Demonstration of painting a townscape in Watercolour

Keith Hornblower

For this demonstration Keith chose to use a black and white photgraph of a local landmark, Barnet Church as his inspiration. He was using a half imperial sheet of Arches watercolur paper taped to a board.

Firstly he made a rapid pencil sketch of the scene, avoiding most of the architectural details. He decided to add some dynamism to the scene by adding a few figures. Although the lighting in the original photo was very flat with no obvious shadows Keith decided the light should be coming from the left producing pronounced shadows.

Using a very large squirrel mop brush he applied a wash of dilute yellow ochre over the whole sheet, strengthening the colour in the foreground area.

While the first was was still damp, Keith added a darker tone made by mixing ultramarine, burnt sienna, and alizarin crimson to the foreground area. More ultramarine was added to the mix to strengthed the bottom right corner area.

At this stage the paper was still slightly damp; more yellow ochre was added to the church and some vertical stripes lifted out with a damp brush. Some warm red-brown tone was added to the building on the left and a darker area added at the bottom of the bulding by adding ultramarine mixed with alizarin crimson. At this stage the painting was dried using a hair drier.

Some mid tones were then applied to the central church, and the steeple added.


Here some warmer colour was added to the lower church area. Next the tree and buildings to the right of the church, and the blue car were added using mid tones.


The nearer buildings on the right were then suggested using darker tones. Note the people on the right were suggested as negative shapes.

Using dark tones some details have been added to the buildings on the left and to the lower front area of the church to emphasose the traffic bollards and pedestrians.

Here the figures in front of the church have been clarified, the figures to the right added, and the cars to the left of the church suggested.

Using a strong mix of ultramarine, burnt sienna and alizarin crimson the shadows were added on the side of the building and extending into the road.

When the shadow mix was dry, the road markings were added using white paint. The right hand kerb and the lamposts were then added to finish the demonstration.

Keith was given a warm round of applause for a really excellent demonstration.