Watercolour Painting of Polperro, Cornwall

"Summer Day" Polperro, Cornwall.
Watercolour. Alistair Butt © 2007.

 After the first wet wash, which was really just to establish the sky, some of that colour was brought down into areas that are either shadows or water (almost high tide at the time).

The next stage was to complete the background hill of trees with the occasional house before moving down into the distant buildings of the village of Polperro. The trees were painted in three or four layers. Each layer had varied colour mixes for each area, sometimes each tree. Along the lines of a wet against wet before allowing to that to dry and then the next darker areas were painted, again wet against wet. This continued until I had enough depth of tone in the shadows. Once completed and dried a wet wash was applied to soften all hard edges.

The buildings on the hill side needed to be painted separately but thankfully the colour of the roofs on most of the distant buildings was similar and therefore require minor colour changes. Details like windows, shadows, drain pipes were added and then like the hill side the buildings area was given a wet wash just to soften the edges and tie it in with the hill side.

Next stage involved painting the middle distant buildings, some of the boats along with some refection's. A good contrast between the buildings, on the left hand side and the distant hill of trees was essential to create depth and impact.

Starting on the left hand side and working across, the left hand group of buildings was painted individually. While doing this, areas for the boats mast, rigging etc were left unpainted. Each building was built up using a number of layers to achieve the correct colour, tone and texture beginning with the walls, then roof areas before adding details like windows, pipes etc. A unifying shadow wash was then applied to areas in cast shadow.

The buildings on the right hand side were much simpler to paint, again like the previous buildings, starting with the walls, then the roofs, almost all variations, warm or cool of one colour followed by the details, e.g. the windows.

Once the buildings were completed, the interesting and complicated, in terms of detail, boats below the buildings were completed. Here all the light coloured areas were painted first, using the relevant colour for each part or area, then repeating this technique for the mid and dark colours, blending and softening areas as required.

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