Sunday, November 16, 2014

Making of Sultan Ahmad Watercolor Painting

This article describes how I made this color painting of Sultan Ahmad's mosque, aka The Blue Mosque. I was always fascinated by this mosque. Its grand structure is just imposing, and its six minarets scrape the Istanbul sky like penetrating rockets and its bluish tint, domes and various details just blow me away. First I looked for a good picture of the magnificent building. I found several, and I picked these two to construct my painting. Obviously the pictures needed to be scaled to make a large enough drawing suitable for framing. So I decided to scale the drawing by 4.1:1 and I accomplished this by drawing squares on the original small picture and the corresponding larger squares in my drawing.
You can see the squares drawn with a pencil in the first picture. Next I started copying each square from the original picture to the drawing paper one by one. I used one of the pictures to do that and the other one helped me look at more details whenever I was in doubt because the second picture was kind of zoomed in and showed more detail. Once I made the drawing in pencil, then it was time to start defining the main features with a thin brush as seen in the next picture. At this point I also erased the pencil traces of the squares. Attention had to be paid for the minaret pointy shapes and the domes because these are the macro features of the imposing structure and are the most important.
Then I started to paint with a wider brush the main body of the building further defining the sides and corners that make up the complete picture. The third picture to the right shows that stage. Now the building is starting to take its shape but there was still a lot of detail that needed to be taken care of to get it to its final form as shown in the fourth and last picture to the right. I had to use different shades of colors to define shades and give that three dimensional look for each nook and cranny. Of course the most important task lies in the details which take the longest part of finishing the painting. One should not rush to finish, but take your time to work on the details because that is the difference between a nice painting and a mediocre one.
I also had to work out the sky and its shades and clouds, as well as the trees and green shrubs that make up the lower part of the picture. I had to use different shades of green for the plants, and different shades of blue, white and red for the sky. The result is as you see in the fourth picture to the right. I found a suitable frame earlier that was not that expensive and I framed the picture as you see. So it is not that difficult. It just requires interest and determination and plenty of patience, but in the end the outcome is rewarding and worth the effort when you see it hanging in your favorite place to look at and admire. Enjoy.