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Painting of Pluto

On a recent visit to Nymphenburg Palace in Munich I was delighted by the beautiful landscaped gardens. At the rear of the palace there are rows of statues (gods of Olympus) lining the lawn of The Grand Parterre. I've always been drawn to statues particularly of the Roman and Greek era. I especially admire the way sculptors achieve the folds in clothing.

Nymphenburg Place was the summer residence of the Bavarian Monarchs and happens to be one of the largest royal palaces in Europe.

I was lucky enough to visit on a beautiful sunny day, with gorgeous blue skies and a few fluffy white clouds. So I took the opportunity to take lots of photographs.

I chose to illustrate one of the statues ~ Pluto, with his trident. This particular sculpture dates back to 1778 and was created by Bavarian sculptor Dominik Auliczek.

Pluto sculpture by Dominik Auliczek
Pluto sculpture by Dominik Auliczek

Here's my working process...

The paper I used was a small watercolour block (Hahnemühle Torchon 275gsm rough, 12x17cm). I only discovered these blocks when I purchased one by mistake, thinking it was a pad of separate sheets! At first I was a bit unsure as I didn't know how it worked and had never heard of blocks before, but now I actually prefer using it over separate sheets. Using the block means I don't need to fix the paper down on a separate board with masking tape (to stop the paper buckling when water is applied).

Step 1: Create a pencil sketch (I use a Faber Castell HB). This is essential for me, particularly for this drawing. I erased the trident and arm/hand a couple of times as I couldn't get the placement and proportions quite right.

Step 2: Once happy with the pencil sketch, I drew over the lines using a Staedtler pigment liner 0.05mm. When the ink had dried, I carefully erased the pencil.

Step 3: Time to colour! I started with a light grey first and gradually built up the layers (for the darker areas of the statue).

I always use my gorgeous Winsor & Newton watercolous. For the statue the only colours I used were Raynes Grey and Lamp Black mixed with Light Red. For the trident I used Lemon Yellow as a base colour and then mixed in Lamp Black for the shadows. In addition, I used my MERCK pearlescent gouache paint palette to add a sparkly gold effect.

For the background, I placed a wash of Cerulean Blue for the sky.

Once that dried, I added a touch of Ultramarine over the top to darken it slightly.

And, for the finishing touches (always my favourite part) I applied dots with the black liner (in the sky) and then using my favourite 'sparkling' glitter pens in Gold and Silver (Uni-ball Signo) and White (Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip) on the face and body. You can't always see the glitter - only when you tilt the paper to the light.

Watercolour chart | Pearlescent gouache palette | 'Sparkling' glitter pens & white pen

Overall, I am fairly pleased with the end result but being the perfectionist that I am, I don't think the face is quite right! But then art is an interpretation, it doesn't have to be 100% alike.

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