New Painting – Part 1

After learning so much from painting Canton Bazaar last spring, I decided to do another painting from our trip to Chinatown, in San Francisco. Here is the original photo. The photo was taken at the corner of Sacramento Street and Grant Avenue. The building in the photo housed the famous Kan’s Restaurant, which opened in the 1930s, although sadly closed in 2014.


The first thing I did was to sketch out a drawing and crop the photo. The angle looking upward to the lamppost is what attracted me to the scene, so I needed to accentuate the feeling of looking upwards. I then transferred my sketch and masked out the divide between the sky and building.


Next, I attempted to apply a nice and clean, gradated wash to the sky… and failed. Creating a smooth wash over a large area might seem like the easiest thing to do with watercolors, but it’s not. My result was a streaky mess. I painted it again and again trying different techniques and layers. Here you can see my first disastrous attempts.


Finally I redrew the entire sketch, masked it, and painted a couple layers of wash for the sky. It was not perfect and I ended up using a crosshatching technique to get an even wash, but I was happy enough with it to continue with the painting.


I removed the masking and painted in the objects farthest away from the foreground, meaning the recessed windows.


I concentrated on the windows for a while, building up several layers of paint until they were nearly finished.


I then proceeded to paint in the building color and major architectural details. The building has two washes, the first being a base color of gold and the second using various colors to show the wear and tear on the building,


To be continued…

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