Palladio Paint-only

August 30, 2019 | 10 Comments

So many people think that to sketch architecture you have to be precise. I don’t believe that’s the case, but it is important to have an understanding of volumes, structure, details and perspective. And I think that the best buildings to sketch are those with simple volumes, a clear structure and some fun details.

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Europe was my time spent in the Veneto Region of Italy and teaching the Palladian Odyssey workshops there. Regular readers of my blog will know how much I love Palladio – and this year I became an even greater fan as I learnt more about him (see here and here).

Today I was longing for a bit of Palladio so I pulled out my three sketchbooks from my time based in the Veneto and as I turned the pages I was struck by how many paint-only sketches (direct watercolour)  I did this year. And without realising exactly what I was doing, I suddenly found myself sitting in front of my scanner, scanning them all to share with you!

Palladio’s work is amazingly precise – the proportions are important and he uses classical details with rigour. So I used to find his work a little intimidating to sketch – I used to think that my sketches had to be exact. But I no longer think that way and actually delight in working as loosely as I can.

Of course I’ve the advantage of sketching all these buildings before – this year was my fourth visit to the area – so that makes it easier for me to work quickly. But regardless of the speed or the looseness of my sketching, the principles of my work are the same as the more accurate ink and wash approach which I normally teach. 

Anyway, let’s just get going with my Palladian Paint-only Collection for 2019.
(Note: I have more ink and wash sketches as well – but will leave them to another article)

First Palladio sketch of the trip – Tempietto in Maser version 1

First sketches in Vizenza for 2019: Loggia del Capitanio and sketch of Piazza dei Signori

Basilica Palladiana 1

Super quick sketch of Villa Emo during Veneto Tour 1

Basilica Palladiana 2 – done during dinner when I was very tired at the end of Veneto Tour 1

Basilica Palladiana 3

Basilica Palladiana 4 and 5 (I’m a bit obsessed with this building – can you tell?)

Villa Cornaro done during a sketching session Veneto Tour 2

Super quick sketch 2 of Tempietto in Maser during a workshop (while the group were doing their exercise)

Villa Barbaro done while the group were having a guided tour inside (not finished)

Villa Rotunda done at the end of Tour 2 – I remember feeling super super tired when I did this sketch but this looks more confident than I felt at the time.

And here are Palladio’s three churches in Venice – done during a huge one-day visit.

San Giorgio Maggiore


San Francesco della Vigna

So there you have it! Thanks for letting me indulge in a dose of Palladio!

Do you have a favourite?

Some of them are quite similar as I was searching for a new approach. I didn’t find it while I was in Italy but later in the trip I had a few ideas about new things to try next time!

If you would like to join me exploring the amazing region of the Veneto click here to find out more… or if you want to read some of my personal reports from previous years click here. The Veneto tour without a doubt is my absolutely favourite workshop to teach.

Further reading:

Thoughts about direct watercolour after the 30×30 challenge 2018



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