Sunday, March 11, 2012

Two for the Road

5" x 9-1/2" watercolor on 140 lb. paper
Deadlines, Deadlines. The other day, Terry Miura asked at his blog, "Are you waiting till the last minute so as to set yourself up for failure and cushion your fall with the excuse, 'I just ran out of time...'?"

No! I answered.  Absolutely not!  I knew that I finally needed to complete his Cityscape Challenge.

His challenge is posted here - to paint and simplify a scene using a random street in San Francisco as a reference - and from the moment I saw the photo I was intrigued by it.  One reason for this is because Frank Eber does this kind of scene all of the time in watercolor (see his New York streets here), and his goal and Terry Miura's goal is the same:  SIMPLIFY!  And both are very successful at it.  If you visit their blogs, you too will be the beneficiary of their generously-shared knowledge.  And witness to their great art.

Of course knowing is not the same as doing and the most successful parts of this picture were where I actually paid attention and tried to follow their learned advice.  In the least successful parts I would not only forget to simplify, but would also forget what medium I was using - I was practically scrubbing the paper in parts, with watercolor!  Don't know what came over me, really.

2-5/8" x 9" (lol)
It might be that I've been working in acrylic lately (I can't wait to show you.)  Might be that I shouldn't start painting after hours of yard work.

Excuses, I know.  But I can't help myself.

I set up my paper to draw a big swath of buildings on the side, and decided, for the composition, and to humanize the picture, to place a man crossing the street on the page.  With the buildings, though, I really lost it - simplicity out the window (er, out all of the windows.)  So I sat staring at the completed piece, not really satisfied, and suddenly I saw two much better pictures were I to simply to cut the page vertically, just so.  And that's what I did. On the right is the other picture, cut from the left.  So that the first picture that you saw on the left, was on the right, and the second picture that you see on the right was on the left, capisce?

So that's about it.  No poetry, no witticisms, nothing particularly clever to say  today.  Sorry about that.  This picture left me high and dry.  And I had to meet that deadline.  If 99% is simply showing up, at least I did that.  And I left having learned a thing or two. 

'Till next time..

25 comments:

  1. I'm very impressed! It appears to me that you really did simplify - nice loose drawing/brushstrokes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome paintings! Really.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well they both are beautiful, Dan . . . no "crashing and burning" here! I like the way you've simplified . . . it's just right! And don't get ME started on the cars!! They are great!! They are marvelous! Beautiful work. Can't wait to see your acrylics . . . I am learning (struggling with :-) them, too!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great work Dan, I looked at the challenge a week or so ago and decided it extremely difficult. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the way you saved this....very very nice results.

    ReplyDelete
  6. These 2 are certainly loose and you have done far more than just turn up!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Simplification is also very hard for me. You did a wonderful job with this ... the cars, the buildings, even the man! Good for you!!! nancy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Capisce Dan. I like both. They do not look overly detailed; they look terrific. Cityscapes are such fun; they invite the loose handling of the paint. It's the vigor of urban life I think.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello Dan,
    Very nice painting/paintings. The problem is always what to simplify. What to keep and what to loose.
    Thank you for the links.
    Fantastic!
    Stew.
    stewcrowther.wordpress.com
    _________________________

    ReplyDelete
  10. Capisce. I love reading about the thought and process behind your work.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Man, I love that man on the right--er--left. I do want to pick him up like a puzzle piece and see how he looks with the rest of the painting.

    I've been following (from a distance) Terry Miura's blog about simplifying, and your painting is wonderful. I considered trying it but I ran out of time.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Glad that you did not run out of time!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think it is fabulous, Dan! especially how you cropped it! And thanks for the link to Terry Miura's site. Looks wonderful and I can't wait to check it out more thoroughly. I've already joined his mailing list! I think I went to Frank Eber's site from a link you gave before too, and after going there I did a quick city sketch in my sketchbook. It was small and I decided part way through that I didn't really want to finish it, but instead I just simplified. It surprised me how much I liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Awesome drawings Dan. I love the use of colors and the vagueness in it, giving a lot of room for imagination but making sure that you're not lost. =) Fantastic package!

    ReplyDelete
  15. One of the best things you've done! Love this!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Dan, Congratulations on participating in the challenge! It was fun seeing your posting on Terry's blog (ooo! there's Dan! I know that artist!) I particularly like how your paint dances across the paper; masterful!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I really have to do one of these challenges...looks like fun! I love both paintings...you did a great job! I especially love the cars!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your first picture (the one on the left that was originally on the right), is amazing. It's perfect, balanced, it conveys a real atmosphere. You've become really awesome at watercolor, I'm awed!
    Also, I love your green series very much, for the same reasons, and the poetry (inside and outside the pictures!).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Gorgeous. I like your long this format. It's rare to see alternative paper sizes with watercolour. Very refreshing.
    Keep your paints wet!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Fantastic work Dan! Congrats on finishing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well I think you did a very successful painting, and it looks fantastic even though you cut it almost in half... But a lot of great pictures are created that way (parts look fantastic on their own). And I have to say you did a smashing job on the cars, I just cant draw or paint them, they are one of the very hardest things to put on papper for me.

    Great piece Dan!!!

    I hope all is well down in FL, cheers

    Mari

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow, that car fender with tail lights in your lower right corner is masterfully painted!
    Keep going...

    ReplyDelete
  23. They both look great! I haven't been brave enough yet to try painting a street scene in watercolour!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you all so much. It is nice to receive so many wonderful comments on a painting (paintings?) I was so unsure about.

    ReplyDelete