Wednesday, 20 July 2011

This Old House

This is my painting from the Painting Friends "Year of Painting" challenge, where once a month we have to paint from a provided photo and share our process.

Number Four, Crooked Houses

Personal Goals for this Painting:

Firstly I set some goals for my thumbnail sketches.
These were :
  1. do a thumbnail showing the scene as is
  2. on two thumbs, eliminate different elements
  3. on one thumb be off the wall
  4. Choose which one of these thumbnails to paint.

Choosing (3), the choices for the painting were to try to
a) try to make the crooked houses believable - and to add some crumbling plasterwork!

So, here's the painting: This Old House

What works and what could be improved.

I think the houses look believable. I think perhaps the crumbling plaster is too uniform.. I should have made more ragged shapes, perhaps.

Challenges Faced

Oh the challenge for me! I hate things that look crooked, so somehow I had to make these look real, without tinkering too much and making them perfectly level!

Share Personal Goals and whether you felt you Met Them

My goals were to make the four thumbs again, pick a technique for crumbling plaster and to create a feeling of older crooked houses.
Did I manage that? I think so, though I can see room for improvement. (Without re-building the houses to suit !)

How I created the Painting.

I created the painting by painting the sky first. When that was dry, first pale coat on each building, then when dry, a second coat leaving small areas unpainted. Then I created an edge around those small areas to mimic crumbling plaster. Window and doors were painted, mindful of shadows. The painted borders to the original windows were reduced, because I thought they detracted from the building. Dry brush on the pavement and then big shadow washes!

Size of Painting, Medium, Palette and Brushes.

The painting is on Arches Aquarelle Rough 140lb and is 11” x 7”
The medium is pencil for the under drawing and watercolour for the painting. W&N artists quality .
Palette colours used : French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre., Burnt Sienna.
Brush: Kolinsky numbers 12 and 7

PS: The title comes from a song that Shakin' Stevens once sang, and I saw him perform at Shepherd's Bush, London. (yes, in my youth!)
The lyrics included " ain't got time to fix the shingles, ain't got time to fix the floor" which suited this crooked house and my feelings on it, down to the ground!


  1. Lovely work Pat and I enjoyed reading your thoughts and notes for this. I always seem to make even ruins look habitable sometimes!
    Good old Shakey eh? I started to hum the tune as soon as I saw the thumbnail. Speaking of teenage memories: my wife once shared a beefburger with Bowie and also dated Paul Young! My only real claim is getting told to #### off by Roger Daltrey!

  2. Thanks, Michael. Glad you enjoyed it :)

    I loved Shaky and Adam Ant.. seems like yesterday :lol:
    What a claim to fame you do have - more popular than Paul Young :lol:

  3. Hi, Pat,
    Good work and very interesting to look at the process. It's like picture book illustration. Have fun and enjoy it.

  4. Thanks, Sadami!
    I did enjoy it once I started painting :) Sometimes if you think too much, it can become a chore and not fun! xx

  5. Lovely painting! The houses look very believable! I enjoyed reading about the process, very methodical.

  6. I agree with Saddam, could be a book illustration, a good one, it's very nice and convincing. I am always very impressed by how you face challenges, Pat, and overcome them so well!
    I think maybe it's a good idea to blur a little the crumbling plaster, splattering some water.

    I want to tell you about my Missy, she's not so well as I though, she has a carcinoma ( skin cancer) and I've been taking care of this in another town, here we dont have this kind of treatment. We have to travel abour 100 kilometers to another city, and this has left me less free time to visit my friend's blogs. But I have faith it will heal because after she had surgery and removed the tumor there's no metastasis. In addition, she is young, probably about four years old. I hope she survives, with no pain. xoxo

  7. Interesting little exercise Pat, and I love the colours in your painting. Yes, the patches are not random enough, and on the furthest house, maybe they should be smaller?
    Interesting too, that you chose to do a portrait format from a landscape sketch.

  8. Thanks, Judy! Glad you think they look believable. xx

    Thanks, Anamaria. Next time I paint crumbling plaster, I'll do that for sure!
    I am hoping and praying that your Missy does as well with her cancer treatment as my Missy did xx

    Glad you enjoyed it, Frank.
    Exactly what you've pointed out are the areas I could see for improvement.
    Interesting - or odd? :lol:
    If you've noticed on all my off the wall options, I can do odd quite well! :lol:

  9. Pat I am especially drawn to the door and the shadow on the door, very cool!

  10. Pat, I love the way you put down your thoughts on paper but with the written word and paint brush. I'm so tickled you joined in the YOP.

  11. Thanks, Ann. I'm enjoying the challenge - and good or bad, there it is, in ink and watercolour :)
    I hope it encourages others xx

  12. Lovely, Pat. The house colors are beautiful, and I do enjoy reading your thoughts on the painting development.

  13. Beautiful painting, good effects of crooked house! Arianna

  14. There is a quirky charm to this painting. It's very illustrative. Marvelous! :0)

  15. Pat, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your process. The houses look most believable! I like your colors and your shadows. Really well done as always!

  16. Thanks, Kathryn, glad you enjoyed the process as well as the painting! xx

    Thanks, Arianna xx

    Thank you Sandra - it does have a quirky feel to it :) xx

    Thanks, Christiane. Nice to hear you enjoyed the process and you love the outcome xx

  17. I really enjoy this post . . . your process, how you approach a painting. I like the houses painting, by the way. Thanks for the visit and comment.

  18. Pat I like your work, challenge met.
    It's great to be critical to our work, this is how we move forward.
    I was thinking more on the walls of distortion tones to give that look very old. What do you think?
    A big hug

  19. Thanks, Rick. xx

    Nil, I think you're absolutely right. the walls look too clean, I should have some different darker tones to make it look old and grubby!
    Thank you xx

  20. I love these technique posts. It looks really hard to make the plaster peal like that.

    It is interesting to read what the others comment.

    I, of course, love the painting!


Related Posts with Thumbnails