La Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

La Basilique du Sacré-Cœur Watercolor Painting

Decided to try a more limited palette for this doodlewash of La Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in the Montmartre neighborhood in Paris. I also wanted to try something at dusk rather than my typical midday sky. This started as another sketch for the #DrawingAugust challenge I’m trying on Twitter. It’s Day 13! Almost half way through! I’ve never sketched this much before, and it feels like I’m improving, but I’m too close to it to tell.

I was going to choose just 3 colors, Quinacridone Gold, Alazarin Red, & Cobalt Turquoise, but then ended up using a bit of Cobalt Blue for the shadows. The Cobalt Turquoise is a great color, but it’s a little too bright for a shadow blue. The biggest challenge on this piece happened right when I started. I wet the paper for the sky and apparently got it too wet as the ink at the far right of the basilica ran a little. Actually I think it was an issue with the paper, but on the first attempt to blot, the ink smeared a touch.

Technically, the pigs I posted previously were a limited palette as well, but there wasn’t much of a range of color in that one. I like the effect of a limited palette because everything feels a bit more harmonious. I often grab for colors ad hoc without really thinking too much and doing it this way makes the color scheme feel a little less random and more like it was carefully chosen. It wasn’t really. After I chose the initial colors I went back to my usual random mixing frenzy.

This is definitely something I’ll try again. Mixing colors is something I’m still trying to learn. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you choose colors for your palette, tips you have on mixing color, or anything at all really! Leave me a comment with your thoughts below!

UPDATE: Wait… WordPress told me this was my 100th post! To celebrate, I’m buying you all a drink. But since that’s not feasible, you can simply buy yourself the drink of your choice, pretend it was from me, and toast to lovely doodlewashes everywhere! 😉

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. kirkistan 7 years ago

    Wow that is terrific. I love the gold dome and the shadows in particular. Great perspective.

    • Author

      Thanks Kirk!! It was tough for me to push the colors as the building is actually just white…hehe… but I was hoping for a golden hour sunsety effect.

      • kirkistan 7 years ago

        That’s what I saw–sunset. I am crazy about these city views. Keep them coming!

        • Author

          I think I’m going to have to! Hehe…this DrawingAugust thing is tough. Trying to stay in a France theme and keep looking for things to draw next! Got a little tired of the complexity…hence the pigs…then realized pigs are really hard too. 😉

  2. weisserwatercolours 7 years ago

    It is one swell picture, Charlie–you have a gift for perspective and architectural subjects, which not all either like, or find they have a knack for.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Lance!! I think I just roughly understand perspective so I’m drawn to architecture and hard lines. Struggle with soft lines, and still have yet to try a portrait of a person. I’m afraid that they’ll look like a building. 😊

  3. Lindsay Baker 7 years ago

    Limited palettes are great and, as you say, pretty much ensure colour harmony. I’ve spent years trying to find the “perfect” limited palette, but keep changing my mind, and I think I’m just starting to wake up to the fact there’s no such thing!
    As for portraits – do you know about Sktchy? It’s an app on iOS (not sure about other platforms) – a little bit like Instagram, except people post pictures, mostly of themselves, in the hope that you’ll draw them. When someone posts a drawing, it links back to the reference photo. It’s an awesome way of seeing a huge number of portrait techniques and a great source of inspiration.

    • Author

      Yeah…I don’t think there’s a perfect palette…and it’s more fun to try them all! Hehe I actually just saw a blog post about Sktchy and was going to check it out. Looks super interesting! I haven’t drawn a portrait yet so figured it would be a fun challenge! 😉

  4. Yolanda D 7 years ago

    That is gorgeous.

  5. Bill Jackson 7 years ago

    Thank you for going into specifics about the colors used. Very helpful. I am sometimes uncertain about which combination of colors will provide the best shadows. Trial and error for me.

    • Author

      Thank you for reading Bill! I’m all trial and error at this point, so I’m just sharing what happens as I go along. I’m still playing with shadows, sometimes mixing the Alazarin red with Cobalt to try various purples for the shadows as well.

  6. waynejacques 7 years ago

    Nicely done Charlie. You captured the dusk sun magically. Sacré-Cœur is a wonderful area.

    • Author

      Aww thanks so much Wayne! This was my first ever attempt at dusk, glad you like it! And agree…this area is definitely a wonderful place. I can’t wait to go back!

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