City Night Life - Evening light in watercolour by Marina Abramova (Abramarin)

The watercolour artist Marina Abramova has a very special feeling for painting light, as demonstrated in this impressive step by step painting. The architecture of the Frankfurt fair in evening light was her inspiration for this shining watercolour painting during the Creative World fair:

You will need:

  • Colours: Schmincke HORADAM® AQUARELL watercolours in Ivory black (780), Hematiteblack (789), Cobalt violet hue (473), Perylene violet (371), Quinacridone Purple (472), Ultramarine blue (496), Cobalt cerulean (499), Cadmium yellow lemon (223), Cadmium yellow middle (225), Indian yellow (220), Saturn red (359), Permanent red orange (360), Scarlet red (363)
  • Paper: Hahnemühle Leonardo 600 g/m2 76x56 cm
  • Sketch Book: Hahnemühle Watercolour book
  • Brushes: da Vinci: series 550, 30mm, series 5588: Cosmotop-spin (N24) and round (N10, N6), series 5519: size 5, 2.85 mm, series 418: French watercolour brush N10
  • Schmincke Liquid frisket, neutral or coloured (50300, 50303) or Masking fluid, neutral or coloured (50730, 50731)
  • Opaque white


Visiting the Creative World Fair is always a fantastic way to get inspired. Lots of working materials and the contact to exhibitors and artists - all thoughts are about creating, painting, for me especially about watercolour painting. Completely inspired, I would like to capture the atmosphere of an Frankfurt Fair building in the evening light.


To get a feeling for the final composition, I often start with a sketch in my very useful sketchbook. Thus, I can try out the composition and the order of painting steps I have in my mind. The sketchbook also helps to capture the atmosphere of a scene. In short, it is my small diary, wherein I paint instead of writing down my thoughts.


Step 1:

First, I tape my watercolour paper with ordinary masking tape onto a wooden board. Now I start my pre-sketch with a pencil. For this painting, I use Hahnemühle watercolour paper Leonardo 600 g/m2 size 76x56 cm.


Step 2:

For details, which will be added later, it is important to leave some parts of the paper clean, unpainted. Using masking fluid helps me to cover these parts which later will become lights, lamps and people.


Step 3:

Let's start this watercolour painting! I start by wetting the sky parts and then add the chosen colours ivory black, hematite black, quinacridone purple and cobalt violet hue. The foggy impression is created by the granulation character of cobalt violet hue as well as hematite black. In the still wet colour I add Indian yellow, cadmium yellow middle and permanent orange for the light effects in the sky. Finally, I paint the spotlights. With a wet brush, I add the effects of the two light cones onto the paper.




Step 4:

The building, or better the contours of the building, are painted using quinacridone purple and Indian yellow. All details will follow later. Here, I choose colours due to their transparent character. The buildings then appear less massive, even lighter.


Step 5:

Now, I'm going to paint the ground. First, the paper must be wetted. Then, I paint with a mixture of the black tones, permanent red orange as well as cobalt cerulean.




Step 6:

The buildings will be painted with orange and violet shades. I use the glazing technique. After having removed the masking film of the buildings, all details can be added.


Step 7:

In this step, I remove the masking fluid of the persons and cover the silhouettes with already remaining colours. The transparent silhouettes will be filled with quinacridone purple to remain transparent. Then, I remove the masked parts and vivify the office buildings by painting some windows in a shining yellow. Finally, I add some small stars with opaque white.


Step 8:

My signature is the last step before this watercolour painting can be enjoyed.