Warm air from the south has arrived in the Hudson Valley. The last remnants of winter have nearly vanished, except for one small pile of snow at the end of my neighbor's driveway.
I'm thinking about fire devouring ice when I start this street scene. How can I convey that feeling?
I open my sketchbook to a page that is pre-painted with blue tones. The blue color is casein: titanium white mixed with cerulean blue. I allow it to dry for a couple of days so the paint surface is closed. The blue will serve nicely as a complementary base for a picture in browns and oranges.
Here's what the surface looks like when I start. I sketch in the lines with a reddish-brown water-soluble colored pencil.
Now I dive in with gouache. I could have used casein or acrylic—anything opaque. Starting with the sky, I apply warm colors with a flat brush. I cover the surface, careful to leave some blue areas showing through, especially on that windshield. I want that car to be the focal point.
I don't hesitate to cover up the lines of the underdrawing. I can find everything again with the brush.
I add more reddish-brown darks on the car and the awning at left. I try to keep any extreme darks from intersecting the sky. I want to achieve the feeling that the skylight is flaring across nearby forms and devouring them, as if the sticks and branches are tossed into the furnace.
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes about "the fire, vital, consecrating, celestial, which burns until it shall dissolve all things into the waves and surges of an ocean of light."
Here's a detail about as wide as the "shift" key on your computer. Those highlights on the car were blinding.
See, I'm squinting! You can scroll back up to see the final painting.
"Painting is drawing with the added complication of colour and tone" Harold Speed – The Practice & Science of Drawing In this light and shadow series we look at the theory, drawing and painting of a simple form focusing on shadow, light and edges. Part 1 we looked at the theory of light and shadow. […] ----