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Friday, June 27, 2014

Loose Painting and New Orleans

A painter's "style" doesn't develop overnight.  I am no exception.  It has taken years to narrow in on what thrills me when I paint.  Ultimately, I aim for bold, loose, and border line sloppy as I balance reality with abstraction. 
Architecture is a painting subject that normally demands precision, but I push it into a less precise form on purpose.  Especially when I paint any New Orleans streets or buildings.  Buildings in that famous city are frequently old, sagging and battered.   That's what gives The Big Easy such charm.  It is a perfect city to paint loosely.
I recently painted Streets of New Orleans with acrylics and photographed the various stages as I went along.   I had painted this scene before so I was more confident and more able to paint freely.
Here is a fast and furious start.  I don't draw anything, I just jump right in with blocking in the basic shapes.

I then work on some of the distant buildings keeping the background light in order to lend some depth to the painting. 

I didn't like the bright blue on the front buildings so I covered those areas with warmer color.
I also lightened the sidewalks.

Here is my palette with my selection of colors.  Notice the rich greys.  I don't use a ready made grey paint on the palette because it is possible to make beautiful greys from combinations of complimentary colors, such as blue and orange in this instance.  This helps keep the painting harmonious.

I add the smaller details at this point;  windows in the distant buildings, lights on the closer buildings and reflections on the pavement.

Final version of Streets of New Orleans (acrylic on canvas, 14 inches by 11 inches, copyright Mona Vivar).  Balconies have been added as well as additional reflections on the pavement.

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