|"Just Us - Paris", 30x30 oil on canvas|
This is a larger painting I completed recently from a photo I snapped in Paris. I love café scenes, I think they're quintessentially French. But it's harder than you'd think to get a good candid shot of people, without standing on the sidewalk making a nuisance of yourself. I was able to get this one on the fly. I like it for the poses and the expressions, as well as the repetition of all the pink chairs and orange tabletops.
|My Reference Photo|
I thought you'd like to see how I did it. I think it's interesting to see how different it looks in the beginning and to see the missteps--uh, revisions--that lead to the final paining.
To start I paint a yellow ground, because I find it difficult to get the right values working on a white canvas. I projected the photo to get the major elements in the right spot. Then I started in the focal point and just blocked in the figures.
Here I have more of the blocking in. I start with the most colorful elements so that I can relate the rest of the painting to those colors.
More blocking. At this point I have only used Gamsol (odorless mineral spirits) as a medium, because I want the under layer to be thin, so that I can work fat over lean.
Here I'm starting to refine the painting, to make the figures and furniture more three dimensional with color and value. I switched to a fatter walnut alkyd medium.
At this point, I decided that all that pink was detracting from my subject, the figures, so I made the doors in the foreground and background a more neutral color, as well as the background behind him, which had been yellow. Big sigh of relief.
To finish it up, I reworked the faces and the clothes, still trying to keep it as loose as possible. I darkened the tables and chairs in the background, to make them less important. And I revised yet again the background behind his head, lightening it to make him come forward. And, finally, I signed it in the bottom right corner, where it's a bit hidden.
This is the first time I've posted this kind of step-by-step painting description. So, did you enjoy it? Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!