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Day 26 : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Market Day in Siem Reap

June 26, 2020

Day 26: Market Day in Siem Reap.

After the last two found photos, I felt ready to take on these market scenes from our trip to Cambodia.

The combination of the dark silhouettes and the jumbled complexity of the environment – I felt like this would be great material for design abstraction – while telling a good story at the same time.

I’m posting this on day 26, but in reality Uma and I tried to get our #30 done in two weeks. (17 days for me to finish).

At this point I’d struggled with my chosen subjects – fully light-to-dark images with dramatic contrasts. I’ve chopped through some busy, (impossibly busy) scenes. I’ve given myself quite a workout :) But I can say I’ve never tried to paint something like this.

And don’t get me wrong – it’s not a great painting. It’s not something I’d ever hang on my wall. It might look like a scene out of a graphic novel, but it’s certainly not a good painting.

But! – after two weeks of this, I can say, I’m hitting darks in one stroke. I’m seeing silhouettes and welding shapes when I need too. I’m controlling sharp vs. soft edges – and I’m making some artistic choices – this one turns out to be a painting about light through a plastic bag.

Or possibly it’s a painting about this silver bowl. This is one of my favorite silver bowls I’ve ever painted :)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2020 6:56 AM


  2. Sally permalink
    June 26, 2020 7:37 AM

    I’m curious. It looks like you have some pencil marks in your paintings or are they done free hand. I like these today.

  3. June 26, 2020 8:48 AM

    Fantastic—I love it!


  4. Carla Giller permalink
    June 26, 2020 9:42 AM

    Hi Marc ~ I’m struggling with a Vietnamese market scene like this myself, and it IS certainly a struggle. I’ve actually mulled it around in my head for years before even attempting to paint it! I’m curious about how you approached it? Did you do an underpainting on this one? Did you move around between lights and darks, or did you first do all the lights, then all the darks? I love how you took care of the background noise by making it abstract. Any suggestions about your approach on this would be so helpful. (BTW, I took your workshop in Chicago a few years ago and really really loved it!)

    • June 26, 2020 11:53 AM

      I approached it like an alla prima painting. There was a loose gesture sketch on the paper. Next a light wash of the pinks under the whole sky and ‘meat’ table. Then when that dried, I just began blocking shapes. One at a time, trying to paint the final color in one go. The close up of the fan kind of shows it best. Blocking “Fused Shapes” over top of the base wash. Much like an Alla Prima oil painting. I didn’t realize it, but the time I spent with Direct Watercolor lead me to oils, and now, going back to watercolor, it’s becoming a unified theory of panting :)

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