Today I thought I would share some work in progress photos of my painting Odd Man Out. I developed this large painting from a watercolor sketch I did plein air on Peel Street in Hong Kong, and photos that I took the day I did the sketch. I took the photo after I did the watercolor sketch and the lighting had changed dramatically. The hot noon-day sun was shining through the lanterns onto the sign for the shop, popping the color and making the lanterns glow, as well as creating some interesting lighting on the sign.
In the larger painting, 40” x 20.5,” I wanted to capture the light hitting the lanterns making them glow. I wanted to represent the washed out feeling of the sign behind, with the bright sunlight shining on it, which made the lanterns stand out more. All of this was juxtaposed against the cool gray concrete textural facade of the actual building, creating a play of warm against cool. Most all facades in the market streets of Hong Kong have the ubiquitous wires, tarps, pipes, grunge, and a variety of elements kluged together, for displays, to hold up awnings and signs, etc. I wanted to include some of those elements in the painting as well.
The sketch shows two lanterns with faces. But, I had the idea for the title of the painting, Odd Man Out, which made sense to use only one “face lantern.” Then after painting the Chinese Goddess figure, in the lowest purple lantern in the composition, I thought it would be fun to have the lantern with the face gazing down at her. Also, putting it where it had been in the sketch would have been too much contrast, and would have called too much attention to the very bottom of the painting. I also took some liberties with the placement and colors of the lanterns to make the composition more interesting. I don’t work directly from the photograph but use it as a guide. Photos don’t always present us with the best design for a painting. Plus, a major enjoyment for me while I paint is to recall the place and the memories of being there. If I’m so focused on a photograph, I tend to miss that opportunity.
The completed painting on the easel gives you an idea of the scale. I really enjoy working larger in watercolor!
Limited Edition Prints & Note cards available here.
20% of all sales this month go toward the relief effort for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.