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Here is an experiment: a series of watercolor sketches I did in the course of a color consultation for a bungalow in the Woolen Mills neighborhood of Charlottesville.

I took a detail of that house that includes the major elements of trim and color and drew it, then painted. Since watercolor paint goes on in layers, typically light to dark, I want to explore whether this is a good method for considering real paint colors.

The virtue of working in watercolor is that you have to consider the shadows first. It is the play of light that describes the shape of anything, and for a building facade, it is important to consider how the light changes through the day and through the seasons.

In this little study, I realized how important the depth of the eave is to the character of these bungalows. Older buildings often seem more approachable because of the depth of elements: a very flat facade has no personality.  Eaves, dormers and brackets are like the features that we recognize in a friendly face.