The stunning architectures of the city of Oxford have inspired many before me. I was not surprised to find myself wanting to paint the iconic buildings of the city for a new bookmark. Bookmarks are small, therefore great for playing with colours and techniques. This is my approach to painting a bookmark depicting the skyline of this dreamlike city.
I was not too fastidious with the sketch itself; I wanted to get started painting quickly. The piece was going to be mostly monochromatic. I started by making a value drawing in pencil. The lightest buildings are the farthest out and the darkest ones are the closest to the viewer. Once that was done, I started selecting my paints.
For the sky I started with a warm yellow and then tested three blues against that on scrap paper. Since I was painting a late afternoon as opposed to an early evening scene, I chose the warmest of the blue tones.
Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold is one of my favourites, if not my most favourite. I knew from the very beginning that the buildings were going to be painted in this colour. The closest and therefore darkest buildings got more layers of paint to make them darker than those in the middle or further away. I had to let the each layer dry in between. That, I don’t mind telling you, really tests my patience.
Once I was happy with all the background shades, I added a hint of red to the closest buildings to make them even warmer than the rest. I thought it would be nice to add a few suggestive details to the buildings as well.
Before this painting, I wrote down the paint combinations I used for certain paintings on little pieces of paper, but I could never find them afterwards. I decided to keep a log book starting with this painting, noting down the paints for each one.
I painted the bookmark using watercolour. I would also love to paint a larger and a bit more detailed version of this scene in oil one day.
The bookmark is now residing in between the pages of my current book. Happy Reading!
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