50 Watercolors of Spain. Painting no. 7. Plaza Mayor Archway.

Plaza Mayor Archway. Version 1.

This is a large plaza in Madrid.

The name is Plaza Mayor and it means the Main Square.

Above is the first painting that I did.

I didn’t think this would turn into a good painting but I was pleased with the result.

Below is my second version. This was a quick watercolor sketch.

Plaza Mayor Archway. Version 2.

It was mostly an experiment in doing much lighter washes than I normally do and not making such a dark mix for shadows. 

I also used purer colors for the dark shadows and mixed them on the paper rather than on the palette in order to get more colorful, vibrant and translucent shadows. 

I have to practice doing this more. 

I got the inspiration for this by seeing another artist’s work.

Below is my final painting.

Plaza Mayor Archway. Version 3.

I’m really happy with it because I think it is much better than the first one.

Normally this is not the case.

I added some titanium white on the arch area. 

Normally I love adding titanium white, but I think this time it doesn’t look so nice. 

I think next time it would be better to keep the area super white by using masking fluid or to try and wipe out the paint with pure water.


This square is a very nice place.

But don’t accept anything.

One woman offered to give me a massage.

I politely refused.

But as I was walking away I was suddenly surprised by a pair of hands on the back of my shoulders, squeezing them rather vigorously.

It was the massage woman trying to convince me to buy a massage.


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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