The image below is the motif that attracted me to do this painting. The aspect that interested me the most was how the morning light illuminated the tower. There are four visible sides to the tower, each with a different value and temperature. Given this initial attraction, I decided that the I would make the top of the tower the focul point of interest for the painting.
In the upper right I increased the warmth of the morning light on the clouds to point toward the focal point. I did a similar thing with the darker blue regions of the sky to the left. This is illustrated by the arrows in the image below.
The painting surface is not the same size as the reference image, although it does have the same aspect ratio proportion.
In this case I did the initial drawing on bristol paper the same size as my painting surface. I first divided my paper image with a six by six grid. I then carefully drew out my image using the grids on the reference and the paper as guides. My initial drawing is pictured below.
I find doing a detailed drawing such as this very useful as a method for really understanding my motif. For example, at this time I decide what to leave out of the image, such as the sign to the rest rooms and the traffic cone! I also go through a detailed process of drawing the bricks in the tower to learn how they fit together.
The completed drawing it transferred to painting panel using tracing paper. The traced image is then sprayed with workable fixative.
Well I have not reached Michelangelo's expertise, and I find cartoons very useful. However, interestingly enough, when I get to the actual painting process, I often do not follow the cartoon drawing directly, for several reasons.
If you compare my cartoon above with the final painting below, you will find a number of discrepancies. For example, the cartoon had errors in drawing and perspective in both the windows and the angle of the bricks on the tower. These became apparent to me as i got into the detailed painting. I also did not follow the literal brick pattern of the cartoon. However, by drawing the detailed cartoon, I had learned the basic pattern and shape of the bricks, upon which I could improvise.
At the tower top there are various railings and metal cage enclosures that are hinted at. The intent is to tickle the viewer's interest without telling the whole story.
One final point to mention is the area where the dark blue gray building touches the warm sunlit face of the tower base, with the bright sky peeking in-between. This section serves to encapsulate what drives the interest of this motif, the contrasts of light and dark, and warm and cool, and it provides a subliminal message to the viewer.
As you can tell, I am fascinated with the painting process, which has so many aspects to deal with and learn!! This post has dealt with compositional considerations and the initial picture planning. Previous posts have dealt with paint mixing and pallet management. Another aspect is how to photograph your painting to give an accurate representation, which my teacher Scott Nickerson has provided invaluable insights. I will discuss some of this in future posts. Well for now I hope you find the painting process as interesting and exciting as I do!