Back to the cars again. This is another sketch for exploring ideas for a painting. The subject is an American Bantam sedan. American Bantams were cars built on license from Austin, an automotive manufacturer in England in the 1930's. Even though the cars were very inexpensive, even cheaper than the Model T Ford was more than 10 years earlier they did not sell well and so today are very rare, so I was very excited when I saw this car at a car show a couple years ago. I chose to put the car in a rural setting in autumn.
It's been way too long since I painted outdoors, I rectified that situation today and spent the afternoon painting by the pond in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. The weather was about as perfect as it gets, plenty of sun, only a slight breeze and temperatures in the mid 70's. I hardly had to mist my acrylics to keep them workable. There was only one catch, I accidently packed Cobalt blue instead of Ultramarine blue. It all still worked out fine but as you can see Cobalt blue definitely gave my greens a different look.
I hardly had to move to get both of these views, in fact there were several others from this spot that would make good paintings so I'll definitely return. I'm sure the fall colors here will be spectacular!
Though my usual state of mind is one of low to moderate confidence on occasion I think I get a little over confident, it's rare but it does happen, I think last week was one of those rare occasions. I started a painting that required combining two images to create the composition for the one painting. The lighting direction is different in the two images to boot. So what did I do? I went straight into the painting......and ended up with an ugly duckling. I got about an hour and a half into the painting and realized the painting was going nowhere. This wasn't just the usual "ugly stage" that artists talk about but rather the composition was just flat out uninteresting. So, I threw the painting in the "redo" bin and licked my wounds and started a different painting a couple days later that didn't require compositing photos. After being away from the concept a few days it occurred to me that the idea wasn't a bad one, I just needed to do more planning. So, I looked at more photos of the car and decided another angle was a better, more interesting one and rather than just jump in and start a painting again I made a comprehensive preparatory sketch;
Yep, you guessed it, that's the same car from the car show sketch I did last week that I sold to the owner. I made a couple changes though. I put a hood on it and I changed the wheel cover style. The background is from a photo I took at the Utah State Fairgrounds last year. I'm pretty happy with this, now I think I can start a painting with some confidence that it will work out.
I attended a car show today, didn't know if I was going to sketch at it though. It was a hot day and the layout of the show didn't provide for a lot of sketching opportunities but I decided to tough it out and do a couple sketches.
Yep, that's a '56 Ford Country Squire woody wagon with surf boards mounted on top......in Utah. You see lots of interesting displays at car shows, even if they might be incongruous with location. I had no shade to sketch this one from, I was directly facing the hot sun, is this what they mean by "suffering for your art"?
I also sketched this really cool 1936 Ford custom, talk about "In the weeds"
You might have noticed that this is a photo taken of the sketch in dappled shade rather than a scan. The reason? The owner of the car bought the sketch right out of the sketchbook, a first for me.
It occurred to me in the middle of making my latest painting that the palette of colors I've been using this year had shifted the colors in my paintings to be very bright and saturated, especially the greens. While generally speaking there is nothing wrong with bright, saturated colors I don't really think that's my style, at least it hadn't been until this year. I think maybe I really prefer a more natural look so I decided to return to a more limited palette that is just three primaries plus two earth colors and white, this is the result;
Colors in nature tend to be less saturated, except for flowers of course. I think the colors and tones in this painting are more accurate than most of my latest paintings have been. I also think the less saturated colors result in a calmer feeling which I think suits the subject well. What do you think?
This painting is based on a photo I took during my sketching trip at the Middle Provo River near Heber City, Utah that I blogged about a couple weeks ago. I had to walk this path to get to another part of the river where I made the sketch of the cottonwood trees. I was struck by the idea of having two clear lead-ins into the painting, one land and one water.
And continuing with the automotive theme this week I have a couple pencil sketches to share.
Few things are more iconic of the hey of drag racing in the early 60's than a nose-up Willys "gasser". I was very excited to see this car parked at the car show I attended last night. Attendance was light due to iffy weather so I had plenty of room to set up with a good view of this very cool car.
I found this '41 Ford hot rod sporting wild flames at the other end of the parking lot. The rain showers started to resume during the latter part of the sketch. A graphite pencil doesn't work well on moist paper but I struggled through the finish, though a collision between a rain drop and my pencil did result in one blemish on the roof.
Mother Nature just isn't playing nice this week. Not only did she mess with my sketching activities last night she has dumped copious amounts of liquid on the Bonneville Salt Flats. I was planning on attending Speed Week for the first time ever this weekend but it looks unlikely the course will dry out in time.
Here are a couple photos I took at the car show last night.
This is a '41 Plymouth 5 window coupe. It looks like the owner has lowered it a bit, installed modern wheels and tires and installed spotlights but otherwise it appears to be stock.
Another mildly modified car, a '63 Ford Thunderbird. The wheels have "baby moon" wheel covers install as well as the addition of "lake pipes" and spotlights, what else does a 60's thunderbird need?