Watercolor Rendering of Art Museum Designed by Jeffrey Michael George

Watercolor of Art MuseumThis is a watercolor rendering I painted in 2019.  It’s a conceptual illustration of an art museum that I designed for a hilltop site.  The forms were conceived originally with much inspiration from a Chevy Big Block engine.  Subsequently, a great deal of architectural thought was devoted to making the building work as a functioning art museum with all the requirements therein.  Basically, it’s a two-story structure with generous volumes and a great deal of interior light.  A post and beam building structure was integrated with the original massing to account for the structural means of support.  There is an internal spiral staircase that drops down below as an additional element of ingress and egress.  The three-story exterior staircase on the right is the main circulation element.  By going outside when you travel from one level to another, the art observer has a built-in opportunity to cleanse their palette on the way to looking at more artwork.  While the visitor is faced with a considerable trek to arrive at the museum via a rocky hillside, they are rewarded with  spectacular views once they do arrive at their destination.  Inspiration from two sources:  the artwork within, and the beautiful vistas of the surroundings.

As a rendering exercise, most of the bright and white areas of the painting were reserved for the subject–the building.  The surrounding sky and foreground landscape have mostly dark tones so that the building stands out.  I wanted to keep the interior of the museum looking light and warm, so there are no cool colors shown here throughout the interior space as you look through the glass.  Although this is a large painting for me, it was accomplished in a fairly short period of time, due to the many other illustrations I was working on at the same time.  About 8 to 10 hours from start to finish, for this 24 x 36 inch original.  As my college art instructor used to say “Use a big brush and work quickly”.

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Diary of a Rendering for Florida Community

In this installment of my blog I’d like to follow a rendering job from beginning to end, highlighting the process.  The subject for this rendering is an urban redevelopment district located in Florida.  I was given two things to start, the photo of the existing conditions, and a massing or block diagram of certain areas of the district that were proposed new construction, shown in purple.

As you can see there is nothing in the way of detail in the building blocks, so that is something I am asked to create.  The existing buildings we see in the aerial photo will need to be shown as they are, and the new buildings will need lots of help.  The architectural theme is kind of a mix of Spanish and Caribbean influences–and it’s pretty much up to me to develop a plausible representation.  This something you get better at with more experience, and I have done many projects where the architecture needs to be invented, so I’m comfortable with that.

So I drew a quick sketch overlay on white tracing paper of what the new buildings might look like.  I included lots of notes and questions for the planners (my client) so they could respond with what they wanted to see in the final version.  A phone conversation with the planners using this sketch overlay got me going onto the next step in the process–the final black and white tracing in freehand felt pen.  This black and white drawing is scanned and sent via email to the planners for approval and/or comments.  Using white-out or sometimes a small patch to the drawing, any changes can be done to the line drawing.  Then a clean copy of the black and white line drawing is made onto a heavy-duty copy paper, and it’s ready for color–in this case, watercolor.  After masking off the edges of the drawing, I begin applying watercolor–generally going from light values to darker as I go.  In this case, the colors of the buildings were left up to me, trying to stay with the Caribbean/Spanish theme for color and architecture.  Once I decide the watercolor is finished, I scan the original and send via email to my client.  There are usually no changes requested at this stage, but sometimes minor adjustments can be made, and then a new scan sent.


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