Today I’m featuring one of my favorite paintings of all time: the Old Well at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Enjoy!
With this painting I did several small field studies before I decided which one to paint. My studies were done during the evening when the sun was going down and also in the morning around 5:30 – 7:00am. I am always trying to capture the right moment. This particular painting is based on an evening when spring was coming to life, the flowers were bright red, the trees were bright green, and it was a clear day with no clouds in sight.
I first started this painting by making a sketch to determine the composition of the painting. Secondly, I did the first layer without adding too much detail on the painting. I was filling in the colors in order to have a better idea of what needed to be done and where. I wanted to get an idea of what colors I was going to use, see if I needed to modify the shadows to make the painting lighter or darker, and see if I needed to change the highlights of the trees. This gave me an idea of what colors I should paint the columns and roof of the Old Well. During the day, the colors of the Old Well look very different. I had to determine what tones I needed to create because the light was disappearing quickly. The only light that was consistent was from the light poles in the background.
I modified the colors by adding a second layer to the painting. I started putting details on the trees and worked my way to the bottom of the painting. When I got to the azaleas, the flowers surrounding the Old Well, I decided to separate the back from the front by adding the shadow of the tree. This gave the illusion that the tree covers the Old Well.
Once that layer of paint was dry, I went back and added the remainder of the details by highlighting the leaves and adding the small flowery trees to the left and right. I completed the Old Well by adding as much detail as possible.
Here is a short history of the Old Well:
The Old Well, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is a beautiful and enduring symbol of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1897, the Old Well was redesigned and modified after the Temple of Love in the Garden of Versailles. A wooden structure covered the Old Well before it was replaced with the neoclassical rotunda. In 1954, brick walls, plantings, and benches were added to the Old Well’s surroundings. The Old Well was the sole water supply for Old East and Old West dormitories for many years. Today, anyone who visits the Old Well can take a drink from its marble water fountain. It is a campus tradition to drink from the Old Well on the first day of classes in order to get straight A’s and good luck.
I painted the Old Well because it is at one of the most prestigious and beautiful universities in North Carolina. Even though I did not go to UNC-Chapel Hill, I lived in Chapel Hill for three years, and I learned how to admire this beautiful landmark and the people surrounding it. This painting of the Old Well is currently for sale. If you are interested, please feel free to contact me through the contact form.
If you like this painting of the Old Well, but you are looking for a more customized painting that you will cherish for years to come, consider commissioning a beautiful original oil painting by Jose Jimenez.