I have never been good at drawing buildings, and when it comes to painting them, I’m even worse. I struggled with painting an old barn and let out a grateful sigh when it was finished. Later I tried an old mill using a reference photo from one of our grand-daughters. It was a disaster. I wiped it away and pretended it never existed.
That’s been the fate of most of my buildings. I try. I fail. I wipe them away. I try again. And again.
Linear perspective has always been difficult for me. I understand the basic principles, yet it’s still hard for me to apply them in drawing and painting. Over the summer, I’ve been dutifully studying, and I have a practice notebook filled with sketches of parellelepipeds, houses with roofs at various angles, windows, doors, chimneys, and more.
Drawing buildings is one thing. Painting them is another, and so my practice sessions each day also include a little time spent at my easel. As I talked about yesterday, I’ve had fun taking old paintings and adding practice elements to them. A lot of them now have little cabins or cottages tucked into the woods.
I’ve reached a point now where I think I am capable of painting simple little structures, so maybe my practice time is starting to pay off.
But what of bigger and more detailed buildings? What of street scenes and cityscapes?
I’m working on it, and I’m making progress.
Earlier this summer, I patiently drew a building on a canvas, taking care to be sure I had the perspective right. Now, little by little, I’m painting the various architectural elements. I was very pleased with the brickwork I painted, and the wooden door texture isn’t bad. I didn’t attempt any fancy windows, just painted one set in with a very basic design.
I don’t know if this particular building will ever be finished, and I’m not sure it was ever meant to be complete. It’s been a nice practice painting for me as I learn more about vanishing points, one- and two-point perspective, and other aspects of linear perspective.
Although I think of myself now as primarily a landscape artist, I do want to include buildings in my paintings, and from time to time, I want to do a city scape. Mostly, though, I want to paint a few of the beautiful old barns we have in the surrounding countryside.
I know it’s not going to be easy for me, and I still have a lot to learn. I will keep practicing each day, and I know eventually it will be a little easier. I’m really looking forward to that day!