My Baroque fortnight

December 3, 2021 | 1 Comment

I’ve just finished two weeks of sketching Baroque buildings and I’ve discovered exactly what type of Baroque is my favourite.

I love sketching Baroque buildings and used to regularly sketch them on Friday night after a big week of work (when I was a full-time architect). For a number of reasons I nearly always find it relaxing to do a loose sketch of a super complex, high decorated facade. The more details the more freedom I feel. So I thought that this would be an easy mini-project to do – and in some regards it was!

To date, I’ve focused my attention on Italian Baroque (particularly church facades – refer to this special Roman Baroque day in 2020 ) and English Baroque (the work of Wren, Vanbrugh, Hawksmoor and Gibbs). But this latest project made me realise that I haven’t sketched much of  Baroque from other countries! After getting lots of great suggestions here on the blog and on Instagram I’m going to continue working my way through the list so I can more fully appreciate the Baroque styles from various places in the world.

This project has made me realise that I especially enjoy sketching buildings that have interesting volumes and which use the orders in complex ways with numerous variations in wall planes.

So a building with simple volumes and lots of curving decorations applied over-the-top is not as much fun to sketch (eg. The Zwinger) and one with more interesting volumes.

I also realised that I prefer sketching facades that are fairly monochromatic so that I can play with colours rather than ones made up of numerous colours where I have to be careful and keep them all separate (eg. Melk Abbey). I still enjoyed sketching all of the amazing buildings in this collection, but I now have more clarity on the ones that are in the sweet spot for me.

Okay… enough rambling… here are the buildings that I’ve sketched in the last two weeks.

Italy: S. Susanna in Rome – ink and wash (as shared previously)

England: St Paul’s Cathedral – direct watercolour (as shared previously)

Austria: Melk Abbey – using coloured ink and watercolour

Italy: San Carlino in Rome – part of the Lesson 3 exercises (any excuse to sketch this building again!)
Spain: Murcia Cathedral – direct watercolour using colours from my ‘Extras’ palette.

Murcia Cathedral spread – with a quick line drawing as well.

Another version of Murcia Cathedral (can you tell that I love this facade!)

Germany: Frauenkirche Dresden – direct watercolour (back to my normal colours)

Spread including the Zwinger as well. Beautiful buildings but as mentioned above I prefer buildings with more complex use of the orders.

Peru: Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus, Cuzco – more direct watercolour!

Mexico: Metropolitan Cathedral Mexico City – done as a demo during this week’s livestream to finish the fortnight.

Well, that is a colourful collection of sketches, hey? It’s really good to have a favourite subject matter that makes experimentation easier – and Baroque architecture is that for me.

Do you have a subject matter that makes you feel free and comfortable to experiment and try out new techniques?



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