Stephanie Bower

Stephanie Bower | Architectural Illustration: | Sketching Workshops: | Sketches: on Instagram at @stephanieabower & | Urban Sketchers Blog Correspondent | Signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's a process...

It's now the next day, and I head to the same spot as yesterday, but to do a slightly different drawing. I'm up late nights learning about the history of Civita, especially its architectural history--what buildings were what, when were they built (Etruscan, Roman, Medieval??), it's really fascinating. This sketch reflects some of what I'm learning as I identify buildings and architectural elements, thanks to the work of some of the previous NIAUSI fellows and Astra Zarina's University of Washington students.

So today I post a bit of my process, which I plan to do often on this blog in the next two months here, as I also try and figure out how to sketch in Civita where there are no right angles and nothing is parallel!

I think it's getting a little better as the jet lag eventually wears off and I find my footing. The reward for finishing:  a caffe gelato for supper...

Blocking out the drawing into basic shapes first, then I start on the left side and add detail and heavier linework...starting on the left because I'm right handed and don't want all the lines to end up on the back of my hand!

This is the completed line drawing, I added notes about the architectural history that I'm learning.  This piazza was an Etruscan and Roman forum and is still used today as a meeting place and for events (even weddings!)

This is most of the watercolor in place on the buildings, trying to keep lots of white spots so it feels sunny...picking up my brush a lot, tilting the paper to let the water and pigment puddle at the bottom of the brush stroke in strategic places. Colors are mostly raw sienna and a gray made with ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

This is the complete watercolor.  Some of the color has dropped out in this photo (sorry, no access to a scanner yet).  I also really hesitated to add the purple on the left as it seemed too blue, but I warmed it up by dropping in burnt sienna while it was still wet.

Done!  Off to get a gelato!!


  1. I will be following every step you take...LOL. I was in civita di bagnoregio two years ago and was enchanted by the town. I met the infamous Maria (Rick Steves writes about her), and was invited into her garden, lovely. You have done a wonderful rendering of the main square, bringing back so many wonderful memories. I am very curious to know how you were able to land this amazing opportunity, and what I might do to follow in your footsteps.

    1. Hi Marsha, I can't believe I'm only seeing your message now! That's amazing you were here so recently, and the garden is full of tomatoes and lettuce and zinnias now! I am here on the NIASUI/Civita Institute's 2-month can read about the fellowships at their website, Thank you for following this blog too!!