I took a photo of this truck from the neighborhood a while ago and have been itching to paint it. It's amusing to me how many old faded trucks are in the neighborhood, because it's a subject I usually find in paintings from Sonoma. Go figure.
I'm not updating auctions this week, because I have a joint show with my father this weekend.
Posting and shopping will resume next week.
Did I mention how much I prefer painting clothing than nude figures. I thought I'd take some of my new knowledge about road surfaces to try and paint a beach scene. Since I was actually at the beach the other evening, I thought a backlit figure might be nice and took a few snaps. What I liked about this one was the dark figure on a barely there simmering beach with just a hint of the sun on the very top edges of the body.
I could see it so clearly in my head. A simple plain, a dark shape and a sliver of bright white between then. Oh, how deceptively simple. I had the figure near dark walnut and that seemed wrong because then there was not enough differentiation between the back and the hair. Then I made her lighter, but then there wasn't enough contrast between the figure and the highlight or the beach. I'm not kidding, but I think I went back and forth a dozen times. And it's still not right, but I got tired of struggling.
A few things I started to notice, as with the road surfaces the other day, was the subtle colors within what I thought was one color. The blues in the flesh turned furthest away from the sun, the red reflected up from the towel. Yet every time I put a hint of that in, it looked like way too much. It really helped in rounding the figure but I just couldn't abide such shocking color. Why is that?
This is from a reference photo I took while going down one of the many hills on 16th Street, heading back from Portrero hill.
I've been having a color problem with street surfaces lately, and this is a good example. Streets are paved with a material that is mostly gray, so streets are grey. However they are lit by the sun for they should be warm. So, they're tan. Except in the shadows, where they're blue. Argh.
I stood on the hill for a while and started seeing all sorts of colors up and down the hills in SF (which as you may know are often not parallel to the horizon). As clouds came and went and the sun darted in and out, I saw all sorts of colors. It almost looked funny. I mean, to have a long held belief that asphalt and concrete are grey, and then to be presented with such a range was kinda mind melting.
I think I managed to incorporate some of that here. The photo's not the best capture of the painting, and it looks completely different on three different monitors here. (Fully saturated colors are pretty easy to calibrate on screen, but these subtle shades are much harder and look very different when the shift by a few degrees).