Monday, November 12, 2012

Do Not Enter

"Do Not Enter", 8" x 8" watercolor on Fabriano Artistico extra white hot press paper
I was driving before work, looking for something to paint.  There were some beautiful buildings straight ahead that I had my eye on.  But then I glanced to the left and saw a parking garage.  It was much more interesting.  So I parked across the street, and began drawing in the hour before my workday was to begin. 

Every morning that I could, I parked across the street from that garage in the hour before work.  As I painted I watched the security guards in their shifts, walking out of their little room, locking the door, making their rounds and then returning again. I began to wonder whether they would ever notice me and my keen interest in their building.

It was probably the fifth morning that a young security guard finally made the trek across the street towards my car.

"Well it's about time!" I called to him.  "I wondered when you'd come."

So I showed him what I was doing.   He said with a smile that it was pretty good and returned to his station.

About ten minutes later, a white-haired security guard approached my car.  Man, I thought, first they don't see me at all and now in one day everyone notices me!

"I hear you've been painting my picture," he said.

I laughed.  "Well, I made you a bit younger," I said, showing him the picture.  "I made your hair brown."

"That's not me!" he said.  "He's just foolin' with me!"  Abruptly he returned to the garage.

Well you can't please everyone.

Here are some process pictures taken from my phone (unfortunately the first few are out of focus - sorry about that):

34 comments:

  1. Dan this is so clean and you really captured the sweeping curves of the structure.

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    1. Thanks, Mary, I had been concerned about representing the subtle curves of the building, and I am glad that I was able to pull it off.

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  2. This is a great composition and a good angle. I really like the white negative spaces played against the blue positives--the cluttered versus the totally uncluttered. I also like your choice of a parking garage that looks like the Guggenheim.

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    1. Thanks Linda! I am finally learning to use values properly in my watercolors, I think. I hope. All of the parking garages down here look like art museums, don't yours?

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  3. I like how you used the white of the paper on this.

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    1. Thanks Cathy - in the past it has been so hard for me to preserve the whites. This may be progress.

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  4. Thats so funny, I can relate to that... I have something (subject) in mind but its the totally different thing that finally makes it on paper : ) You really found a great building and I really like the lines of it, and the colours and the shading (the top right corner is my favourite, I really love the texture of it white and the soft lines).

    Really great piece!!!

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    1. Thanks Mari, I'm glad you like the way I painted this. It was the challenge. I think it's fun that you like the top right corner of the painting. You never know what someone will like or not like in a piece, do you?

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  5. Hi Dan!
    Excellent title, it caught my attention plus I like the sense of humor. It's exciting to see what you were able to do with the not-so- "simple" subject of a parking garage. I particular like the contrast of the big, geometric shapes of the structure with the smaller, organic shapes of the person and vegetation. You're an excellent story teller, visually and verbally!

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    1. I thought you'd appreciate this because of the geometry of it. This is what seems to attract me to all of the urban scenes of late - the geometry. Thank you!

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  6. wow---so complex...but you did it and did it justice too. I like the uber subtle shades of white (pink/blue) that describe the white. Probably my favorite thing about it is the "Do Not Enter" sign! You did a masterful job of it. The parking garage guy sounds a little strange...but that's the great thing about sketching "live" you get to meet the most interesting people! Excellent work!

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    1. The "Do Not Enter" sign is the last thing I did, and the only thing that I did not do on sight. I needed some care, and a table for that one. Thanks for appreciating the subtle changes in the white. I am always so complimented when there is something in a painting that you appreciate.

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  7. Fantastic drawing! I love it :) it's such a common subject but you've made it something special and fun to look at. I am crazy for details and this one's got tons of them. Thanks Dan for your comments

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    1. So much for simplifying, eh? I have been trying to simplify everything I do. In fact, if you look at the details closely, they are simplified, if that makes sense. But there are a lot of them. In this piece I made and exception because to me it was the complexity that really made the scene.

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  8. Only you could make this ubiquitous structure fun and so interesting. The colors you've chosen for the whites...fabulous. Of course, the story is a huge component of the painting/sketch...

    Hope you can find more time to spend drawing and blogging. I miss your postings.

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    1. Thanks, Joan, for appreciating the whites - that was the part I was most anxious about. As for story being a huge component of the painting, I hope the story brings one in, but also hope that the painting speaks for itself. Thanks for missing my postings. I do not post as much as I want to because of my schedule, and hope to do more.

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  9. I've been trying to catch up with everyone's blogs. I just went through yours and as always, I Love what you've been doing, especially your new people series. I always enjoy your little stories as well. nancy

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    1. Nancy!! We've missed you! Thanks for liking my people series. I have a new excitement about the series and there will be many, many more.

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  10. Wonderful work, love the play of light and shadow... the curved lines and your perspective is spot on.... It is nice to hear that the 'guards' did eventually wonder what you were up to... lucky for them you were just an artist and not some shady character out to do them harm.

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    1. Honestly, Captain, in four days I could have gotten quite a lot of info if I had a nefarious purpose - they took too long. Thanks for appreciating the light and lines. The perspective - mostly right, I'm not sure I got it perfectly, but perfection is boring.

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  11. Well, you got the last laugh! Enjoyed hearing how you took several days to complete this project. I'm learning that all these super pieces are not done in 45 minutes.

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  12. Fun story. Thanks for sharing that when you posted the drawing. Good for you, squeezing in the opportunity to paint!

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    1. This is, unfortunately, how I have done it for years now. If I didn't squeeze in time, I wouldn't paint. Thanks for your comment!

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  13. You're really good with white buildings ( there must be a deep meaning here)--I checked back to the two you posted in July. I love the shape of the garage and how you make me look twice; first at the entrance, then at the upper story. I thought this was a large work until I looked at the dimensions. Wonderful work, Don.

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    1. Pretty neat that you checked back. I know I announced the figurative ones as a series, but I kind of think of these buildings as a series too. Not necessarily the white ones only. They are an exploration into geometry and composition, I think. Thanks for your compliments on the piece!

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  14. And I do know that your name is DAN (as in Dan's Canvas)!!

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    1. And of course I know yours too, Holly. ;)

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  15. WOW, I can't believe all the detail in such a small space. You are sincerely talented; I don't think I would have had the nerve to try all that white. thank you so much for sharing the process, I really appreciated knowing it took more that a few minute - I always feel like the super-talented knock stuff out in a heartbeat!
    Linda B.

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    1. Super-talented = mucho practice. That's all there is too it. I don't know if I could have done it a year ago, but I can do it now! Looks like I'm surprising folks about how slow and plodding I am - I should have kept you all in the dark so it would seem like magic! :) Thanks Linda B.

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  16. Really lovely painting style but oh my goodness, what dedication. An hour before work! And that's hilarious about the guards. Great story and great painting!

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    1. It's not dedication really. It's a hunger, plain and simple. I have to paint. I have to draw. And I would spend my workday doing this if I could. Thanks!

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  17. Great painting and story Dan. As Cindy said "what dedication"!!!!

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    1. Well Sue, I've seen your complex ink drawings, I am certainly no more dedicated than you. Thanks!

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