How would you paint this in watercolor?

Hi Forum! 

This picture and the whole city night landscapes are inspire me. I would like to paint it via watercolor and I don't know if it's possible to express the same look and feel by watercolor. The original picture (that is attached here) was painted in oil.

Any suggestion on how to paint this picture in watercolor?

Thank you for any help.


  • dencaldencal -
    edited February 2018

    Welcome to the Forum

    I think the best method may be to texturise the panel with an impasto gel. This should render the dimensional surface texture for the light flare and the brighter tree foliage. Using tube watercolour without water should give you the required intensity of hue.

    Aquapasto and Impasto Gel

    These are clear products that are mixed with tube paints to give it body and dimension. It is then painted on as normal and contrasts with the usually flat appearance of watercolor paint. 

    Aquapasto and impasto gel is very hard to remove once dried, so keep it away from your watercolor pans and wash your brushes immediately after they've been used.

  • Thanks Denis, I wouldn't think it was possible to get the effect with water colors.
  • Don't forget to use friskit to seal off any area that you want to be really light.
  • mariebmarieb -
    edited February 2018
    If you are using Watercolour you will need to use a heavy paper that will accept lots of water. If you paint on a panel without water, then you may as well use acrylic. Burnt umber snd ultramarine for darks and cadmium yellow and oranges for foliage as they are more opaque. Watercolour is best used when you want clean washes and glazes that allow the paper to provide luminance.
  • I've begun working with watercolor on hot press watercolor paper and absolutely love the hot press paper!

    What I love about it is the paints stay put on the paper when you lay them down. None of the smearing and running that watercolors are known for.  Makes it easy to control.

    You still need to start with light values and work up to the darks.  Also build up the darks to the degree you want in layers.  If you use tube paints, you can apply it pretty thickly, even to the point of getting impasto effects, put impasto will use up a lot of paint!  I like the idea of getting the impasto with gesso to save on paint.

    Give hot press paper a try.  My opinion is that it is perfect for this subject!

    Here's one I did while learning this technique based on a tape by Anna Mason.  She's almost as good a teacher as Mark is!

  • You might not be able to get the visual saturation with water color as you do with oils for this image, but it is definitely doable with water color.  With water color to me you almost work in reverse.  Its more of a reductive process rather than an additive process. In other words to get the light areas in oils you add them in with opaque paint.  Where as with oil you revealing the light areas by surrounding them with dark pigments. 
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