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Mullions

Earlier in my blog I wrote about my fondness for painting architectural detail.

Old window

The mullions here are the stone supports dividing the old window’s glass panels. I like the sound of mullions – though, to be honest, I didn’t really know what mullions were till I googled the word the other day. I used to think mullions referred to the glass. I’ve forgotten where I photographed this particular mullioned window – possibly, somewhere in or around the Minster in the city of York, as I’ve been there often. (A church in rural Northamptonshire is another possibility.) In any event, I liked the clean, simple lines of the window, which I am guessing is several centuries old. The honey and ochre tones of the sandstone also appeal to me.

The stonework

Studying my photo before starting to paint, I noticed that the stone blocks to the upper left of the window were weathered and crumbling. Most of the masonry around the window looked very new by comparison. I suspect someone had done some expert restoration work in recent times. While I could have made all the wall look the same, I chose to replicate what the photo showed me. The painting sets the window off-centre and makes it the focus of attention. So, the rougher-looking stonework in the top left helps to counter-balance that.

Creating the illusion

The problem with painting a flat wall and window like this one, straight on, is that you make it especially hard to create the illusion that it’s a three-dimensional subject. The only depth is in the window surrounds, and it’s not much. In real life, it’s probably only a few inches. But that’s where you have to work hard to produce the illusion and make it convincing. I hope I succeeded – I think I did!

Unframed watercolour painting: 5 x 7 inches / 13 x 18 centimetres.

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