I’m Having Trouble Getting My Buildings Right

Darrell … When I try to do a painting from a picture post card, I find I am not sure how to start or set the scenes up for buildings. I can do the medium white background, the skies and clouds, and no trouble with the mountains. But the buildings are something else. Phil

Hi Phil, Often I use one of two options to ensure I get a building absolutely correct. Especially if its shape is unique.
Option 1: Contact paper.
I’ll trace from the photo or resource information to capture the exact shape of the building. Just the outside and any distinguishing windows doors, roof lines, etc…. Next. I re-enforce the lines with a script liner. I use the ultra thing black script liner. Then I will go down to an paper copier and blow the drawing up to the actual size I want to use on my canvas. Trace the drawing onto the self-adhesive contact paper. Cut the drawing out, peel off the paper from the sticky side of the contact paper and place the drawing exactly where I want it in the painting. I’ll then paint the scene as I normally do. When the painting is completed, I’ll peel off the contact paper and paint in the building.
Option 2: Copy drawing onto wet canvas.
I’ll trace from the photo or resource information to capture the exact shape of the building. Just the outside and any distinguishing windows doors, roof lines, etc…. Next. I re-enforce the lines with a script liner. I use the ultra thing black script liner. Then I will go down to an paper copier and blow the drawing up to the actual size I want to use on my canvas. At this time, I’ll paint the painting as I’d normally do and then when I’m ready to do the building I’ll grab the drawing. Place it on the painting where you’d like the building, and using a pencil trace the drawing onto the canvas. When done remove the paper and you’ll see the outline of the building in your wet painting. Now you have a choice, (1) Use a palette knife and scrape out the the area for the building using the techniques as shown on the Basic Technique of Oil Painting: Cabins and Buildings, or (2) Use a paint eraser to scrape out the area for the building. All that remains is for you to paint your buildings with either a brush or palette knife. Should the paper smudge at all while you’re putting the tracing on, its easy enough to fix.
Thanks
Darrell