Every once in a while, as I am letting my dog out early (6am or thereabouts), there is a miracle in progress, and I am lucky enough to witness it. Even though I live in a large city, nature is still very much in evidence. I dashed in the house to get my camera, and thankfully it the battery was charged up, and there was space on my memory card. There was no time to fiddle around, and this beautiful sky had changed within 3 or 4 minutes!
I thought it would be interesting to include the reference photo that I used, so that you could see my process, and so that I can document this for future reference. I used to be really literal about my interpretation from photos, painting every detail that was in the photo and I found the results from these paintings were sterile and had less of what I wanted to express than I would like. I have had to make a really conscious effort to eliminate distracting and unnecessary detail, adjust tonal values, and work out the composition. I do a grid of four squares on my photos, usually. You can see the blue lines on the photo, made with a blue Stabilo pencil (an indispensible tool from my sign painting days). This way I can gauge where lines should be without looking too static, as if I was following a join the dots picture.
I tried to emphasize the horse in the foreground, tone down the lights above, and eliminate distracting detail behind the horse, while maintaining a feel of the carousel. The photo was taken at night, so the colour balance was incorrect, but I thought that I would keep that in the painting to give it a kind of old fashioned look. I would go on this ride!
This is a midway ride at the "Ex" called the Crazy Mouse in which people zoom around tight corners and steep inclines in a tiny cylindrical car. No way would I ride on one, but I am happy to paint it.
Actually, it was one of the most difficult things I've painted lately. I liked the image, because of the graphic quality of it, the high contrast and it's clean colours. And as an ex sign painter, I thought it would be a piece of cake. But there is a lot of distortion in the letters because of the perspective, and I struggled with it for ages!
The Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto is the traditional end of summer. This was a colourful warm evening, and it was a great visit to the "Ex" complete with corn dog, french fries and Tiny Tims donuts.
My submission to the painters challenge called Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick. Between seeing the wonderful movie "Julie and Julia", and painting cupcakes, I am getting very interested in cooking and baking! I loved painting this challenge. I took Karin's advice and checked out the American painter Wayne Thiebaud, who is most famous for his paintings of everyday objects such as food, lipsticks, shoes and especially cakes and pastries. Interestingly, he was a sign painter early in his career, and so was I. Painting these reminded me of birthday parties that my parents had for me when I was very young, and my mother made iced cupcakes, which I ate with ice cream and I love cake and ice cream to this day. I didn't spend much time with tonal and colour sketches. I just drew charcoal sketch on a burnt sienna toned canvas panel, and painted most of it in one sitting and added highlights the next day. Sometimes I have to go away, and then come back to "see" what I should do next.
I really enjoyed this! Check out all the others at the above link. It's amazing to see how differently everyone has handled this.