It seems strange I guess, five months traveling through the bush, and I’m back in the studio absorbed in Urban landscapes. Maybe I miss all  that noise traffic and chaos.

This painting was built up in layers of watercolor and gouache then worked over with thin glazes of gesso. Lots of calligraphic charcoal and pastel pencil marks were then threaded across the surface similar to graffiti on a wall.

Transparent washes of Alizarin Crimson and Quinacridone Gold contrast with the Phthalo Blue foreground glazes and Phthalo tinted White Gouache sky. The brick shaped fine detail was applied with Burnt Sienna tinted White Gouache

A compressed industrial grey color scheme and formal, geometric marks suggest the urban subject rather than accurately describing it in these two paintings.

I find that reducing a painting to the simplest elements and barely suggesting the subject can have a lot more impact. The viewer is engaged on a far deeper level and in a more subliminal way than when details are clearly presented.

8 thoughts on “URBAN WATERCOLORS

  1. If all cities were so colorful there’d be more joy in living in them. Or perhaps we simply need to change our perception of life in the city. Portland is more like the last 2 paintings… grey and foggy and wet… and green.

    • Hi Jo,
      We missed Portland when we were in Oregon last year. 2011 we will be doing another workshop with Art in the Mountains, so this time we will head up to Portland – try and find some colorful bits. Not that I mind that heavy grey look of steel and concrete. It really makes the little patches of color come to life.

    • Thanks Nina,
      Glad you like the paintings and photos. I just spent an hour looking through your blog – fantastic. I love the Aspudden public bath – part II. You can feel the echo in the room. Love the way you have put the water drips on the tiles too, Great

  2. Hi John,
    I just received a flyer for Art in the Mountains and looked up your web site. I find your work very inspiring: it is loose, fun, abstract and very expressive. I enjoyed your trip blog – that would make a nice book (other than your blurb book that it). I appreciate all of the pointers and lessons on your site as well. You have given me renewed energy. I love your work! Many thanks!!!

    • Hi Joseph,
      Thanks for your comments and glad you are enjoying my website.
      Looking forward to the workshop in Oregon this June.

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