Google Maps 'urban sketch'

I've always wanted to try actual urban sketching - as in on-site sketching of a building - but I haven't had a chance to do that yet. It's always been from photos. With my recent back injury (slipped disc), I've been house bound for about 2.5 weeks so far. For a bit of practice, I figured a quick painting from a photo reference would be the next best thing. I hopped on Google maps, went into "street view" mode and looked up my Aunt's apartment building in Montreal (we write letters and I thought it would be nice to send her a copy of the finished painting). To get the entire building into the frame, I manipulated the Google Map street view into worm's eye view perspective. A little tricky to sketch, but fun.

Materials for this sketch: I drew and painted this in my etchr A4 hotpress sketchbook. I sketched things out with a mechanical pencil first, then added the watercolour and a bit of white gouache for highlights. Besides the green used in the trees, the rest was painted using only 2 colours - burnt sienna and ultramarine blue (my own handmade paint that I mixed from pigments) - to create the greys for the buildings.


  1. It's awesome, Bev! What a fun idea. I'm sure she will really love it. I've been interested in urban sketching, too, but this!! Can't keep a good painter down :) slipped disc or no ❤️

  2. So sorry about your back. I've been there with disk problems, very painful and limiting. Hope you are better soon!

    This is a wonderful painting! I know your aunt will enjoy it. Take care, dear friend. You are missed. <3


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