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Day 12 : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Return to Rio!

June 12, 2020

Day 12:

What can I say about this one hey?

I like it!

I mean – I’m back in my happy place.

It took a week of pushing paint, but I’m feeling the flow. The return to fluency with the brush. And the ability to visualize the painting I want, when I’m looking at a ‘random’ street scene.

There’s a lot of mental corrections to reality going on – when you compare the painting to the photo below.

Besides removing the city, (returning us to 1910) and inventing an expressive sky, I’m subtly distorting the perspective and spacing to make the architecture more – I guess more elegant – more ‘rising above the street’. And simplified – into the almost orthographic perspective I enjoy.

I’ve also established a strangely dominant ground plane, and used the brush work everywhere around the focus to make a kind of frothy, windblown movement. And I’m trying to reduce all the street-life to brushwork abstractions that imply people. You feel their presence, but none of them are portraits. (Similar I suppose to the little people in Mr. Tram (Day 06)).

This one has the freedom that I would expect out of my own plein-air paintings. Which is about time – here on day 12!

Here’s the reference – Laurel’s photo of the opera house in Rio di Janerio.

I should say – I’ve messed up this image in Photoshop. Mainly to reduce values into silhouettes. I’ve squashed all the detail in the trees, and clamped out many of the specular highlights. (Glints). This is all just curves control layers. It’s only a few minutes work in photoshop, and it’s ‘non-destructive’. You can’t ruin your photo.

I know this might sound like a daunting step if you’ve never tried – but anyone who paints from photos should experiment with Photoshop – or an app like ProCreate on the ipad. It’ll only take an afternoon of trying out adjustments and color corrections and you’ll be on your way.

Funny story – I was told this theater in Rio is an exact copy of the opera house in Paris. I’ve been going around repeating that story to everyone. But I did a little research, and I don’t think that’s the case. In fact, the Theatro Municipal in Sao Paulo looks much closer to the Opera Garnier in Paris. There’s some kind of historical game of telephone going on there that I’m not going to bother untangling.

Ok – I’ll leave you with some close ups of brush work!


6 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindsay Friedlander permalink
    June 12, 2020 8:29 AM

    Lovely work. your brushwork is singing!

  2. June 12, 2020 11:46 AM

    Great article! I’m liking your evolution process of getting things to look watery, hence modifying and supplementing your signature style. And the close ups of the brush strokes are very helpful. I may try out this same scene :)

  3. June 12, 2020 5:07 PM

    Great painting, Marc!
    Is it neutral tint for the foliage and which colors did you use in the building? Potter’s Pink?
    Thanks so much!

    • June 13, 2020 10:04 AM

      The base color in the foliage is Perlyne Green, probably with some of the Tyrian Purple and Neutral Tint that are the shadow colors. In the building, that looks like Naples Yellow, Buff Titanium, some Nickle Titanate Yellow – (which is mixed with blue to make the green domes for sure) and the pinkiness is probably tiny amounts of Pyrrol Orange into that warm white mix – same orange we see in more direct dabs in on the middle right side).

  4. Barbara Pelly permalink
    June 15, 2020 10:02 PM

    I love your painting of the opera house- especially the colors. What colors did you use for the sky to get that subtle effect.

    • June 17, 2020 11:01 AM

      That’s Buff Titanium (an off-white) and probably a tiny tiny hint of Nickle Titanate Yellow. Then the ‘clouds’ are Grey of Grey from Holbein. It looks like some of the Pyrrol orange in the dome on the left might have infiltrated as well.

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