I painted this watercolor of Neptune Fountain on-site, in Madrid, in the hot summer heat of August. Here is a picture of the outcome.
The day before starting this watercolor, I looked for a shady place with a view of Neptune Fountain. For me, making a painting requires standing or sitting in the same place for many hours. I need to be careful with the heat. If you have been to Madrid in the summer, you know exactly what I mean.
Looking around for the perfect spot, I found it next to the bus shelter. There was just enough shade for one person and that person was me. I had a view of Neptune Fountain with lots of trees in the background. The yellow flowers circling the pond add to the summery scene, all sunny and upbeat.
I wanted to finish the watercolor in the same day, but the light started to change so I left and came back the following day. Neptune Fountain was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) on July 25th, 2021. This world heritage collection is called Paisaje de la Luz (Landscape of Light). Painting Neptune Fountain was an awesome experience.
The leaves on the trees are a light luminous green color in autumn. This light reaches out to infinity on the horizon. It’s pretty cold, but a coat, gloves, and hat will do the trick to be almost warm.
I like the benches on this path. You can’t see them because my body is blocking them, but that’s alright because you can see them in the watercolor below.
I have to laugh because I remember telling myself to paint the benches off to the side, not in the middle. I guess the benches wanted to be in the middle of the paper regardless.
I think the element of surprise is what I like about art making.
An early cold morning is a good time to paint in the park.
I went to the plaza de Marmol because I was there the day before. The previous day, this beautiful little plaza was full of bright red geraniums. When I got there the next day, the gardeners had pulled all the flowers and I had a completely different scene to paint.
Although I was really looking forward to painting this fountain with red flowers, I decided that the Retiro Park gardeners would be fun to paint. While I was painting, it started drizzling more and more. I hurriedly finished the watercolor with pen and ink and decided I would come back another day.
Capricho park in Madrid is a gorgeous historic park. I signed up for this fast-painting competition because I like to paint in the parks here in Madrid and this one is fabulous.
I set up in front of a fountain. Painting fountains are my favorite subject matter in the park. I like to hear the water trickling and try to capture the look of it as it falls. The water sparkles and glitters as it falls and this is what I like. Here is a picture of the fountain. It’s a simple, yet beautiful fountain.
The photograph doesn’t even come close to the stunning variety of green colors.
The painting competition was from 9 to 2. Usually, I can never finish a painting in such a short time. I tried really hard to finish this time or a least to make it look finished. Below is a photo of my painting.
I turned in the painting on time and although I didn’t win any prizes, I am happy to say that my painting was selected for the exhibition.
I was number 40.
Here it is hanging on the wall at Cultural Center Gloria Fuertes in Madrid. It will be hanging there until the 25th of November 2022.
Here is a little clip so you can see the ambiance of the Capricho Park Fast Painting Competition.
For me, remembering everything about the human figure isn’t like riding a bicycle. I felt a bit of ‘people in perspective rustiness’, so I picked up an Andrew Loomis book and started to study ‘Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth’. Yup, that’s the name of the book. If I could go back in time and tell my younger self what to study to improve my art skills, I would tell myself to study the book I just mentioned by Andrew Loomis. I recently discovered it and I am going to share a little drawing I made of the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Spain.
This is one of my favorite small watercolors. It is my favorite because I had a fun time while I was drawing and painting it. It was right after the crazy snowfall we had here in Madrid. It was freezing cold outside and hardly anyone was outside because of the Pandemic. I was sitting in a cafe on the rooftop of Callao with my one and only art student who was brave enough to go out once a week and paint Madrid with me. I think this kept us sane in an insane time of confinement and uncertainty. I remember our conversation that day as if it were yesterday. That is what is so special about painting the moment. Watercolor is like a long photograph and you remember everything.
I have a little clip of the moment when I finished the painting. You can see it if you click here.