Strawberry Hill Captured in Watercolour
A personal account by Artist Peter Jarvis

My first visit to Strawberry Hill House was in June last year. My partner, Katherine, and I look forward to spring time when we can get out into the countryside and have spent many hours sketching in and around country houses and gardens. Strawberry Hill House and gardens was a joy to experience and was everything I had read about and more!

The initial pencil sketch was done in an A5 sketchbook, in about two hours, on 140Ib watercolour paper with a view to adding watercolour later in my studio using photographs taken at the time. I prefer to work like this as my style is quite detailed and I can achieve a more controlled end result. My chosen viewpoint was from a position south east of the building with the sun striking the south elevation offering a most picturesque view of the house. I always look for cast shadows on sunny days and the way they fall across surfaces helping to describe architectural shape and form. I use a 2B pencil which is hard enough to record all these aspects in my pencil drawing but not too soft that the details are blurred when I come to lay down colour later on.  Once I’m back in my studio I can apply watercolour with the aid of several photographs I have taken on the day. This took around another two hours.

The finished watercolour piece is 310 x 470mm on 140Ib Saunders Waterford Cold Pressed (NOT) watercolour paper which I soak and stretch on a drawing board. This means, once dry, the paper stays flat even when applying large areas of watercolour. The larger size means I can add as much detail as I wish to complete the artwork using  photographs I have taken as primary reference. The final piece took  thirty to forty hours over about a week.

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