50 Watercolor Sketches of Spain. Painting Number 5. Staccato Street Shadows.

50 watercolor paintings of Spain. Painting number 5. Staccato Street Shadows.

I really wanted to paint the traditional city streets of Spain with the tall buildings and narrow streets. The arrangement of these streets produces dramatic staccato shadows and the beautiful and elaborate decoration adds to the drama of light and dark. Also the powerful patches of color add even further interest. 

In the street I painted you don’t even get the light touching the ground and the figures are almost like shadows lost within the shadow.

And yet where the light hits the top of the buildings you get a beautiful and almost abstract effect of patches of color irregularly covered in patches of light and shadow. 

Above is my first attempt. I think it is my best one. That’s probably because I was just doing a sketch and felt no compulsion to be careful. I love the splotches. I’m not sure now how I did that. It could have been splattering or even spitting.

Below is the second attempt. I don’t think it has quite the vitality of the first one. I actually messed up the wall on the left. I went too dark. So I decided to lighten it up by wiping the whole area with some kitchen roll. Surprisingly, this led to a beautiful textural effect. This is something I’ll have to try again in the future – if I have the guts to do it.


I am an Englishman living and painting in Japan. I have now been here for over 17 years and have been painting for all that time. I love to travel around the Japanese countryside and find beautiful places to paint.

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