How to Paint a Mansion in Watercolour

You may remember my commission of a mansion. My customer has decided that the strong colours of the acrylic work would not go too well with the watercolour of another painting in his possession. So he has asked me to try a slightly different view of the mansion in watercolours.

This time I did not record the painting process on film but I took some photographs to send to my customer reporting on the progress being made.

So here are the three stage photos which I sent to my customer.

painting by Pat Harrison

step 1

painting by Pat Harrison

step 2

painting by Pat Harrison


Again the painting had to be composed based on photos.

I have used the following list of materials:

Hahnemuhle Fineart Bamboo 30×40 cm Mixed Media 265 g/m² suitable for watercolour, acrylic and pastel.

Cotman Watercolours ultramarine blue, cobalt blue hue, lemon yellow hue, cad yellow hue, sap green, viridian hue, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, raw umber, and black as well as Chinese white

Brushes: sable brush no.14, no.10, no.5 and no.3 as well as a worn-out no.3 round.

I started with the sky using the side of a no.10 sable brush with watered down cobalt blue hue. The outline of the house and roof followed with diluted raw umber.

Next came the wall in front of the building which I painted using the same no.10 sable brush with a heavily diluted raw umber after first covering the area in question with clean water.

The tree trunks were painted with raw umber and the no.5 sable brush making sure that the lines would shrink the further up the trunk I went. The darkest side of the tree trunk would have to be on the right as the light was coming from the left.

The leaves were stabbed onto the paper using the worn-out no.3 round brush. Mixes of viridian hue and sap green with raw umber formed the basis for the tree tops and the ivy adding black to darken the shades where necessary. Lemon yellow and green were used for the lighter areas often heavily diluted to arrive at the desired brightness.

The structure and texture of the leaves were easily achieved once various layers of paint were resting on top of one another. The no.3 round brush did the trick by just dipping it in clean water, wiping it on a paper towel and then rubbing the layers of paint with circular strokes. This helped to create the 3d effect of the leaves. This also goes for the contrasting tree in the middle on the left which mainly only saw raw umber, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and black.

Similar methods were applied to paint the bushes while the bricks in the wall were dabbed on in an arbitrary fashion using raw umber and a no.3 round brush.

The grass area was to follow laying down a diluted mix of lemon yellow and sap green on an area wet with clean water. Viridian was added for the darker patches always using the side of the no.14 sable brush.

The footpath on the left was painted in watered down burnt sienna with my no.5 sable brush. The tiny pebbles were hammered on using a watercolour pencil.

Finally the lavender was added to the foreground using Chinese white, cobalt blue and ultramarine resting on dashes of thin green lines applied with the tip of a no.5 sable brush.

After I had posted my photo of the finished article, the customer´s reply was full of praise offering to pay an extra 30% on top of my asking price.


About Pat Harrison

Painting and drawing have been my passion from early childhood. I have attended numerous exhibitions in England and Germany. Presented with the Judges Award at a show I now have one of my paintings on permanent display at a museum in Greater London with growing sales and commissions.
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