Color Architectural Renderings in Twilight

Architectural Renderings that portray twilight lighting are both fun to do, and challenging….The stock in trade of most architectural renderings are the strong shades and shadows that are created by sunlight from above….At twilight, the sun-if it’s present at all-is near or below the horizon, which limits its effect on architectural forms…..Color Architectural Renderings in TwilightColor Architectural Renderings in TwilightColor Architectural Renderings in TwilightAnd what takes its place are the other light sources, such as backlighting, interior lighting, lampposts, signage-all kinds of secondary forms of light that begin to give form to the subject building….As an illustrator, this can actually be somewhat liberating because you’re no longer confined to the very predictable effects of sunlight on the building….You can think and act more like a photographer, placing the light where you want it, to accentuate certain elements or features of the architecture and surroundings….For example with a daylight rendering of a building, you may want to draw attention to the entrance, and the best way to do that would be to use the darkest values and the greatest contrast in that area-so it pops and becomes a focus….In a twilight or night view the main building might be fairly dark and monotone, but you will reserve the brightest and maybe the most colorful hues for your treatment of the entry, so the eye goes there first….Another example of how daylight and twilight renderings differ would be this….When drawing a daylight rendering, the illustrator often chooses to light one side of the building with sunlight, leaving the other side as the dark side….Once you’ve made that decision as the artist, it’s difficult to say too much of anything about the dark side or any special feature it may have….Great for playing up the sunlit side, not so good for the darker side….When creating a twilight view of a building, you can always take the liberty of casting light from other sources anywhere you may want them, in order to create focus on specific details you choose…..Enjoy these twilight renderings I have drawn or painted recently for my architectural clients !

Watercolor Painting of Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Here’s a watercolor I just finished….It’s my rendition of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.  Built in the 1949 it is the quintessential glass box–architecture pared down to its simplest modern essence.  A metal and glass rectangle–the only privacy concession is a circular brick element within which houses a bathroom.  Watercolor Painting of Philip Johnson's Glass HousePretty crazy stuff–but I love it !  Imagine living there with the trees, grass and nature on full display just outside the glass–the peaceful nature always right there seemingly at arm’s length !  There’s something both shocking and inspiring about this pure and simple structure.  You can hear people say:  “I couldn’t live in that fishbowl !”  “Natural light and lots of glass–I love that part, but totally impractical to live in”….Why not ?  I guess that’s the architect and purist in me–I don’t see a big problem.  I love it, and I could imagine myself being very happy living there….This is one of my favorite works of art….It’s one of a dozen or so architectural works that are most inspiring to me–and were very formative in my early passions for architecture….The watercolor painting was fun to do also….it’s a simple palette: Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine, Burnt Siena, and Black….That’s it !  I chose to backlight the house because it shows off the transparency and the oneness with nature.  Dappled light from the surrounding trees and s few white highlights here and there to accentuate the geometric clarity of the metal-framed box.  The glass has some transparent and some reflective qualities, but is largely neutral.  Kind of a meditative mood about it–it’s a peaceful and quiet architectural thought put into reality by the architect.  I’m not a huge Philip Johnson fan, but with this particular house, I think he nailed it….for me, the best work he ever did….Thanks for reading this–and for enjoying the watercolor !

Color Renderings of Cottages and Small Houses

Of the subjects that I love to draw, small houses and cottages are right up there at the top….They can be charming–architecturally and in all other ways….Small, unpretentious, but with personality and style would describe most….Color Rendering of Small House or CottageThese illustrations shown here were all commissioned by good clients of mine, mostly architects, but also by owners and developers….The design of the homes is almost always provided to me in for form of plans and elevations….I take that information and translate it into a 3D perspective view like you see here….The colors and materials are usually given to me as well, but occasionally I am given artistic license with those decisions….Paint and color can be a critical factor in the overall success of each image….and usually these images are marketing tools, so this makes color even more important….I believe these cottage designs benefit from a strong color scheme–bright colors, contrasting trim colors, landscaping to soften, materials that are comforting and accessible, details that provide interest without being elaborate….Craftsman Style is a popular choice among most people….it seems to capture a good architectural vibe, and has a familiar feel for most West Coast homeowners….My understanding is that the Craftsman aesthetic has its origins in the early 20th Century with the design work of Bernard Maybeck of the Berkeley, California area, and to a certain extent, the early work of Frank Lloyd Wright in the Midwest….One hundred years later, its popularity remains strong….I think part of its appeal is that it is straightforward and simple, but retains an element of style–modest, but with a little something special about it….Front porches are an important element, because they invite entry, and promote social interaction….Roof slopes are not steep, but nearly flat, since they are not in a snowy area–enough slope to shed the rain is sufficient….The great majority of the renderings shown here were commissioned by Carol Young of Auburn, California for her project Rincon del Rio….Since I enjoy drawing these homes and cottages so much, you should consider commissioning me to draw some of your designs….Color Rendering of Small House or CottageColor Rendering of Small House or CottageColor Rendering of Small House or Cottage

Color Renderings for San Jose Architectural Firm

Today I am featuring some of the many renderings I have done in recent years for VTBS Architects located in San Jose, California….Most of these architectural projects are in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, with the occasional Sacramento project location….Color Rendering for VTBS Architect in San Jose CaliforniaWorking in the techniques of watercolor or color pencil alternatively, these illustrations usually show large residential structures designed by VTBS staff….I always work with Jim Yee, an architect who has many years of expertise in the design field….I first met Jim over 30 years ago in the San Jose area, and we have been working together on a freelance basis ever since that time….He has an appreciation for the effectiveness of hand-drawn illustrations when presenting architecture….Jim has a way of allowing his consultants the freedom of autonomy, but offers input at the right time and in the right way, which benefits the process and enhances the rendering’s effectiveness ultimately….You have to be able to “do your own thing” as a freelance artist, but you also need reviews and approvals during the process at various stages by the architect….That way, the architect gets what they need as a presentation tool, and the artist is pretty much free to express the qualities of sunlight, liveliness, color, texture and materials that make a successful rendering….Shadow lines, dark recessed areas, lighter sunlit faces, canopies and awnings, base materials, glass reflective qualities, and even details like score lines and joint lines are all important to include in an illustration….These are the elements and considerations that an architect spends a lot of time and effort to include….and they need to be conveyed effectively in the rendering to truly communicate all the work that the architect has done….I’ve learned the importance of these graphic communications over the years of creating architectural illustrations–actually I began learning their importance at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo when I was receiving my degree in Architecture many years ago….I feel like we speak the same language–architects and illustrators–we just do different things during the course of our work day to day….Color Rendering for VTBS Architect in San Jose CaliforniaColor Rendering for VTBS Architect in San Jose CaliforniaColor Rendering for VTBS Architect in San Jose CaliforniaColor Rendering for VTBS Architect in San Jose CaliforniaColor Rendering for VTBS Architect in San Jose California

Color Perspective Renderings for San Francisco Architectural Projects

Aaaah–San Francisco….Home Sweet Home !  Such a wonderful place with such natural beauty !  Today I’m going to feature many of the illustrations I have done in recent years of architectural projects in and around San Francisco, California….Color Perspective Renderings for San Francisco Architectural ProjectsIn fact all of these renderings were commissioned by one architectural firm located in San Francisco, Van Meter Williams Pollack LLP….Usually working directly with Rick Williams, one the principals of the firm, I have actually worked with Tim Van Meter and Fred Pollack, the other two principals….Van Meter runs the VMWP office in Denver, Colorado, which I visited in 2014….Their architectural work is mostly of an urban nature, from single-story to multi-story residential, located either in the urban centers, or occasionally outside in more suburban locations…..VMWP partners with affordable housing organizations to create residential projects that provide much-needed housing for low-income families and seniors with home insecurity….Sometimes the purpose of these drawings is to communicate the design to the client, and other times their purpose is to show the governing authority (City, County, etc.) the aspects of the design that may not be adequately expressed by the plans and elevations that the architect provides….One of the great attributes of perspective renderings is that they engage the viewer on a much more basic level….This is primarily because perspective views are a lot like the actual experience someone has when looking at architecture….most often you see a building from the sidewalk, or from across the street, or while driving your car or bicycle….Although plans and elevations are great tools for the architect to generate, they are not very useful or inspiring for the client or the public….The next time you are presenting a project, you should think about arriving with some colorful perspective illustrations that will bring out the “ooohs and aaahs” from the crowd….and get them excited about all the hard work you’ve put into your design !Architectural Renderings for San Francisco ProjectsArchitectural Renderings for San Francisco ProjectsColor Perspective Renderings for San Francisco Architectural ProjectsColor Perspective Renderings for San Francisco Architectural Projects

Architectural Renderings for California Central Valley

Within the last year or two I have had the opportunity to work on several architectural projects located in the Central Valley of California.  I am featuring these renderings in this episode of my blog.  They involve the California communities of Visalia, Bakersfield, and Sanger (Fresno area).  The first rendering shown here is an exterior view of a new commercial building located in the Sanger downtown area on a major street.  Architectural Rendering of Central Valley Project in CaliforniaI was commissioned by the architect, Frank Areyano.  Frank’s concept was to create a modern facility that would fit in with the older, traditional streetscape of Sanger–such as the existing building shown on the right in the rendering.  The second project shown here is a homeless community proposed for Visalia, California.  Envisioned by an organization called Salt & Light, this housing facility was designed with the help of Self-Help Enterprises of Visalia, California.  As shown here, I created two perspective views of the design–one indicating the Central Park area, a common area within the facility for open space and recreation, and another view of the Memorial Garden within the facility, which would honor those in the community who had passed away.  The project would be made up of manufactured residential structures that could be transported to the site more or less intact, and permanently installed along interior roads within the complex.  The third project for which I did illustrations was also addressing the homeless population.  Located in an industrial part of Bakersfield, the site would provide temporary housing and support services for people in the area experiencing homelessness.  I was commissioned by Bruce E. Keith, Architect of Bakersfield, California who was working with members of an organization involved with helping to solve the homeless situation in the Bakersfield area.  As mentioned in the beginning of this article, I, Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustrator, have welcomed the opportunity to be involved in these projects for the benefit of the Central Valley communities of California.

Watercolor Sketch of Future Architectural Towers

Watercolor Sketch of Future Architectural TowersHere is a sketch I did this afternoon just for fun….kind of an architectural fantasy of sorts….mostly done subconsciously….I forced myself to draw and paint without any preconceptions on this one….basically just start drawing and see what becomes of it….it’s small–at 5″ x 8″ on a watercolor tablet….two hours start to finish….keep moving–don’t think–just paint….force yourself to start without a plan, then make all decisions on the fly–implementing them immediately, without evaluation or second-guessing….colors, shapes, composition–all instantaneous decisions….keep a dry paper towel handy modify the live work in front of you….graphite sketch first with some texture, some darker tones to get the composition somewhat set (most of this is painted over although some shows through in the end)….Limited palette, using just orange, violet, pthallo green, manganese, and black….Architecturally, these are towers linked together–sort of “It Takes A Village” in architectural terms…..Structurally, the difficulty of building tall buildings is keeping them strong and upright and stable….but if they have help from others through buttressing and triangulation, they can get much stronger–so the towers work together to create a structural network–a network that could also provide a means of circulation–going from one tower to the next….Another thought expressed here in this painting–and I believe it to be futuristic–that future existence and urbanization will be more concentrated and focused, with less urban sprawl….Think of it as a smaller footprint on the earth….We leave much more of the land untouched by going vertical with towers springing from a very small footprint….and we need to travel or commute less, because everything is right where we live….Idealistic ?  Yes !  Unrealistic ?  I don’t know–it could happen….It’s more of a rough concept–like a goal to strive for, maybe….I can’t help but think it would be better than the mindless sprawl we have now, which only seems to stop if we run out of physical space to ruin….Like all great things, it will take people working together toward a common goal….



`Interior Watercolor Illustrations of Lakewold Gardens Renovations

Here are a couple of watercolor illustrations I did very recently for a place called Lakewold Gardens near Tacoma, Washington.  I worked with the Architect Gerald Eysaman in developing the views shown here.  He was the interface between me and the Friends of Lakewold, which had commissioned the drawings.  With a lot of inside “sprucing up” and many other technical issues to address with this renovation, Gerald took the reins in figuring out the architectural design and also building a rough Sketchup model to work from on the perspectives.  It’s a historical carriage house on a gorgeous property called Lakewold Gardens which contains much bucolic scenery with many native trees and plants in coastal Washington.  `Interior Watercolor Illustrations of Lakewold Gardens RenovationsThe first view shows  the downstairs converted garage space with sliding doors to the outside.  Added ceiling lighting and ceiling fans and wall sconces make the space more functional as a flex space, able to stage flower arranging classes or gardening talks, or the like.  I suggested showing an evening flower arranging class on a crisp autumn eve–warm inside, but open to the great natural beauty outside the carriage doors.  Work tables and chairs, a flower sink, art gallery wall on left, and restored cubbies on the back wall for display items and storing of supplies, garden tools, personal effects, etc…..People having a good time exploring their creativity and creating, talking….The second view we show is a much smaller, intimate space on the second floor that would be suitable for small groups gathering to hear from an author, or listen to an entomologist present, or maybe a poetry reading….The space is modest, but could be quite charming with natural cedar siding perhaps–an older wood floor sanded and finished…..A few exposed wood beams, ceiling fam, some new lighting, and again cubbies for books and personal effects storage….A large picture window is centered on the back wall with an LED screen to support presentations if desired….We wanted to show a diverse group of attendees involved in an intimate setting–in this case, maybe a butterfly specialist and discussion….I hope you enjoyed these renderings–they are fun to create and I enjoy the work immensely !`Interior Watercolor Illustrations of Lakewold Gardens Renovations

Watercolor of Brewery Scene by Jeffrey Michael George

Watercolor of Brewery Scene by Jeffrey Michael GeorgeFascinated by the machinery and visual imagery of a working brewery, I created this watercolor sketch….Keeping the color palette subtle and somewhat somber, I tried to capture a simple impression of the worker experience returning to the warehouse from break time….It’s part homage to the cold hard brewery itself and part homage to the hard-working folks that keep the machines and products rolling….They both work hard together toward a common goal–efficiency and production of their products….As for the elements in the painting, the large massing of a brewery consists of huge prismatic forms like cylinders, funnels, tubes, pipes, and rectangular buildings for the most part….Heavily determined by their function, the elements are largely unadorned and utilitarian….This painting is a rendering of sorts–instead of depicting a new building underway, this rendering shows an existing building and environment–not literally, but figuratively….And since I generally illustrate buildings yet to be constructed (with architects as my clients) it’s refreshing to draw and paint something different–more whimsical and imaginary, less defined and exact….As a watercolorist, I’m learning….lately trying to keep the shapes and strokes fresh, simple, and unencumbered….you have to fight yourself sometimes with that….sometimes deciding not to do more–to let it be….let it dry, and see what transpired with the medium….it can be a fascinating experience….and it gets more rewarding when you have done enough watercolor to predict the general outcome when you “let it go”….and, of course, you never really know, but there’s an excitement in that as well….I think watercolor as a medium is unique in that it’s almost like you are partners with the paint….You both contribute to the painting–the painter is leading the dance, but the paint itself is a silent partner that follows–one that adds tis own influence and nuance to the final artwork….

Color Architectural Illustrations for Oakland, California Project

The feature of this blog is a series of four color illustrations I did for an architect in 2020.  Rick Williams is the architect and his San Francisco architectural firm is Van Meter Williams Pollack LLC.  The project is a re-thinking of key areas of an existing college campus , Mills College, in Oakland, California.  These renderings are conceptual in nature–and the content was derived mostly by Rick from his vision to enliven and update various spots in and around the campus. Color Rendering of Mills College ImprovementsColor Rendering of Mills College ImprovementsI do not have significant input here, but occasionally I contribute a bit to the ideas and images–especially if asked to do so.  Rick is particularly good at surveying the needs of a facility after touring the existing conditions.  And these images are basically the result of what Rick believes to be the most important improvements the College could make.   On the aesthetic look of these renderings, however, I do have a lot of input.  I usually offer color pencil or watercolor as the techniques to choose.  The architect and I usually are in agreement on which “look” is best for a particular project.  Color pencil was the right choice for this project, and pretty loose in character.  We just wanted to show an indication of scale and architectural style, without getting into too much detail because the details are not important at this point.  The first rendering shows a modernist straight-line design with flat roofs, white stucco, and horizontal wood siding accents.  The second rendering shows a contemporary farmhouse sensibility for the Growers Market and housing.  The third rendering takes its architectural clue from the existing campus gate and more historical, Early California feel.  The fourth rendering has emphasis on the “neighborhood feel” of the single-family houses for the faculty–and there are vaColor Rendering of Mills College ImprovementsColor Rendering of Mills College Improvementsrious styles shown therein.

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