Monday, June 21, 2010


I returned from Bologna knowing that my art from this trip was going to be focused primarily on the architecture and the soft colors of the region, and this meant that watercolors, with and without some pastel, would be the dominant media. For many years watercolor was my only medium, and architecture my only subject, so in some ways this would be a return to my first love.

Without formal art training my use of the medium basically evolved on its own, influenced by the art of one or two illustrators and my fascination with the urban environment. The result has been the frequent use of the architect’s “elevation drawing” to depict the subjects, and my commitment to clean lines and hard edges in the paintings, forgoing the loose, transparent washes that are usually the hallmark of watercolor. In other words my watercolors are usually very tightly executed, and to accomplish this it is necessary to spend a great deal of time planning the composition and the approach because of all the masking that is required. My goal is to share this with you as I work my way through the painting of the Castello Estense.

The watercolor below was completed in the early 80’s and is a good example of what I have been writing about.

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts...wc...20x30

In this case I eliminated everything but the structure itself. In subsequent work I began placing the buildings against a tinted background...which I will be doing with the Castle. To do this I have completely masked the outline of the structure with artist tape. This will allow me to work the washes for the background without worrying about the paint getting into areas where I don’t want it to go.

It was necessary to alter the exposure of the photo in order to allow the tape to be seen.

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