Stephanie Bower

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Workshop, Inside the Chiesa San Donato

Late June in Civita is blazing hot, so one of the ways we escape the heat is to sketch inside the Chiesa San Donato. I've done a few sketches of this lovely church on past trips, you can see the first one from 2013 in my Pentalic sketchbook below. 

The concept for this sketch above is exactly the same as for the one below...I always start with the big shapes. An advantage of this particular view what that I was also able to use that center arch as a way to determine where the elements on the far wall were located...for example, the spring line for the far arches is just about half way up the front arch.  So this makes getting shapes and proportions easier.

Here is the photo of the nave of the chiesa, and below it is the diagram I draw in the workshop to explain the concept of drawing the arches. As I always teach, we start with the shape of the space, then the VP and eye level lines, than I use this structure to fill in the basic lines that describe the space.

Pretty early on, I'll add the arches...first by drawing the rectangular bays made by the columns, then I put in the spring line where the arch starts.  You'll see I also lightly sketch in the entire ellipse, as this makes it easier to get the arch shape. Once I have all that structure in, I start filling in the sketch.

There is a lot more info on this in both my book and Craftsy classes.

Diagram sketch of the chiesa space and arches.

This is one of my all time favorite sketches!  It might be where I started doing these wide-angle views
that I love so much.
When I paint these sketches, I also approach the watercolor thinking like an architect. The first thing I'll do is paint in that pale blue (cobalt with a touch of perm. alizarin crimson) in all the openings, so that the voids appear to recede.  Next I'll use a little gray and yellow ochre to warm the walls and arches in the center nave, so that they advance in space. I'm always thinking about solids vs. voids in architecture.

And here we are at the end of the day, in front of the beautiful salmon colored Chiesa!!