Saturday, February 28, 2009
At long last I have completed the Temple of the Four Winds!
Since my last blog I have focused on adding all of the multiple layers to the painting. This can undoubtedly be the longest phase of the painting but god is in the details and I easily and happily get lost in them. It takes many successive washes to create all of the middle and darker tones. Rather then paint the building as it might have looked in the 18th century I wanted to focus on the beautiful patina that the pavilion had acquired after nearly three centuries of existence.
To achieve the depth of the architectural details and the shadows I added many layers of mixed burnt umber, and French ultramarine in various degrees of color saturation.
I used three washes of burnt umber and French ultramarine to achieve the nearly black windows. To create the window muntins I used my ruling pen with Chinese white gouache, which is much more opaque then watercolors. Allowing me to layer over the black watercolor once it has completely dried. This is a much easier process then painting the individual window and door muntins.
It's interesting how one becomes totally immersed in the subject matter their painting. In painting buildings I almost become lost in the fantasy of the structure I am reproducing. Even if I have never visited the actual building I almost can feel as if I am actually standing in front it. I can almost feel the warmth of the stones as the sun strikes and creates it's dramatic shadows. To achieve realistic shadows you must really imagine the sun hitting the building. Of course observation in reality is a must. I try to always keep my camera with me so that I can document shadows. Because of all of our wonderful classical buildings, DC is a fantastic place to observe how the shadows cast themselves on the buildings.
Towards the end of a painting I find myself already becoming excited about my next subject. I have several ideas in mind so I will keep you all posted.
Thanks to all who have been so encouraging of my work. It really inspires me to keep going!
Posted by Michael Hampton at 6:15 PM