Quick City Landscape Sketch With Watercolor

Quick City Landscape Sketch With Watercolor

Cadiz, Spain. 

This is the scene that I painted in a sidewalk cafe in Cadiz. I didn't have much time, so I didn't spend it on the sketch. Despite the abundance of objects, my attention was stuck only on the sunlit dome and the palm trees. These two objects will give us the feeling of a sunny coastal city.

I tried to reproduce my sketchbook drawing step by step to show you how I work with a time limit.

1. We draw a quick, rough sketch. While doing this, position the block or paper at a 30 degree angle. 

2. Paint the sky with a mixture of cobalt and cerulean on dry paper. Carefully outline the tower. You can safely paint over the palm trees. The palm tree will be darker, and therefore we can brush over it with the blue color.

3. Take the medium-sized calligraphy brush and a mixture of aulerin and cobalt blue and paint the palm leaves with light sweeping movements. Go over them again with darker green in some places. Mix ultramarine and cobalt blue for this. Reduce the intensity of burnt sienna by painting the palm trunk with purple. Do not try to draw the outline of the trunk perfectly. It's okay if the lines are broken when you paint.

4. Fill the tower with a mixture of burnt sienna and naples yellow and natural sienna. Add some ultramarine to the shadow part. It is important to have a drop of water at the bottom, it is a kind of insurance against hard transitions from one color to another. In the background I drew light outlines of buildings with ultramarine and burnt sienna hints of trees in dark greens. On the foreground I sketched the umbrellas of the city cafe in red. I will not copy them exactly - but sketch them only in the form of patches of color.

5. The next step is to paint all the shadows. For the shadows we use violet, burnt sienna and ultramarine. We fill the shadows at once, trying to apply the fill with large spots rather than highlighting individual architectural elements.

6. We draw some architectural elements with a semi-dry brush. Use the same color we used for the shadows, but just a little darker. The more jagged and bold your brush strokes are at this stage, the better. Don't forget the trunk of the palm tree, go around its shaded part with a semi-dry brush. Ultramarine with cobalt blue goes well for this.

7. Now it's time for light accents. Since I didn't use masking fluid and worked very quickly, I painted over the light in a few places. I mixed some natural sienna with white, and went over the light areas with a thin synthetic brush. 

8. Then I mixed lemon yellow and added some sparkle to the palm leaves. Oh, and birds. Where would we go without them? Sometimes I find it very hard to stop because I want to draw more details. The time limit is good for loosening up. It took me no more than 25 minutes to do this one. 

Author: Rabi Alieva

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