My watercolor painting of the day: “Ponte Vecchio”

Ponte Vecchio

“Ponte Vecchio” in Florence, Italy 22” x 16” on Arches not (cold press) 140# paper. This is a bridge over the Arno River built in 1345 for the Medici family. I photographed this in the early morning with clear reflections in the smooth river surface before continuing on my cycling tour of Tuscany. I used a sketch 11” x 14” to start my 16” x 22” watercolor. A few hours of work sketching and study to see if I can capture this moment in watercolor pigments. I have about 6 paintings of this bridge to do in this series. While a photograph is good, a watercolor has more emotion and I have the opportunity to interpret what I saw and experienced so that you can get a glimpse into my mind and artist’s eye.

This was a difficult subject with lots of detail and complex water reflections. But it is exactly those water reflections that provided the unique view. The morning sun brought great contrast and color intensity that was washed out as the sun angle rose during the day.

This series of photographs shows the development of the watercolor. Watercolor is painted “backwards” from what you would expect. Unlike opaque mediums, like oil paint, watercolor is a transparent medium. “Mistakes” are hard to hide, so they need to be turned into features by the cleaver work of the artist. Come and visit my gallery and I can show you how I turned watercolor disaster into a delight! The light goes through the pigment to the paper surface, and bounces back with light waves colored by the watercolor pigments. It is this transparency that gives watercolors it unique quality. But it also requires that the pigments be transparent and not muddy.


I hope you enjoy viewing this watercolor as much as I did painting it this week.

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