Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Just Us - Paris



"Just Us - Paris", 30x30 oil on canvas

This is a larger painting I completed recently from a photo I snapped in Paris.  I love cafĂ© 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!

- Linda

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Linda, thank you for sharing your technique on this wonderful painting. It was very helpful and inspiring. I can see how each idea developed the painting and I really like the end result. It gives a very intimate feeling and the whole picture reflects this plus the wonderful warmth of the colors. I think the tables are fabulous!
I appreciate so much the sense of freedom and joy in all your work.

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