My answer to Karin Jurick‘s Different Strokes City Rooftops challenge. Thank you, Karin, for another versatile reference photo. The shot was taken from her hotel room in San Francisco, which reminded of Gerry Beckley’s (America) “View From The Hotel” series of photographs. He shoots the view from every hotel on tour, even if it’s just a parking lot, then catalogs everything by date on his website. Very cool. These kind of shots remind me that it’s the more mundane views from our travels that are often the most interesting in retrospect.
This was a fun painting to tackle. Here are a few shots taken along the way:
First I laid down an undercoat of acrylic in greyed purple-ish tones found in one of the buildings in the background. (It’s also the color of my bedroom.) Most of the foreground buildings will be yellow, so setting up a complementary color scheme early will hopefully keep the colors harmonious.
A loose drawing in grey marker went over the top of the acrylic. Even though this won’t be an abstract, I’m looking for shapes that would be pleasing and balanced if abstracted.
These next few shots were taken in the studio at night with little color correction, so they look warmer than they actually are.
Next I start to apply the oil paint with a 1″ slant brush. Usually I try not to premix my paints much, but on this one I am because the colors are so delicate, and the values are so important. I’m even using a value card to get those values right.
Here’s a color I love: Naples yellow! Mixed with titanium white, it’s like creamy sunshine. It makes me happy just looking at it. I don’t use yellow ochre. Though many artists use it successfully, it’s dull and heavy in my hands.
Finally, I get to paint the metal thingies on the roof! I love painting metal. I’ve taken some artistic license and made them shinier than galvanized steel, more like stainless, just ’cause I love painting shiny things
Oopsy, some of those horizontal lines aren’t very horizontal – gotta fix that!
The final piece, shot outdoors and color balanced so it’s as accurate as possible. (Though I was kinda loving the red tones.)
I don’t know what time of day Karin took her photo, but I’ve been trying to portray the pale lemony light of early morning in San Francisco, with a bit of fog hovering in the distance.
If I’d been doing this image purely as a cityscape, I think I would have left off some of the fussier details, like the metal bands (probably an earthquake retrofit) on the building on the right. But in an abstract state of mind, I sought out and emphasized repeating shapes and rhythms, and those bands gave me an opportunity for a nice vertical rhythm. I tried to hit every number between one and six when I chose how many items to put in each group of images. Maybe it’s just me, but I believe this creates a rhythm which is pleasing in a Sesame Street kind of way.