Watercolorist Viviene Astakhova captures the unique allure of classical European architecture. Her expressive brushstrokes and sun-dappled lighting make each of the scenic places breathe with life. In fact, perusing her colorful portfolio feels as though you're taking a stroll through one of the picturesque cityscapes.
The Russian artist is an avid lover of old-world architecture and its ornate details. Historical cities such as Vienna, London, and St. Petersburg are the inspiration for her series of urban paintings. After sketching the buildings in pencil, Astakhova applies delicate layers of watercolor paint to the paper—intentionally keeping some areas paint-free. This deliberate placement gives her pictures a sense of buoyancy, which she emphasizes with expressive skies and watery shading of trees, canopies, and columns. Astakhova then completes her illustrations by returning with a technical pen and outlining a few details in black ink.
Although the watercolorist's paintings are incredible are on their own, much of her online success is also in the way she presents them on Instagram. Astakhova often enhances the romantic atmosphere of her cityscapes by photographing them in dimmed or shuttered lighting. Occasionally, the artist uses the photography process as an opportunity to add something more to her painting, like in her depiction of Big Ben. There, Astakhova guides a thin, solitary beam of light across the clock tower while the rest of the picture remains veiled in afternoon shadows. These thoughtful finishing touches make her delicate watercolor paintings enticing portals into coveted European cities.
Scroll down to see more architecture paintings by Astakhova, and follow the artist on Instagram to keep up to date with her latest creations. Original paintings are available for purchase via Astakhova's website.