Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Weeee!   sometimes a painting can paint itself.     Once in awhile an image captures my eye in a millisecond, and I can visualize painting it from beginning to end in a flash.   I followed Karen Whitley -painter, photographer and traveller extrodinare -  on Facebook KarenWhitley.blogspot.com   , and I came across photos of her recent trip to Germany, and instantly this one called out to be painted.   Each photo was more exciting than the last.          This is from Karen: "I took the picture at the Marienplatz in Munich. Platz means plaza in German. The Marienplatz is the center of the "Old Town" or historic section, it is were the Glockenspiel clock is."        She generously allowed me to use the photo for a painting.  I wish I was smart enough to know how to get it from Facebook to here, but look her up if you're on Facebook for the wonderful album of Munich Germany.           1. So here is the process....Karen had it nicely composed in her camera.   A streak of light coming across the flower market and highlighting the people was the scene that captured me.     The awnings of the tents were strange but simple shapes so I added them early.    Simple tick marks locate windows.    The first photo shows a general triangle composition.   I added a light fluid wash of raw sienna to unify the scene, and wiped it back to white with a rag where the light was lightest.    While the brush was damp but not loaded with fat paint I squiggled in parts of the people where they are dark.  That pointed arch repeats the triangle that Karen saw in her camera.         2.The second photo shows paint filling in the stone plaza with something colorful, yet the right value for the floor.   That squiggle on the left is a guy on the phone, and his shape with bicycles anchors that side of the painting.   If you can click on the images you'll see drippy darks.         3. Third scene shows the walls filled in. I was searching for the corner to give us a reference point - there isn't much difference there in warm, cool or value.   Bright blue adds a touch on the window above the arch, and the paint here is straight paint- thick and juicy after the thin beginning.        4. I worked on letting the walls settle into the plaza floor, glopping on colors for the flowers (palette knife), shaping up the vases, making the side of the awning, clarifying the lightest lights, pushing some of the medium values on the walls, and letting some neutrals make the colors pop.                   5. In the last phase I slowed down, clarifying the guy on the phone, the bicycles, pushing and pulling the colors of the flowers,  adding bodies to the people squiggles(like that turquoise jacket), adding the vendor in the tent and giving him highlights, putting distance by perspective in the archway, and adding the stripes on the red tent.    Then the line of the pots looked too severe, so I swooshed them away with the side of a brush so they wouldn't look like soldiers.

Flowerstall 11x14, oil on linen board
Thanks for a wonderful trip, Karen!

1 comment:

  1. Robin,

    WOW! I LOVE IT!!! I barely have my bags unpacked and you already have a painting done from my trip! I love the way you captured the light and color! Great job, as always!!!

    Karen Whitley