Every month I tell myself I should participate in Bill Guffey’s Virtual Paintout, but I never get past the planning stage. Google’s Street View is too addicting. I get caught up in wandering the virtual streets looking for the perfect painting location, always sure there’s a slightly better angle or view just around the corner. I keep going like a cartoon donkey following a carrot on a stick and never choose a spot. For the current Canary Islands challenge I decided to bypass information overload and just pick a spot and paint. Since I love the ocean – and frankly, didn’t want to struggle with buildings and perspective – I restricted my search to a random five mile stretch on the southern coast of the island of Tenrife.
Here’s my chosen location:
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Google uses a pod-like cluster of cameras on top of a mast on the roof of the car, so the view is much higher than normal eye level for anyone but an oversized NBA athlete. In addition, the images are taken through wide angle lenses and stitched together, so the photos are distorted in odd ways, and sometimes bits are missing. When drawing from Google Stree View, we can either make the most of the quirky distorted look, or try to get rid of it.
I don’t like my paintings to look like they were copied from photos, so I try to get rid of the distortion. Easier said than done. I try to imagine I’m there and paint from the image in my mind, rather than copy the digital image in front of me. To help with that process, I put the photo behind me on the computer screen across the room, and glanced at it as little as possible. It worked for everything but the car.
Not much in-progress work to show this week. The acrylic paint was drying fast (the painting took less than two hours) and there was no time to shoot. I started with the standard red underpainting, which you can see in the car area. My favorite spot in the painting is the area in the water below the sun where the red shows through. 🙂