Pablo Ruben: Royal Palace of Madrid


Step 1. Welcome to the beautiful city of Madrid, this is one of our most important monuments in the Capital of Spain, the Royal Palace, seen from an aerial view. In every watercolor I do I start with a good and complete drawing to have enough information of vanishing lines and proportions of the elements of the landscape. I draw with a 2B pencil.

Step 2. I start the work with a “mother color” that covers the full White paper. In this case, because the landscape is a sunny day in Madrid, early in the morning, the base color is a warm wash made with Aussie Red Gold, Quinacridone Lilac and Rose Madder Permanent with different concentrations to get vibrations of the color.

Step 3. After the first wash has dried I start with the second one, time to put background and shadows. I mix Lavender and Wisteria to get a soft violet for the more distant part and as soon as I am approaching to the lower part I add a bit of Aussie Red Gold and Quinacridone Lilac to grey the color.

Step 4. In the same mix as I am going down to the foreground I continue varying the cold color made with Lavender and Wisteria, adding a bit of Burnt Sienna Light and Raw Sienna Light, this provides warm beautiful grays.

step5Step 5. At this point, some parts of the background have dried, so it is time to add more definition and to separate the big dome of the distant church of San Francisco. I make this dark color adding a bit of Payne’s Blue Gray to the previous mix with enough water to make it transparent.


Step 6. While this layer is wet I benefit to paint the Windows of the church and the buildings, I need a thicker mix of Payne´s Blue Gray and Burnt Sienna Light to get soft and controlled edges.


Step 7. Closer buildings means darker values, so I add more Payne´s Blue Gray, Lavender and Quinacridone Lilac and keep painting the shadows of the buildings. These three colors mixed with the correct amount of water produce lovely cold grays very suitable for urban scapes.


Step 8. Reaching the bottom of the work I need more intense colors in the foreground, so I increase also the lightest parts. I paint a warmer wash of Aussie Red Gold and Wisteria in the closer part of the Bailen Street.

PR_Green9Step 9. Although this view is into the light, we have some greens in our landscape. To make greens we have to colors that make a wonderful combination to have the greens we need in this short of light, mixing Payne´s Blue Gray and Aussie Red Gold we get real and not too bright green perfect to keep the harmony of our work.

Finishing the shadows in the foreground with vibrations of greys, this time I use Lavender, Wisteria, Payne´s Blue Gray and Burnt Sienna Light but in different amounts no avoid repeating colors. Every time mixed in about fifty per cent with water to paint it transparent.

Step 10. The work is almost finished, only piece left is to add little details (windows, streetlights, chimneys, people, cars) and the highlights lost during the process. To complete the highlights I use Titanium White directly from the tube, completely opaque, I prefer this rather than masking fluid.