drawing and painting buildings and other structures:

--Photorealism, or as close as one chooses to get: this is where detail and texture play a major role in rendering the object as faithfully and accurately as possible;
--Architectural rendering: this is where accuracy of the subject building takes preference over the rest of the landscape objects in the composition
--Painting loosely and colorfully (my terms): this is where it's more important to paint one's feelings or emotions of the subject, than it is to render everything with technical, local accuracy.

There's no better or worst approach, only what works best to support one's painterly intent.

In answer to your questions, here's one thought:

Buildings really are just shapes in a landscape painting--albeit geometrical shapes--as are organic shapes such as trees, ground, mountains, sky, etc. As painters, we are really composing with and painting geometrical and organic shapes. Hopefully they are visually interesting shapes that attract and retain the viewer's eye. If the shapes are not interesting, all the detail and texture in the world will not redeem them! For buildings, they often become more interesting and energizing if their shapes contain some variety: variety of color, variety of values, variety of temperature. Try sketching and painting your buildings shapes with gradated vertical planes and roof planes (where they are visible). Keep in mind that, in normal illumination, inclined roof planes reflect more light than vertical wall planes, and thus tend to be lighter in value, unless one is seeking some special effect (even when there is backlighting)! Just some thoughts.

FWIW, in November-December, I'll be leading a tutorial on "Painting Buildings in a Loose and Colorful Way". We'll tackle simple perspective, composition and placing buildings in the landscape, and other fundamentals using simple buildings, groups of buildings, urban settings and building vignettes. Hope you'll join in November.

Sling paint!
Virgil
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Last edited by virgil carter : 10-03-2011 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:38 PM
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kate252 kate252 is offline
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

if your windows are big...wet the square...and then paint it and youll see a difference in how to the paint appears on the paper..it goes all shimmery and wonderful...this is how id do my windows

i sympathise with your window plight...which is why i dont do paitings like this, its way too hard!
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Old 10-03-2011, 04:27 PM
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

For windows, show a reveal to set them back from the wall surface, show shadows on the window bar etc. For the glass drop one colour in the top of the pan and another in the lower part. Maybe sky reflection at the top and foliage reflection in the bottom if appropriate.

For stonework and brickwork drop varied colours in wet in wet, add patches of bricks or stones to complete the illusion.

Doug
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:01 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

A further thought: The challenge of painting windows is really one of painterly intent.

If one's intent is to paint one or more buildings that just happen to have some windows visible, then the windows are really subordinate details to the profile and mass of the building which is likely to be the dominant shape(s) of the painting. Thus, in such cases, windows really should not be very detailed so as to be supportive of the shape of the building as a whole. Just a few suggestions of window glazing, and any recesses, sills, transoms, etc. As Doug suggests, a sky reflection or a transparent portion of 1-2 windows can provide some visual variety. Avoid painting every window and painting all windows in the same fashion--that's not very enlivening and it competes with the building for dominance.

On the other hand, if a window or two are the primary painterly intent, and the composition is a vignette of the said windows, then details of construction, reflection, transparency, etc., are very appropriate and become the enlivening necessary to make such a shallow-space composition interesting.

Here's examples of the first and second situation, that draw heavily on using illumination effects. Of course, there are many other good approaches; these are just two of many to consider, based on intent.





The first painting is actually the barn-studio for a week-long painting workshop in Point Clyde, Maine, led by Christopher Schinck, some years ago. The second painting is one of the back windows on my house with afternoon shadows from a nearby oak!

Sling paint!
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Last edited by virgil carter : 10-03-2011 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:34 AM
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

One thing I would mention to you ,is what you See in Virgil's painting . NO pane reflects the same thing . Every one is different . You will see that constantly applied in any Good painting of buildings

A good thing to keep in mind. I hope tht helps .
June
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:52 AM
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

Interesting topic and responses. I've added this thread to The Watercolor Handbook in the section under Principles — Architectural Elements.

Sylvia
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:32 AM
JafreyBen JafreyBen is offline
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

OMG wow, your paintings are so good.......both of the sets of windows posted look fantastic.....

any advice on what colors to drop in?

i dont really have anything in mind, so any realistic kind of stone work would be useful....

also i keep hearing about these classes, where do they take place and how do i follow them?

thanks!
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:44 AM
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

Hi Jafrey Ben,
Welcome to the Watercolor Forum. Glad you've gotten such good advice about painting windows. One of the nicest things about the artists who come here is how helpful and how willing they are to share their knowledge with us.

We have Monthly Classes, KIUAN Exercises, and Challenges frequently here. Check the stickies at the top of the Learning Zone or in the Moderator and Guides signature lines for lists of previous lessons. They are always available for people to review or visit for the first time.

Virgil will be leading an exciting class starting on 1 November on this topic you've asked about, so watch for it to start next month. In the meantime, you might want to check out some of those earlier classes on different topics that interest you.

Sylvia
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Old 10-04-2011, 02:44 PM
JafreyBen JafreyBen is offline
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyntada
Hi Jafrey,

Mixing on the paper was really helpful for me in painting rocks and buildings. It's a bit scary to dump pure blue and pure burnt umber onto a "white" or gray building side, but swirl it aorund the wet paper a bit (not too much!) and you'll end up with a neutral looking building or rock that has a lot more liveliness and texture than painting it with flatly mixed color. Also, two granulating colors and some rougher paper will do much to add texture without working too hard on your part. Let the paint do the heavy lifting!

Windows are often very dark, especially the tinted commercial types. I paint a lot of these since I plein-aire on lunch breaks, so guess what I see? My favorite method is to wash the sky color in from one corner, then from the diagonal corner come over with a dark neutral. Let it mix roughly (don't smooth it much) and paint "sloppy" so there's white sparkles and spots you missed. If it's an office building, put some dark angular shapes to represent other buildings in the area, or curvy dark shapes for trees and etc. The office windows I see often reflect much more detail than I am willing to paint, but this method gets it done and they look decent to me.



I mixed out the gray fairly flat for this concrete, got the texture from drybrushing which is another way to add some details without killing yourself. Arches 140 CP.

In any case good luck, enjoy practicing and please post your efforts. We'll be nice I promise!

i love your painting, i just tried it, they look like big blue blobs....

how did u get, the window color, the sky color and the reflection all into the 1 window pane?

because if i add a straight color like you said, its usually pretty strong and then its too dark to add in detail
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:31 PM
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

Try different Colors from sky and without and things from Inside reflected, curtains , chairs . Use your imagination .
june
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:32 AM
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kate252 kate252 is offline
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

darn . Virgil too good for words
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:21 AM
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kate252 kate252 is offline
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

virgils paintings are so hot sometimes they are smoking off of that web page. if i could paint like that id be one very happy bunny!
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:46 AM
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Re: Advice on painting Buildings and windows that stand out?

You'll enjoy November's class then, Kate, because he will be teaching us to paint like that!

Sylvia
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