Tag Archives: watercolour landscapes

From Inside Looking Out 2 – Hard or Soft Landscapes

Living in Bangkok it is very hard to find any rural landscape to draw or paint for this exercise but luckily enough it was a very busy month socially and within the space of a few weeks I had travelled to the seaside town of Pattaya and Koh Lan (Coral Island) to my girlfriend’s home town of Chiang Khong, just across the Meekong from Laos. This helped me get in quite a few studies of both rural and urban studies in a matter of days.

Urban Sketches

Chao Phraya River Bangkok

Wet on Wet Watersoluble Pencils

Wet on Wet Water Soluble Pencils

This is one of my favourite sketches of a hard landscape to date and it was a very different style for me. I made the sketch with wet water soluble pencils in a side to side motion on wet paper. The problem though was that I did not capture enough information to turn into a painting and another trip to the spot was needed before I could consider this for a painting.

 

 

Pattaya Pier

Watercolour Pattaya Pier

Watercolour Pattaya Pier

This watercolour sketch was drawn from a photo that I took arriving at pattaya from Koh lan on the ferry. Although it is quite a week sketch there are parts of it that really stand out, mainly the ripples on the water and the sky.

 

 

 

Cranes on the Chaophraya

Watercolour Cranes on the Chaophraya

Watercolour Cranes on the Chaophraya

There is some pretty interesting construction going on at my side of Bangkok at the moment that needs documenting. I passed these cranes on the way to work every day for about three months and eventually managed to get the day off so that I could draw them. This sketch had all the information needed to be developed into a painting but at this stage I’m not sure if I would be able to depict the water using acrylics

 

Emporium Park – Sukhumvit

Watercolour Sketch Sukumvit Park

Fig.1 – Watercolour Sketch Sukumvit Park

Watercolour Sketch - Sukhumvit Park

Fig. 2 – Watercolour Sketch – Sukhumvit Park

I wouldn’t have thought about going here as I live at the other side of the city but my girlfriend landed a private yoga class in the park and so it was a great opportunity to do a bit of sketching after I had helped her take photos of the Yoga class.

 

 

I did a lot of the sketching in the park and then finished them off at home and over did it with the water which looks too muddy.  The water in the park is very discoloured but should have more reflection on the surface in the sun.

 

 

 

 

Watercolour Sketch - Sukhumvit Park

Watercolour Sketch – Sukhumvit Park

 

The third sketch was a little better and I actually thought about using it for the coming linear perspective exercise. It was also great practie for mark making for the leaves of the trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Temple at Rama VII Bridge

Acryic Sketch of Temple and River

Acryic Sketch of Temple and River

This sketch was a very fast sketch in acrylic of a temple by Rama VII bridge that sits on the Chaophraya river, the UFO type building in the background is the Nonthaburi campus of some Technology university. I thought it was a good contrast of old and new buildings. I sketched the buildings very quickly over a wash of blue and red which gave me the colour of the sky and those colours reflected on the water.

 

The water however was the only thing that stopped me developing this further in acrylic as again i’m not sure if I would do a good job of it an acrylics I think I may have to look into techniques for painting water.

Silhouette of a Local Temple

Silhouette of a Local Temple

Silhouette of a Local Temple

 

On the way home from painting the last sketch I took a photo of this temple on my side of the river which come out as a silhouette. It was a bit too easy to paint but it did give me some practice painting the sunset which I painted in watercolour before drawing in the buildings with a Pentel Brush pen.

 

Chao Phraya River – Khrung Thon Bridge

Watercolour Study Chaophraya

Watercolour Study Chaophraya

 

I took another trip back to the place where I completed the first sketch in watersoluble pencils. This time I wanted to capture more detail that I could maybe use in a final painting. Unlike the other sketches in watercolour I wanted this one to have more fluidity to it and so this time I used a wet on wet technique. It was my first time using this technique but I think it worked quite well. The only thing that didn’t really work was the boat.

 

Rural Landscape

Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai

The laos Bank of the Meekong River

Fig 1. The laos Bank of the Meekong River

Charcoal Study of a lake

Charcoal Study of a lake

The next sketches were part of a series of sketches I drew in charcoal in Chiang Rai while visiting my girlfriend’s home.

Fig 1. is a sketch of the banks of the Meekong river which I really liked as there were many layers to it with the trees and mountains in the background and the river in the foreground.

 

Fig 2. is a sketch of a small resevoir at the back of the girlfriend’s house. This was drawn at sunrise which I couldn’t really get over in charcoal. Being the most appealing of these sketches to be developed as a painting I took a photo of the scene so I could use the information from that for the colours I needed to use for the final painting. I just hoped that I could manage to paint the water as easy as it was to draw it in charcoal. Could I use a similar technique in paint?

 

The Final Painting – Soft Landscape

Final Painting after 1 Sitting

Final Painting after 1 Sitting

Once back in Bangkok I began the final painting in the comfort of my air-conditioned apartment. Firstly I prepared the support the support with a wash of pink and blue that met in the middle this gave me a blue to work on for the sky and pink for the reflection of the illuminated clouds on the water. Then I begun to paint the clouds using a scumbling technique.

In fact I used the same technique but with different thicknesses of paint for most of the first part of the painting which I did in one sitting using only the the primary colours, red, yellow and blue plus white, mostly layering them on top of each other or mixing them on the canvas rather than mixing on the palette, applying the paint with a medium filbert.

Finished Painting 12 x 16 inch

Finished Painting 12 x 16 inch

When it came to the water I had no idea how to go about depicting the reflection on the ripples of water and tried several different techniques until I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at Monet’s Water Lily paintings. In one of his paintings, Water Lilies and Reed he seemed to use small horizontal strokes, this helped me a lot and I finally got it right, applying the paint in small strokes with a small detail brush.

Thoughts on Final painting

I really like the final painting for a number of reasons. Overall I’m quite proud with it as it was the first time I had painted using only the primary colours.

Composition

I originally chose the composition because even though this was a simple composition it was very soft with several focal points that would draw the viewer in such as the sky, the water and  the flow of water between the mountains. I wasn’t sure I could do a good job painting these areas but I am very happy with the results.

Looking Out 1 – Research Point

Do your own research point into the evolution of landscape painting from the 18th century to the present day. As well as the large oil paintings by artists such as Constable, look at how many artists (including Constable) have used oil sketches made on site as a means of recording the landscape for working up into larger paintings. Watercolour as also been a popular medium for English landscape painting.

18th Century Landscapes

1 Jan Griffier the Elder - A view of Greenwich from the River with many Boats

Jan Griffier the Elder – A view of Greenwich from the River with many Boats

You could see that landscape paintings were going to evolve quite quickly just by looking at the artists in the 18th century. The first early landscape I came across was by Jan Griffier the Elder above from the early 1700s. Here he probably pieced together several sketches to get the panoramic scene above in which he was telling a complete story of what was happening in Greenwhich. Perspective isn’t brilliant and buildings, although stacked with detail lack life. Figures seem to be a key part in bringing early landscapes to life.

2 Alessandro Magnasco - The Seashore

Jan Griffier the Elder – A view of Greenwich from the River with many Boats

Alessandro Magnasco or il Lissandrino, was an Italian late-Baroque painter and with other painters of this genre that I discovered seemed to add drama to their paintings with figures braving the stormy weather and violent clouds. The figures in his painting also add depth to the painting, painted on platforms in the foreground, middle-ground and background.

Joseph Wright of Derby - Landscape with Rainbow

Jan Griffier the Elder – A view of Greenwich from the River with many Boats

Towards the end of the 18th century figures were playing a less important role in landscape paintings. Although the rainbow in Joseph Wright of Derby’s painting above isn’t that lifelike (it may have been at the time) the rest of the painting is almost photo real  due to his use of light that lights up the middle-ground. This depiction of natural light advances towards the end of the 18th century and in to the 19th century.

19th Century Landscapes

 

1 Bidauld, Jean Joseph Xavier - The Park at Mortefontaine

Jan Griffier the Elder – A view of Greenwich from the River with many Boats

In The Park at Mortefontaine above by Bibauld, painted in the 1800s he portrays this sunlight perfectly with a clear natural sky, the sunlight reflecting off the trees and the reflection in the water.

John Constable - East Bergholt Church

John Constable – East Bergholt Church

It was here when I was investigating landscapes from the 1800s that I started to come across more sketchy paintings.  John Constable’s painting of the East Begholt Church above, is not one of the best examples of his work and his probably a study for one of his larger paintings but it is a great example of en plein air this you can tell by the thick, loose brushstrokes.

Albert Bierstadt - Farralones Islands, Pacific Ocean

Albert Bierstadt – Farralones Islands, Pacific Ocean

 

These rough and somewhat wild brushstrokes are great for painting outdoor natural objects that don’t require intricate details. In the painting above by German American artist Albert Bierstadt (of the Hudson River School) you can also see that it is en plein air by the roughness off the rocks in the foreground when enlarged. What I would have liked to know here though is which did he paint first? The blue of the background or the rocks in the foreground.

 

1875 Morisot Laundry

Berthe Morisot – Laundry 1875

Looking athe paintings of the late 19th century I came across my first impressionist landscape by an artist new to me called Berthe Morisot. Of all the paintings I researched so far it was the first painting that included an industrial landscape with chimney’s blowing smoke in the background. The painting depicts workers at a laundry hanging clothes out to dry. It’s the first, of what I would call, modern landscapes that I came across and it reminded me of LS Lowry’s paintings with the almost stick like figures and the grey-blue paint she uses for the factories and hills in the distance.

Vincent van Gogh - Starry Night - 1889

The Starry Night – Vincent van Gogh 1889

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh depicts the view from his bedroom at the asylum in Arles. The artist painted the Starry Night in the day time in his ground floor studio at the asylum, all though some believe it was painted from memory, Vincent painted the view no fewer than 21 times in different variations and so this was more from studies than from memory.

The 20th Century

George Bellows - Fern Woods -1913

Jan Griffier the Elder – A view of Greenwich from the River with many Boats

Entering the 20th century I came across this wonderful painting by American realist painter George Bellows in which you can see the individual brushstrokes that make up the bare branches of the tree. During the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century artists seem to be doing more and more experimenting and not just concentrating on panoramic views anymore but concentrating on the beauty of smaller sections of the landscape.

Anita Ree - Dorfansicht -1920

Anita Ree – Dorfanischt – 1920

Things were also starting to wobble as people discovered more artistic freedom, not just to play around with natural forms but to find more ways of depicting the contrast of natural forms against made objects such as in Anita Clara Rée’s painting above.

Thomas Hart Benton - Chilmark Landscape

Thomas Hart Benton – Chilmark Landscape

American painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton’s painting  ‘Chilmark Landscape’ above, also seems to have a certain wobbliness about it. However, from what I have seen from his other works, Benton as with Grant Wood seem to notice the natural patterns that occur in nature as well as well as the patterns that man’s impact on nature as created and exploit these in their landscape paintings.

Stone City, Iowa , 1930 oil on wood panel

Grant Wood – Stone City, Iowa, 1930, oil on wood panel

Grant wood along with Thomas Hart Benton was at the forefront of the Regionalist art movement in America. His paintings are notable for the lines of lollipop trees bending around exaggerated rolling hills with swooping roads making his landscapes some of the ‘softest’ ever. Unlike Lowry, who’s colours fade out to depict the distance, Wood keeps the same tones but uses the size of the trees, buildings and hills to depict the distance. This gives his paintings a cartoon feel to them.

1958 - Industrial Landscape - LS Lowry

LS Lowry – Industrial Landscape – 1958

 

Famous for his industrial landscapes and ‘matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs’ L.S. lowry will be one artist who will be definitely having an influence on my work through this part of the course. Living in Bangkok, a sprawling metropolis of tall buildings I will hopefully be employing Lowry’s technique of using pale hues to depict buildings in the distance through the gaps in the skyline.

Watercolour

Gammelshausen, county Göppingen, Margret Hofheinz-Döring 1980s

Over the last few years a variety of watercolour painting technique’s have appeared, in the painting Gammelshausen, county Göppinge 1980s,  Margret Hofheinz – Döring has used watercolour as a drawing medium, sketching in much the same way as an illustrator.

Steve Greaves - All Saints Church, Darfield

Steve Greaves – All Saints Church, Darfield

Where as  Steve Greaves in his painting above ‘All Saints Church, Darfield’ has used it as both a drawing and a painting medium in a style that has become known as urban art.This style is unlike the paintings of ZL Feng from Shanghai below, where the artist has used watercolour in a more traditional way, although he has exploited the vivid colour of the medium and painted what I can only describe as some of the most beautiful watercolour landscape paintings I have ever seen.