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Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Painting



street scene, acrylic on paper, approximately 7.5 x 10

This is my latest painting. Obviously, I'm pleased with it or I wouldn't be showing it. I'm pleased with it because I learned quite a bit about painting while working on it. It took me about a week to paint and underwent quite a few changes. The buildings on the right and left , especially the one on the right, underwent several different tone changes. It took me a while to get colors I was happy with.

The sky was deep dark-blue originally, with huge white clouds. The contrast between the blue sky and the white clouds was too much and distracted from the focal point of the painting, which is the red steeple, so I changed it to a lighter blue and got rid of most of the clouds. The two clouds that are left help draw the eye to the steeple, although I could have done that better, but I did not want to risk having to repaint the steeple.

This is a scene from downtown Jacksonville, Florida, and I worked from a reference photo I took. It's actually cropped from a much larger photograph. One of the things I learned was to eliminate a lot of details. There were quite a few more trees and lamp posts, and there was another car. The lamp posts are black in real life, but black posts would not have worked in this photo, so I dulled them down to gray. The cars and their shadows were the last things I painted. I've never painted cars before. I did many drawings of cars in my sketch books, trying to get them to look like cars and have the correct perspective. That was probably the most challenging part for me.

The bright spot in the upper left hand corner of the sky is from my camera's flash and is not part of the painting, but I wish it were. It's beautiful. I don't think I could have painted that.

One of the things I was thrilled with, but I doubt you can see it in this photo, even if you enlarge it, is the bark of the tree on the right. It's a blend of burnt umber, raw sienna, and maybe another color. It is beautiful to me. I think it's the best tree trunk I've ever painted.

It's not a perfect painting by any means. The shift from the dark blue sky to the lighter blue sky is too distinct, although it's less noticeable in the painting. Photos pick up every detail. Imperfect as it is, I've decided to let it stand as is, because I find it acceptable.

Well, there's more to tell, but I've said enough. It's on to the next painting--soon, anyway.
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