Watercolor Sketch of Building in Gold Rush CountryEvery once in a while I like to paint a small, quick watercolor which is more like a sketch or study.  In this case the subject is an old stone building under renovation sitting on a hilly grassland in the Sierra Foothills.  It was something I saw across the roadway from our trailer spot just south of Angels Camp, California.  Something about it intrigued me–the structure was rough, definitely old, and in disrepair to say the least.  The metal roof and its supporting framing members were missing, and there was a heavy timber scaffold out front to aid in the renovation.  It was an opportunity to show a stark, brutal historic structure in its bare-bones state, with its roof collapsed, and some of its stone eroded and missing–but nonetheless on its way back to better times.  The window openings were black as coal, and the shadows very strong in the mid-morning sunlight.  As a painting, there were basically three components–the structure, the field, and the fence….The shadows would define the spatial relationship between all three.  There was an abstract nature to the setting, because the hilly grassland was homogeneous and without much definition, due to the young, vibrant growth of the early spring grasses.  I painted that first, then the structure, then the fence.  Tried to keep it simple and true to its initial impression when I originally spotted this house on the hill.  There’s a simple flatness to the overall composition, and to each area of the painting–very minimal differentiation within the grassy field, or the stone walls, just enough to describe the material and convey some human scale to the image.  The original is 5″ x 8″ on watercolor paper and took about an hour and a half start to finish.  This artwork is hand-drawn and painted in the watercolor technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustrator.  Jeffrey lives in Chico, and creates many architectural illustrations for projects located in northern California and the San Francisco bay area.