Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trying to Be a Bit More Creative ...

This is a LONG way from any sort of finish, but it gives you an idea of the direction I'd like to take it. I'll probably do a few of these in the smaller format [ 11 x 8 in. ] to get a feel for the work. I am trying to express my feeling about Vancouver - the mountains, the ocean, a warm summer evening, screaming over the Burrard Street Bridge in my TR6. Ah, the joys of youth. I liked, no loved, Vancouver twenty years ago, before the huge influx of overseas money. It still felt like you could almost know the entire city and everybody in it [or a friend of theirs]. It's become too big, too wealthy, too ostentatious, too self-absorbed ...  I could go on, but suffice to say that it has become the 2nd most expensive city in which to live, right after Hong Kong. So I am trying to re-capture the old, beautiful Vancouver.

I am using an old 1930's photo as reference.

More inspiration for a later painting - my niece, Paulina. I'm thinking of doing a  Mona Lisa take-off.

My nephew, Julian, definitely an Elizabethan Romeo.

As always I love to hear from you!


  1. I'll be really interested to see how things progress on the Vancouver painting and the portrait front.

    Meanwhile ... back to my lush grass breakfast

  2. Sometimes I think progress is really regress :(
    But, everything changes else we stay still and stagnate. I am glad I experienced the less is more days, just as you did. Tho' I never had a TR6 - a mini clubman was me :lol:

  3. Dear Kathryn...What you wrote is very true! It can be said for all the major cities...they just become overwhelming gradually! Well...I would like to see the finished painting of your 'old' Vancouver city :)
    Happy painting!

  4. New York comes to mind. I can only take the city for three days tops. It's a mob scene of people shoulder to shoulder. There's a huge amount of wealth and also poverty. It's loud, very loud. Living quarters are tiny. New Yorkers call their costly apartments cozy; I call them claustrophobic.

    Detroit, on the other hand, has been shrunk by this recession I call a depression--and maybe that isn't a bad thing? We each have an imaginary line around us that we get uncomfortable when it's crossed and others move closer to our epicenter. Living in a less dense environment will make everyone less tense. I don't think I mind that at all.

    This bridge is beautiful--knowing your work, the painting will be too.

  5. The painting is coming out really nicely. Painting from a B&W photo must be very stimulating for one's colour sense I believe. I am sure your nephew and neice are going to love your portraits of them. Best wishes,

  6. Your mind is always thinking of creating something,, and that is so cool about you!

  7. This is definitely looking interesting and so different from your usual work...looking forward to seeing the progress. Thanks for your information about Vancouver...things often seem to evolve for the worse...why is it so ? XX

  8. It's so nice to get to the heart of the City and it's roots in your mind, stripping it of all of the other additions! I love your photo's! The Mona Lisa would be perfect for your Niece and a Romeo for your Nephew too - What a great idea :0)

  9. hey gunk. this is coming along beautifully, i love the reference shot. and your niece and nephew are just lovely, can't wait to see the paintings. thank you for your wonderfulness, i hope you're well.

  10. Hey Kathryn, I'll give my two cents here but since my experience with painting landscape is very limited, please feel free to ignore anything I said here:

    1. I like the first layers you have put down here -- the color scheme, blue and muted orange, go well in the landscape setting which a lot of browns and greys will be needed. The challenge is to keep the final colors muted but not too muted. I like how the colors are handled in Micheal Reardon's paintings of the Golden Gate Bridge (http://www.reardonwatercolors.com/1ggbnorthanchora.html). He often used this blue-orange color scheme and may be a good reference.

    2. To capture the mood about a bridge the best way, especially in the case that you do not have a close-up reference picture that shows the textures and wears and tears of the steel, it may be helpful to keep the shapes soft, and first paint them in soft glazes to give yourself a blue-print of shapes and relative values, then paint over them wet-in-wet to make them blurred out.

    3. When it comes to architecture paintings I've found often the most moving pieces are not drawn as perfectly as if it was done with rulers and straight edges. Free hand drawing with a pencil, and with a brush for some of the structural units often add charm and decrease the sense of stiffness.

    The master of painting steel bridges, when it comes to my mind, is Antonio Masi from New York. If you have time, be sure to stop by his website (http://www.antoniomasi.com/html/paintings.html) to take a look! It was a great inspiration for me... (I am trying to paint the Golden Gate Bridge this year since it is the bridge's 75th anniversary. But so far the results have been... quiet miserable to say the least ;-P. Let keep each other company and keep trying!...)