Art / Design / Drawing / Painting


I have been working on the Amsterdam canal painting a bit more. It really needed more depth, because the boats seemed to be hovering and the trees looked very fake. I have tried to mix some darker colours and mostly succeeded.

When experimenting with mixing colours I found out something interesting. You may already know this, but you can make darker colours by adding three “corner” colours from the triad. For example, you can make a dark colour by combining red, yellow, and blue, but also by combining purple, orange, and green (or cyan, yellow, and magenta). The resulting colour depends on how warm or cool the tones of the ingredients are, and can be a brownish or a greyish colour. If you then add a bit more of the colour you want to darken, you have made a darker tint!

Mixing darker colours with watercolour paint in pans is a bit of a pain, though. You can only lift a small amount of paint form the pan at a time, so if you want to make a bit more, you have to be very patient. Or you can try to repeat the process (but the resulting colour will be slightly different because you can’t control the amounts precisely). So I guess that that’s an advantage of working with tubes of paint.

Anyway, back to the painting. This is how I left it yesterday:

Amsterdam Canal (22,9 x cm Fabriano hot press paper)
Amsterdam Canal (22,9 x 30,5 cm Fabriano hot press paper)

As you can see, the water has lots of colours in it, but not many values of them. The trees are a bit weird, they’re like green cotton candy (which is not necessarily a bad thing). The boats don’t seem heavy enough to just lie on the water, perhaps if they would pull up their anchors, they would even hover away…

Amsterdam Canal (22,9 x cm Fabriano hot press paper)
Amsterdam Canal (22,9 x 30,5 cm Fabriano hot press paper)

This is what I did today. The boats seem more substantial, and the painting has more balance because there is more darkness at the bottom. The trees have more structure in their leaves (but still not very realistic) and the water has more depth. I have strengthened the colours of the buildings in the distance a bit.

I still didn’t paint anything behind the trees (there are of course bicycles and cars and houses there in the real Amsterdam), but maybe I won’t. I have also messed up the bottoms of the trees on the left side. I may try and fix that still once it is dry. But for the rest I think I will just see this as a practice painting that does not need to be entirely finished. Perhaps in a few days/weeks I may have a great idea to finish it anyway, but just continuing painting because I think I should is not a good idea, I think.

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