March 30, 2011
looking and seeing
Street Corner Preacher
18" x 24" oil on canvas
Just before I finished this painting today I decided to add a crow. Though I feel like I'm still drifting at sea creatively, I just realized that there's a thematic thread in my recent paintings after all: bricks and crows. What can it all mean?
I don't usually paint in such a realistic manner (though my work often has significant elements of realism) but I felt like I was taking a risk by painting unfamiliar subject matter (urban street scene) in a still new-to-me medium (oil paint) so wanted to reduce the risk of failure by taking the focus off style and relying fairly heavily on a single reference photo. I actually think the photo works better. I was standing across the street on a very anonymous industrial drag and it just leaped out at me. I found it on Google Street View just now so you can see how modest and unobtrusive the corner of this building is. You can also see the graffiti that had been removed by the time I took the photo:
I knew it would be a keeper once I framed it in my viewfinder. I've never used one of my really good photos as reference and painted a painting that outshines it. Photography is still underrated as an art form and I think this illustrates it. Also, the fact that I use my camera all the time significantly impacts the way I see things and therefore how I paint and draw.