So I started this 30"x40" painting on a birch panel with a 1-5/8 cradle, a while ago. It was based on a photograph of the intersection at Sloat and 45th Avenue. I drove around taking pictures from out of my windshield as the sun set. I was looking for interesting shadows and things that break up the sky. San Francisco is a beautiful place, but the things I am looking for are kind of mundane and everyday, and could be found in any city. I like power lines, traffic lights, and odd silhouettes. I am looking for abstract views of the city. My thinking is I don't want to end up with a landscape painting (but of course that is exactly what I will end up with), however, that is not what draws my eye. Like most painters, I am thinking about light, composition and space. These are my favorite elements.
Also, as some people know, I have recently been toying with the idea of going looser and more abstract with my work. Ha! It is easier said than done for a compulsive person like me. I don’t even know what questions to ask, except for “when is it finished?” I figure a painting like that could go on forever. It would be fun, but really exhausting. In any case, here I am showing my first efforts.
|The first day was a refinement of a sketch that was full of earth tones and very drippy. I painted the sky my usual mixture of Naples yellow, flake white, raw umber, a little cerulean blue, dammar, linseed oil and safflower oil. (The safflower oil was intended to slow the drying time, and was volunteered by my studio mate and paint mixologist Scott Inguito, www.scottinguito.com. He is an expert in old master techniques and arcane solvents. Want to know how Rembrandt did it? Ask Scott. He also does wonderful paintings of El Caminos with and without burnouts.) I planned to hit the yellow the next day with a mixture of cerulean blue, flake white, and black, lightly applied with a long bristled, bristle brush. The plan was that the firmed up yellow would show through the alternating grooves with the blue and create this iridescent shimmering sky. The lamp posts and such needed to be wet so that their edges were not sharp against the sky, the two hues of paint lying on top of each other, but rather possessing a furred quality, as if the lamp posts were embedded in the sky.|