A monastery door

When we visited the Cathedral in Belem we also took the opportunity to explore the monastery attached to it.  The stonework was as exuberantly decorated as the church, The two storey cloisters, something I didn’t even know existed, were stunning, and I don’t use the word lightly.  They were vast, full of sunlight and shadow, every door, window, pillar, decorated and decorated again.

I have chosen one of the less excited doors to paint. Capturing this much decoration was going to be a struggle.

In fact the only way to do it justice would be do do a close-up of one small section, but I’m going to continue with this door.  A general wash of Yellow Ochre and my new friend, Burnt Umber, provided a backcloth to the more detailed work.  I did use a line drawing to work out the complicated aperture.  The dark green door helped define the shapes and the bell was a gift, the Prussian Blue so near and yet so far in colour terms.

Details of the carving, using Burnt Umber and a fine brush, were hard to achieve.  I didn’t want to be too mannered yet there was a lot to say in a small space.  In the end, I aimed to show the shadows as I saw them, hoping to place them with sufficient accuracy to create the illusion.  I’m relative pleased with the result, but the only way  to do justice to to the stone craft would be to do a small section enlarged.

2 thoughts on “A monastery door”

  1. The regularity of the stones in the wall and the simple beauty of the shape of the bell really anchors the exuberance of the door frame.

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