Painting people and gondolas with watercolor

Painting gondolas and other boats

Now that the water area has dried we can paint in the gondolas and other water craft as needed. I am mainly painting gondolas and a couple of water buses called Vaporetti as they are more iconic to Venice and have left out a lot of the other river craft of which there are many! After the gondolas and the vaporetti I paint the people that are all over Venice.

I start by placing one gondola on the left roughly halfway between the foreground and the Customs House. This then allows me to set the perspective of the other gondolas. The ones closer appear larger and those further away are smaller.

I use quick dry brush strokes to create the impression of the piers and vertical posts that the boats are often tied to.

On the right hand area I paint in a couple of waterbus stations. These are just an impression with very little detail, and I have one waterbus poking out from the one on the left. These stations help connect the foreground with the middle distance.

Painting gondolas in venice wtih watercolor
Figure 10: Painting gondolas and boats

Painting people

Once the water, gondolas and boats are finished with I paint in the people. As my viewpoint is looking down I make sure the people are painted higher in the picture plane as they appear to move further away, they also get smaller and lighter in tone due to atmospheric perspective.

I use slightly warmer colors with the foreground figures which also show more detail.

As this is a darkish scene the colors are all dull.

I use some small dry brush strokes under the figures to help ground them. I use the same but longer brush strokes to add a little texture to the ground – don’t overdo it however.

The trick to painting people is to make their heads small, to connect them in groups, and don’t make them all evenly spaced and of the same height. I also show their legs in different poses, through the use of very quick strokes which I keep varying. I have some figures coming towards the front of the scene and some towards the back.

Painting people in Venice with watercolor
Figure 11: Painting people in Venice with watercolor

This watercolor painting is nearly completed now that we have placed the people and gondolas.

Continue to: Finishing watercolor painting of Venetian sunset scene