Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ride to Work

Ride to Work - oil on canvas 18 x 14"
This painting sprang to life last week.  I was feeling out of ideas of what to paint.  When that happens, I like to go digging in the many folders that contain my own photo resource collection.  I'm not a great photographer, but I can aim and click like the best of them when a light pattern or atmosphere inspires me.  The morning light spoke to me in this one.
original photo, and line sketch for painting

I am a lazy painter. I do not love drawing. I love to paint. BUT, when there is a lot of architectural stuff I do need a guide before I get all excited and lay in the paint.  I cheat.  Yes! I use tracing paper and a sharpie, but I try and keep my copy looser than the actual photo. Basically I grab the main lines and do a quick value sketch.

I stained my canvas with a thin mix of vermilion. Up-scaling the  line sketch with thin alizarin paint onto the canvas (ssshhh, dont tell anyone but I use a light box to do this, because as I said before, I'm impatient, I dont like wasting time drawing, somehow it kills my passion to get to the painting).  

yay! almost painting... but first I'm going to choose my palette.  I mostly choose lively high key pigments... two reasons, I want a light mood to my painting, and I want to play around with colours that I'm less familiar with so I feel like I'm learning something as I go. Learning = more fun!
Here they are:  warm white, indian yellow, cad orange, violet, cobalt teal, cobalt blue, vandyke brown.  I know, I know! wierd, eh?  ha ha.
Blocking in the darker values and lighter values, sets up a push pull kind of thing right from the start.  I like this push- pull, it's what artists refer to as 'a dialogue'.  For me it's the most fun part, because it allows the freedom for interpretation and individuality.  The vermilion creates a nice base for the other colours, as it seems to harmonize them as it glows through the thin paint. 
I begin to analyze the painting...  Here, I felt it might be more interesting with the addition of some life. Like what, I hear you ask.  Maybe a dog walker? Some birds? A pedestrian?  I decide maybe a student on a bicycle...after all, this neighborhood is close to the university, and I'm into bicycles lately. ha ha.

This one is 18 x 14 inches on canvas.


  1. Hi Sally, a very nice outcome with this painting. It feels great to use photo reference that has been kicking around for a while (I write about that in my book!!).
    I SO love the painting in your previous post! The horizontal strokes are gorgeous and create a wonderful overall effect.
    So nice to see the commission you did and to see what a wonderful thrill it was for the recipient! As usual you are creating such a lot of beautiful work!

  2. hi Wendy,
    thank you Wendy. funny, the horizontal strokes in the boat painting were a complete after thought because I wasn't liking how the painting was working out at all until i decided to accentuate the horizontal, then it kind of took on it's own designy life:)
    Really happy to have my new book of yours and will read it on my holiday in Vermont next week!


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