Watercolor demonstration- Cusco church, Peru

I began this painting a month ago.  Finally I finished it last night.

My inspiration for the piece was the artwork of Dan Burt.  I picked up a copy of his book on Amazon and have looked through it (you don’t read art books, do you?) many times, especially enjoying the 11 tutorials and the step-by-step photographs of the paintings in progress.


This was my initial line drawing transferred to the paper.  The original photograph, a church on the Plaza de Armas in the Incan city of Cusco, Peru, had a ton of detail.  I used artistic license and simplified the elaborate facade of the church.


In Step 1 I started by painting the sky a middle value.  Light colors were painted first and the blues and greens floated in afterwards.  The whole sky was painted wet-in-wet and allowed to dry.

As you can see, I do not paint realistic colors.


Step 2 was the painting of the foreground.  I wanted this to be darker than the sky and a tad cooler.


Step 3, as demonstrated by Dan in his book, was to paint hi chroma colors with opposites.  This stage is the hardest for me because I take artistic liberties by creating colors where they do not exist, hoping it makes sense in the end.


At this point I want to establish my near-darks.  I began with the side of the church facing the shadows, starting with red and dropping blue into the wet wash.  The cars and distant buildings were partially defined.


Details of the church were added.  The darkest darks were introduced and I painted the details of the church abstractly. The shadow on the street was added, as were the figures in the foreground.


YES, I DO PLAN TO USE ALL THESE COLORS –  20×28″  Watercolor on Hot Pressed paper

For my final step, I used masking tape and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to scrub out whites of the paper in several areas of the foreground (near the feet of the figures, on sidewalk on right-hand side of paper,etc.).

Hope you are keeping busy.


Ryan Fox

Etsy.com– fine art giclees


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