Watercolor under wash
I start the painting phase with a watercolor under wash over the whole painting. I use a weak mix of cobalt blue on the left hand side of the sky with a very weak mix of cadmium orange coming in below it from the right had side.
I let the predominantly cad orange wash run down the right hand walls. On the left hand side I add a little permanent alizarin crimson and cad orange to the mix for the under wash of the walls on that side. This mixture is very wet, about the strength of a strong cup of tea. Some of this slightly pinkish mix also flows into the distant canal walls. At this point you should have a bead of wet paint sitting at the bottom of the distant canal wall.
I now paint the water while the rest of the initial wash is still wet. Initially I use a color similar to that on the distant canal walls and then add a bluish-green mix to represent the green turquoise color of the Venetian water. I mix this color with cobalt turquoise, raw umber. As it moves closer to the foreground I add more pigment to strengthen the tone and lay down some Cobalt Blue in the area that reflects the sky.
At this point you will have established your sky and water (except for the reflections which will be added at the end).
Let all this watercolor under wash dry thoroughly!
Continue to: Painting the Distant Venetian Buildings – step 4