A commission to create a painting from photographs
for an intern leaving for the next leg of her journey landed on my desk.
I typically work on several images at the same time;
it relieves the pressure in case one goes awry when a deadline is involved.
The two photographs that appealed to me most are shown below.
*the image above is for the studio voyeurs, of which I am one*
I never intended for them to be replications but interpretations of the images.
The joy of owning a painting instead of snapshot is the artist’s interpretation.
Above, the first image, with the addition of a mid-century modern car, sketch to final.
Below, steps from inked sketch to finished watercolor on the second image.
I began with masking fluid. I could be very very careful,
but why, when I can mask off the areas and splash around freely?
Tiny flowers, window frames, car lights (in the first image above.)
Next come the underlayers:
Grisaille, this time in the form of grey ink for shadows, window panes, rooftops;
Brunaille, the underlayer of brown in inks and paint for sidewalk and rooftop; and
Verdaille, in this case used as underlayers of green, both the bright shown and a grey-green not shown, both of which allows a tie in of the other greens as they are applied.
Beginning colors that will not interfere with the overwhelming greens in the image
were next: blues and purples and browns. So many of the houses are colorful;
I decided to paint these homes in typical colors of the neighborhood.
Once I got started I forget to stop for process shots!
I worked greens for several layers, and overworked one area which you will see I later lifted and softened by balancing darks. Reds and additional browns were added last.
Above are details of the succession of masked areas
before removal, after removal, and with the additional painted colors onto the
masked areas. Not all were painted; white left adds to the painting!
Two differences in an urban sketch:
not so much layered paint as one broad stroke of paint color in an area; and
the time is not taken to articulate the leaves… they become a color, a suggestion,
whereas in a painting I am likely to detail leaves in my own suggestive manner.
©D. Katie Powell.
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I teach architectural sketching,
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