Here is how I painted this watercolor painting.
This was a quick and simple one. I used a limited palette with four different paints in total for the entire painting. The secret to achieving this look was making sure you have the light source and values down. Adding the small glimmering light spots also help with capturing this mood at golden hour.

1. Starting with the Sketch.

I began by sketching out the perspective lines and defining the primary structures of this composition. Rather than getting too caught up in the details, focus on blocking out rectangles for the building structures, sketching out the cast shadows, and marking out the street lights.

Then, I added masking fluid to the brighter areas of the painting; this is an important step since it helps maintain the paper's white color in those spots. Afterwards, I taped the sides with masking tape, giving the painting a nice clean edge and framed border.


2. The Background Wash.

To create a golden undertone, start with a bright orange. For the background wash, use paint with a more watery consistency to make it easier to mix and blend. After that, I added some blue above the orange to create a gradient sky effect.
While this layer is still wet, you want to add some depth to the foreground and the sides. I started using more browns and darker shades for the areas that will become the building structures.


3. Deepen the Shadows.

This blue can also be used to create some of the shadow areas. When mixed with the orange and some brown, it makes for a great dark color. 
This is how the painting looks once the first layer has dried. You can see that it dries lighter, so keep that in mind when you are painting your background wash.


4. Add structure + remove masking fluid.

Once the basic values (the lights and darks) of the painting are clearly defined, the rest is about building on the structures and details. This is a good time to remove the masking fluid, it will help you see the structures more clearly. Make sure the layer is dry before removing the masking fluid.
Use a thin brush to draw the power lines. This is probably my favorite part of the process, as I feel it really brings the painting together. Go slowly and steadily with this step.


5. Finishing Touches.

Afterwards, use a damp small brush to "lift" some of the color off the painting. This is to create more light spots and to blend and blur the masking fluid bits from the beginning. This might make more sense in video form; you can watch my process video on YouTube (scroll down to see).

What do you think? I hope you enjoyed this look into the painting process. If you enjoyed reading this, you can join my mailing list for more. I share my painting processes, art tips via email regularly. Join the email list (scroll down).



Watch the video process on Youtube:

The paints and tools I used for this painting:

Aussie Red Gold (Daniel Smith):
Quinacridone Sienna (Daniel Smith):
Verditer Blue (Holbein):
Cobalt Blue (Holbein):
Masking Fluid (Winsor and Newton):
Watercolor Paper (Baohong):
Palette Box:
Mixing Palette:
(you can find these at your local art shop, I have also shared my affiliate links to amazon here.)