Taking it too far?

I’m currently trying to master watercolour as a painting medium, learning to use both water and paint in the right amount and in the right ways.

My last session did not end well, so what else to do than to get back on the horse and do another one?

This time I wanted to have a go at an old brick building, adding a few people on the street as well.

I also decided to leave the guiding lines of the building in the drawing. Maybe it would be a cool effect?

So I started out with this sketch:


First I painted the sky, adding some light blue paint with lots of water.

The result ended up quite nice, other than the two water spots on the left side of the paper (picture below).

So I acknowledged the mistake, moved on, and hoped to have more control of the water next time.

For the building and the pavement I added a light black colour, with some darker mixes for the people in front.

I think it turned out nice, but the tower in the back did not end up looking to good. So I tried adding some blue paint (on a whim).

That didn’t look to good either, so I kind of panicked and added some white on top to try and save something out of it.

It ended up like this:


Now, maybe this is the point where I should have stopped, adding some shadows to the people and fixing up the tower.

I did not.

I wanted the building to be red, and the pavement to be just a bit darker.

Also, I did some final pen work on the building, making the windows a bit sharper and strengthening some of the shadows.

On the right side of the building, however, I added some pen strokes to shadow the whole wall.

To many pen marks…, which did not end up looking to good either…

So I tried to cover it up with some black paint. It ended up… I don’t know what I think about it, actually. It is what it is..

The shadows of the people look kind of cool, though.

This is the final result:bty

The big question now is;

Should I have stopped at an earlier point, not overworking the painting?

I think the final result is ok, but I do not like the dark shade on the right side of the building.

On the left side there’s clearly been a accumulation of water, making the paint look smudged.

The tower in the back is also way to overworked. In the end it was like drawing on wet cardboard…

What do you think? 🙂

It’s not easy this watercolour medium..

But I’ll keep on going!

18 thoughts on “Taking it too far?

  1. A painting is complete when the painter wants it to…nobody can say anything. Your both paintings are beautiful ….having different values depending on what was on your mind at those particular moments. Isn’t it so? Even if a painting has gone awfully wrong ..it gives us some lesson. I usually use color pencils…but I love watercolors since they surprise us….I just love how they carry their own imaginative potential. Keep it up

    1. I agree ☺ And thank you for the kind words. Yes, my paintings are very inspired by my daily mood. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not so much… ☺ But I always learn something new in the process. And watercolour is amazing. It never ends up exactly as you imagine ☺

  2. The pen work you did definitely adds volume and actually makes it stand out, at least to me anyway! I was always a fan of outlining paintings – doesn’t matter what medium – and I’m not really sure why! Especially if it looks sketched and heavily lined. Nice combination.

    1. Thank you!☺ I thought adding the guide lines would make a cool effect, so I’m glad you like it ☺ I’m happy with the pen work, actually. More so than the paint work :p

  3. Giorgio de Chirico’s work immediately popped into my head, when I saw your sketch and watercolor combo. There is something eerie about your watercolor which I find intriguing and worth pursuing further. The thing with watercolor: You never know what the painting will look like unless you go a step further. And yes, that’s when you can overwork a piece.

    1. Wow! That’s quite a cool association to my paintings ☺ I really appreciate the kind words, and are eager to pursue watercolour further ☺ I agree! There’s no painting yet where it has ended up the way I planned. But I guess that’s part of the fun.

  4. The first one is much easier on the eyes and to me, told a story. I loved watching the progression of your art though. And isn’t that what it’s really about? I think you’re a wonderful artist.

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback and kind words! And it’s so nice to hear that it told a story to you ☺ I agree! Learning new styles and techniques is one of the greatest joys. Seeing that there’s some form of progression ☺ And there’s always things to improve, so it’ll probably keep on as long as we’re at it ☺

  5. I think they’re both amazing, this is actually the first watercolour I’ve seen that has sharp lines. Personally I like the red in the building too. 😊

    1. Thank you, Elaine. I’m glad the red edition was well received ☺ I didn’t know it was that unconventional doing sharp lines, but it was a fun painting to work on ☺

      1. I’m no expert Kim, I’ve a limited knowledge in painting full stop 🛑 I was going by the watercolour paintings I’ve seen 😄

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