Wet weather street painting

Here is the wet weather street painting I did with my students last week. Actually the painting was completed over three classes. Here are the three main stages:

Drawing a street scene

The first week we covered how to draw a street scene. The key point is to start with eye level (horizon) and then draw your objects relative to that. What do I mean by this? Well, when drawing with proper perspective, objects above eye level will appear to move down to it the further away they are. While objects below eye level will appear to come up to it as they move away. Another point about eye level which is important is that it basically tells you how tall people are – hence eye level. You can then make all your other objects, cars, awnings, posts, fences, etc. , relative to that height.

Here is my reference photo for this watercolor painting. I took the photo a few years ago as I was leaving Bathurst after having completed a workshop at the Mitchell School of Arts. I have obviously made changes to aid my composition. The Church on the right is St Stephens Church.

Bathurst after the rain reference photo for watercolor painting

Bathurst after the rain reference photo for watercolor painting

Watercolor under painting and buildings

In the second class we did the watercolor under wash for this wet weather street painting. Other than the muted colors there was nothing to say it was a wet weather scene. The important part of this stage was to get our areal perspective right. Here are the key points:

  • Objects in the distance are lighter in tone. Because of the effects of the atmosphere things in the distance will look lighter than those which are closer to the viewer. You can observe this easily by going outside and looking at a distant object like a hill or mountain.
  • They are bluer and duller in color. Again the atmosphere causes colors to look duller the further away they are from you. They also move a little towards blue hence making them look cooler.
  • They are soft edged with less detail. When you look at a hill covered in trees, from a distance you see very little detail. The edges separating the different shapes tend to merge into fewer and fewer shapes.
  • The strongest tones will be in the foreground. In this wet weather street painting the trees on the left hand side are the strongest tones.

Finished wet weather street painting

The painting was finished in the third class with the details and reflections. The cars, poles, and people were painted. They had to be painted first as it was their reflections that would add the wet character to our wet weather street painting.

To paint the reflections I wet parts of the street area and then dropped the color of the reflections into the wet. If you don’t want such soft edges in the reflections you just need to leave parts of the street dry. I will be doing this painting as a full demonstration and will post a link to it here when it is completed.

Bathurst in the rain wet weather street painting by Joe Cartwright

“Bathurst in the rain” wet weather street painting by Joe Cartwright

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