Watercolor painting of Santa Maria Della Salute, Venice

Santa Maria Della Salute

We now have to paint the buildings, primarily Santa Maria Della Salute a very popular tourist attraction in Venice. Firstly notice how I have let the colors from the sky flow down into the building, figure 7. As the buildings are light-colored you would expect them to reflect some of the sky colors. This means all I have to do now is lay a light glaze of watercolor paint over this area to give the buildings some solidity.  This glaze will effectively increase the tone of the buildings, so instead of being connected to the clouds as they appear at the end of the previous stage, after this next step they will appear in their correct position in the picture plane.

The Customs House (the building on the left) and Santa Maria Della Salute are painted with a variety of mixes of Cobalt Blue, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Cad Orange. I also used some Burnt Sienna and Permanent Alizarin Crimson to hint at the color of the roof lines on the Customs House.

Finishing the red sunset sky and the foreground watercolor painting
Figure 7: Paint the rest of the red sunset sky and foreground

I start painting this section by first dropping in a little weak Cad Orange mix on the side that faces the sun of the spherical dome at the end of the Customs House. Then with a cool bluish mix I start painting from the left hand side of the dome and let the colors bleed into one another.

I then continue painting, while varying the mix as I go along, from the left hand end of the Customs House, towards Santa Maria Della Salute.  I repeat the exercise as with the Cad Orange on the Customs House sphere, on the domes of the Church – while this is wet I drop in the cool side (away from the sun) colors and again let them bleed into one another.

I should also mention that as I painted from left to right I also painted the reddish roof lines about thirty seconds before I painted the walls above and below them. This gave the paint time to stain the paper, while still leaving it wet enough to bleed down or up to give the soft effect I was after.

Towards the right hand side of the Church I lightened my mix and added more Cobalt Blue to cool it down. This is because this part of the Grand Canal is moving away from the viewer; hence it would look lighter and slightly bluer due to atmospheric perspective.

When this is dry I paint in the right hand side buildings and the trees with a mixture of French Ultramarine, Permanent Alizarin Crimson and some Burnt Sienna.  While this is still wet I paint in some squiggles at the bottom of the building to give the impression of people walking near the bottom of the building – because the area is dark you would mainly see their legs (hence the “squiggles”).

Painting the buildings of Santa Maria Della Salute with a watercolor glaze
Figure 8: Painting the buildings of Santa Maria Della Salute with a watercolor glaze

Notice that I did not try to paint in the doorways and windows but just used the original pencil marks as is and allowed them to show through the watercolor paint.

Our watercolor painting of Santa Maria Della Salute in Venice is now complete and we can move on to the next stage of this painting.

Continue to: Painting the water in Venice