WIP Belle Vue Park pt 2

Posted by Catherine Cains on

Hello all 😊

I’m about half way through the actual painting of the buildings at Belle Vue Park so I thought it was a good point for an update 😊

In my last post I shared my drawing and scaling up process which took us up to the point where I was ready to start painting. I always work from the background to the foreground so my first action was to add a blue wash over the sky. I wanted a bright blue to match a Welsh spring day so I chose cerulean blue which I often use. I like to turn my board when painting sky’s so that the natural pooling of the watercolour at the bottom of the painting gives a deeper colour as the colour of the sky also gets deeper. I use a very light mix of paint for the first layers of washes. They are intended to give a base and as watercolour is translucent I will add details in layers. Plus, with watercolour you can always go darker but it is very hard to lighten. Once this first wash had dried, I wanted to go a deeper, brighter blue so added another layer and waited for that to dry before moving on.

I start by laying down washes over the larger areas of the foreground. It is important at this point to note all the places where you have your highest light values as you achieve white with watercolours by letting the white of the paper show through gaps in the paint. You’ll notice where I’ve left white lines on the roof of the conservatories for example. I used a dilute ivory black for the grey areas and a mixture of burnt sienna with a touch of cadmium red pale for the red brickwork. As the glass of the conservatories is coloured by the reflections of the sky, I used the same cerulean blue wash from earlier. 

Having placed colour in these larger areas, I looked at the trees on either side as these would be my next layer when working from the background. I had taken the first wash of the blue sky right down to the buildings as I wanted the trees to sit on top. This is not always possible as the blue of the sky will obviously effect any colour which came on top, but as the trees are green the blue of the sky will work fine as an under layer. I worked a first layer of dilute green to form the basic shapes and I used a mixture of viridian green, hooker’s green and a touch of Indian black as the trees are quite dark conifers. I wanted to build up the layers of the leaves in the trees with paint so between drying times I turned my attention to start adding some texture to the grey brickwork of the building as well as adding a second layer to the orange brickwork. I was quite free with my brushstrokes when trying to recreate the haphazardness of the textured bricks but restrained and precise when adding the deeper layer of red to the other brickwork.


Once dried, I worked another layer of grey across the stones picking out some random darker points. I also started to look at the furthest point again which would now be the metal rooves of the tops of the conservatories. I added a touch of cobalt blue to the sky wash to make it slightly warmer and make the distinction  between the finish of the metal or glass surfaces. I also started to add the details like the small windows. 


Moving down the painting, I then focussed on the glass panels of the conservatories. I find it’s really important to look closely and not imagine what is there to note where the shadows or reflections occur as this will very much help with achieving a realistic outcome. Watercolour paints are particularly suited to describing glass as they are translucent themselves and you can really play with the properties of the paint itself.


So that has brought me up to date. As I said, I think I’m approximately half way through so my next update will possibly take us through to the final work. If you’ve enjoyed finding out about my process then sign up for my newsletters to receive updates. I look forward to the next time 😊👋








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