Now when it comes to castles, I get excited. I have visited many of them throughout Europe. Thanks to my good friends Max and Silvia Von Planta I had a chance to see some really unusual schlosses and Burgs around their home in Stuffels Switzerland.
Using photos shot on location in Switzerland, I plan my painting using a thumbnail study. This is my roadmap or plan. I change the things that need to be changed and work out the values to create a better composition.
I use a 2H pencil to carefully sketch in the outline of my image on my 140 lb watercolor paper. Sometimes I use a light cross hatch or diagonal strokes to indicate where the shadows will be. Most of these lines are obliterated by the water and paint.
As I lay in the sky using a wet in wet technique, I am conscious of the diagonal shapes in the cloud formations which actually guide the viewers eye to the castle. While the sky is drying I lay in bold washes of warm yellows across the foreground.
A closeup of the schloss. Using simple value shapes I start to build the form and mass of the building. Notice the warms on the sunny side, and the cool blues forming on the shadow side. This exaggerates the warmness of the sun.
Everything comes together here the way I had envisioned. The light and dark shapes dramatically guide the viewer to the castle. I can still remember the awe I felt when I followed this same path up the hillside to the schloss Ortenstein in Switzerland.