Monday, March 16, 2015

Glisan's Painted Ladies, NW Portland

I drive by these painted ladies several times a week, always thinking I should give them a go.  The complicated details and the colors were a challenge for me to do loosely and not too "architectural."   I wanted them to look like a watercolor, not a building drawing.

I stationed myself across the street.  I started with guidelines in pencil, and let go of a
two point perspective and let it be as if all the buildings were eye level as they go back.
If you enlarge the drawing you can see that I drew quite a few guidelines before
I began inking.  I was concerned primarily with giving a place for the details of the
houses to sit, and this lack of paying attention got me into a bit of trouble, below.  

I admit I assumed that all the houses were the same except in color.  A LESSON IN LOOKING.  They are of two flipped designs, which I saw clearly as I began drawing details but too late.  

Another surprise which I caught while drawing the details was the bannister posts.  Due to the sun and shadows at first they appeared to be turned posts, which I noted.  However, as I was drawing the first corners with the columns behind the angled bannister, I noticed that the posts may have been replaced, as they were not turned.  Then as I went a bit further I noticed they appeared board-flat on all the corners.  I walked over to look closely.  What appeared turned posts from afar were actually posts cut on one side only to give the illusion of turned posts, below -- a cost-saving measure, I am sure.

I mostly inked on site, then added watercolor in the studio.  I had to mix many colors.  I've been asked about adding watercolors to a good drawing and "ruining" it -- but this is my interest.  I can draw in several styles, and from any perspective: worm's eye, bird's eye, exploding axonometrics, you name it!  I was the go-to girl in the office for complicated inked drawings!  However, I am interested in learning watercolors, and so I do "ruin" the occasional drawing.  This one is a bit blotchy, and as I am finding styles and trying not to paint like a coloring book.  I choose when to let white paper show, and in both of these cases I was not always spot on.  I have learned not to try to go back in and correct -- I'll do this again sometime soon!  I am mostly happy with the outcome.

Drawn in an Strathmore Mixed Media journal with Pentalic HB woodless pencil, Platinum Carbon pens and Daniel Smith, Holbein and Sennelier watercolors.


  1. I've thought about sketching those houses lots of times but never attempted. Now, when I do, I'll keep in mind all those discoveries you made. You've clearly shown that drawing something reveals a lot of unnoticed details. This is an interesting post and a good capture of that well-known block.

  2. I go by there all the time too! That is beautiful. I hope to meet you sometime and see your sketches in person.

  3. Thanks Vicky and Andrea -- I want to give it a go again!