I made a contour line graphite drawing of St Paul’s and also the large shapes of the flowers.
I started painting the sky first. But before doing so, I spent sometime preparing a palette of blues, in varying tones of washes, and some of the blue I added a perylene maroon. These tones varied from extremely washy (10% colour and 90% water) to almost neat paint (90% colour and 10% water). I mentioned this took some time, the reason being, I intended not only to use these washes for the sky but also for parts of the building and negative space between the flowers.
To paint a wet on wet sky … I wet the sky area with a large brush. I let the water soak into the paper. I rewet the paper with another coat of water. I let that soak into the paper. I rewet the paper with another coat of water and let that soak into the paper. I then used a chisel brush (1″ wide) and a round headed brush (1″ wide) to paint in the sky. I worked light to dark, so started applying my weakest of washes first, working from the top of the sky. When painting wet on wet like this you have to make sure any subsequent layers of wash you apply have more paint content than the previous ones. The result if you did not would be a cauliflower sky. Bear in mind, I had soaked the paper, as I knew the sky would take me about 25 minutes to complete. The absolute beauty of watercolours wet on wet is that as you work in layers the paper is slowly drying. To avoid any hard edges, I used a very soft tissue to just dab the paper with very softly as I worked.
I then worked on the building, from light to dark, laying an initial wash of light tone all over the building area first. I then took a 1″ brush (with a long handle) and painted in the edges of the building and any major lines. The building took around 35 minutes to complete.
I underpainted the background trees with yellow. I also painted all the greenery and flower stems with yellows, using ochre, medium and lemon. I then mixed up a range of greens, using a perylene ultramarine, green shade, and the three yellows aforementioned, to mix a wide variety of green.
Then I started painting in the flowers. I used a process magenta and a 1″ chisel brush. I painted stronger tone on the left sides of the flowers to suggest the light source. Once the flowers were painted, I painted in the negative space around them with my range of greens. I used four different brushes to achieve varying shapes of the greenery.
This painting took four painting sessions to complete. A fantastic way to practice wet on wet, glazing and colour mixing.