Other than watercolor, one of my favorite mediums to work in is graphite pencil. I don't even consider myself to be a strong sketcher or drawer. But when I find something with a beautiful form, I can't help but press my fingertip onto a surface to trace the outline of whatever I am seeing. This can be a coffee mug, a leaf, a chair, or a building.
The extent of my knowledge on architecture comes from basic art history classes I took in undergrad. But you don't need to study art to admire it! So, recently, I was trusted with a commission project to create a London landscape. I've been to London. It is bustling, regal, timeless, and gloomy. My clients were interested in a painting of some of the older buildings like Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, etc, as opposed to the newer construction (like the Shard or the Eye). They also wanted to capture the moodiness of the city.
I started off by sketching some buildings on a large sheet of paper (42x28"). Then I thought of what palette to wash this piece with. I thought back to the gloomy skies, murky waters, and tall stone buildings. Grays, browns, blues, and the occasional ray of sunshine. I also had to add my signature pizzazz--some flowers! To honor the theme, I went with some English flowers--some Canterbury bells and daffodils. And even if it didn't match the palette we HAD to add the Union Jack! Here is the final piece!