The Muur

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I’ve been working with a – new to me watercolor technique – practicing more wet on wet painting. And since the spring classics are coming up soon what better subject than the chapel on the Muur Geraardsbergen. I was lucky enough to visit this iconic cycling location a few years ago and look forward to seeing it play its part in the races again this spring.

Since I do many of my concept drawings for the digital Cycling Art Posters on the website with watercolor I’ve been digging into the medium with a bit more focus on technique. The one in particular that is both the beauty and beast of practicing watercolor paintings is known as wet into wet.

Hmmm, seems right as they are watercolors. It’s not new to me, it’s just not something I make a habit of when working in the field on location.

You can see the difference in the image on the top right, it is a paint on dry paper, with ink drawing. My more usual way of working. The wet into wet approach is more of a purist, or traditional style watercolor. Both have a place in my world.

In general what I love about the challenge of the wet into wet watercolor work is how much more planning and foreseeing the final result is needed, and then letting gravity take over.

Like the digital work I do, I start with large shapes, plan the composition, find the lights and darks and go to work. The wet into wet forces me to think this way also, so I like the effort. The real fun happens when you get a big wet page going, drop on more color and step back. And you have to step back to let the happy accidents happen.

Not always easy for me to know when to stop poking at the paint. And without the addition of any ink line work to add detail I have to find ways to work in the darkest shadows to add more detail. A work in progress for sure, and every painting is different.

The images on this post have all been done in the studio over the last couple of weeks and I’m sure there will be more as we get closer to the official start of the spring classics cycling season with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, February 26th. I wish I could be there but it’s not about to happen, painting the famous chapel on the Muur Geraardsbergen is as close as I’ll get. But I must admit, for me it’s a damn good second option as I paint and watch the classics.

As with most of my work, these are all for sale however three have been scooped up already. If you have any interest in them send me a note, and I can always do more if your favorite is gone.

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Michael Valenti is "The Veloist" - He is an avid cyclist and artist known for his Cycling Art work. Each year Michael chases the Pro Peloton at the Tour de France and other major cycling events. He is available for event and corporate cycling related projects as well as personal commissions for art.

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