House gables | A simple watercolor exercise
This exercise is so easy to do that it ended up in the “for beginners” category. It does involve several different techniques, such as wet on wet, flat wash and glazing, but is still quite easy to paint.
The basic colors in the painting are a blue and a brown. The blue must not granulate, it must be able to move well in water. Prussian blue or phthalo are suitable, I used phthalo myself. The brown color should be burnt sienna.
A problem with both of these blue colors is that they like to turn greenish together with some brown color. If your color mixture turns green (test), you must also have a cold red color to be used to make the green color mixture more neutral.
I also use a yellow brown color, my choice was raw sienna but it works well with any (yellow ocher for example).
Start by mixing blue and brown paint until a light gray is achieved. If your gray color becomes slightly greenish, just mix in a little cold red color. This color mixture should be light and as neutral as possible. Also mix blue with water to a nice sky blue.
Wet the sky on the painting with clean water, as always it is better to make the paper very wet and let the water sink in, wait a little while before painting, so you have plenty of time to paint before the paper has time to dry.
When you judge that the paper is sufficiently moist to paint wet on wet, you should initially paint with blue color at the top of the image. Leave the area that will be clouds unpainted. Don’t forget the small corner at the top right which should also be blue.
Next, take your gray color and paint shadows under the clouds, leaving an unpainted border between the blue sky and the shadow. When painting wet on wet, you can’t completely control the result, be happy with it, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you imagined.
Now the houses will get their first coat of paint. Start with the back house. In the photo you can see that it is made of yellow brick. Then you might be tempted to paint it with unburnt sienna or yellow ochre. But the result will then be far too colorful. You have to get your yellow-brown paint dirty before you can paint with it.
Use the gray paint mix from before, if you have any left, or make a new one. Mix it with your yellow brown
Paint the house on the left with a very faint (almost just water) dirty beige color.
The house on the right should be painted with a slightly darker blue-gray color. All these houses can be painted without stopping because the surfaces are not in contact with each other. The bargeboards act as barriers between the paint layers because they must be left unpainted. Leave the window glass on the right house unpainted.
Paint the right house again with the same color you used for the first layer of paint, The reason the house should be painted twice is to conjure up the small bright day that is along the left side of the window opening. Such a small detail can make a big difference.
Keep in mind that the first layer of paint must be completely dry before doing the second.
Mix a black color with blue and brown, add some red color if the mixture becomes greenish. Gradually dilute the black paint to the right amount for the various bargeboards and the black wood on the half-timber.
Paint the window glass with different colors in a pattern that should give the impression of reflections of buildings in the glass. Also paint a small shadow along the upper edge of the window and the gray roof of the house on the right.