I’ve been painting in watercolor for over 30 years. I dabbled with it as a landscape architecture student here at Ball State and then became more serious with it while in graduate school. Ever since, I’ve used it to illustrate designs, document ideas, and record impressions. Along the way, I’ve done freelance watercolor illustration and taught watercolor rendering courses.

These three recent pieces give an overview of my approach and interests. Bene took eight days to design, mock-up, do a full-size value study, draft onto watercolor paper, and paint. I wanted to go beyond merely documenting the design of the monument and give it another dimension by combining the Pledge with an analytique where the components of the structure were reassembled at various scales into a new composition. The style of this painting was my attempt to combine a studio Beaux-arts rendering with a looser plein aire sketch approach.

The Miller House painting was a sketchbook composition that I did on a field trip to Columbus, IN, with my LA 653 class last spring. The approach was, again, a type of analytique where the various views flow into each other with an eye toward reinforcing the design of the House and integrating the contributions of the three main designers in a manner that paid homage to their collaboration.

I have long been fascinated with letter forms and the uses of text in three dimensional design. The quote from the David Owsley Museum of Art seemed like an appropriate in situ addition to my sketchbook.

I most enjoy seeing a painting come to life before my eyes and letting the paints interact with water in ways that I couldn’t necessarily foresee. It’s this process and how to use watercolor in design that I enjoy exploring and teaching to students.

Click to view larger

Craig D. Farnsworth, PLA, ASLA
Roan Distinguished Professor of Practice
Department of Landscape Architecture