Working on Ridglea Theater Facade

Ridglea Theater, Fort Worth

Good Day.  Finally, I get around to the dark facade of the historic Ridglea Theater.  I have been nervous about approaching this.  I took my reference photos in the afternoon, when the sinking winter sun was behind the facade.  I could see little more than silhouettes.  I used Photoshop to lighten the photos so I could see the actual brickwork and wooden framework of the upper balcony.  The work has been slow lately.  Mostly I’m using Terracotta and Venetian Red watercolor pencils to suggest the roof tiles, and mixing Winsor & Newton pigments of Winsor Green, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Deep and French Ultramarine Blue to render the shadows on the facade.  The layers are taking awhile to dry, so I cannot move too quickly on this area.  As soon as I can get the warm gray washes to dry, I’ll attempt to render the wood grains visible along the balcony beams.

I’m reading a biography on the architect Le Corbusier, and was struck by this description of the processes involved when he designed a building: “Chaos, disorder, and a wild variety in the general layout (i.e., a composition rich in contrapuntal elements like a fugue or symphony).”  I love that!  I feel that I experience that when working on a large watercolor such as this one.  All kinds of elements clashing and meshing, as I seek to force my nervous butterflies into some kind of formation.  That is what I’m experiencing right now as I stare across the expanse of this Ridglea Theater composition.

Thanks for reading.

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