A draftsman in watercolor?

Watercolor of Venice by James Holland. Are the buildings inked in first? (Mario A. Pita)

My wife, Victoria, sent me a Facebook post by Mario A. Pita, a son of Cuban refugees who resides in Arlington, Va., and who enjoys posting artists’ work on their birthdays. The birthday of watercolorist James Holland (1799-1870) fell just as I was conceiving a series of posts on architectural drafting tools and their disappearance from the market, but so far I’m not sure any of my subjects until now (“Phiz” and “Antiquity Smith”) used drafting tools in their work. As for James Holland, the Englishman appears to have used drafting tools, but I remain unsure. Painting architecture is not the same as painting nature or humans. Either he used drafting tools to outline the buildings first, or he had good eye for a straight line and the virtuosity of a curve.

You can see, in these watercolors of Venice, the outlines of buildings that might have been drawn with the tools of the draftsman. Readers of greater knowledge of painting techniques will, I hope, reveal whether Holland drew with his eye or used tools to assist his eye, and then washed the scene with watercolors. In some of these the etchings seem to be more evident than in others as a base for the architecture. Look and enjoy! (Click to enlarge.)

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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1 Response to A draftsman in watercolor?

  1. Pingback: Angst and online drafting tools | Architecture Here and There

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