This week’s post has been inspired by yet another trawl through my photography archives. I’m really pleased that I haven’t deleted any of my photos, even though at the time I took them I saw little value in them in terms of subject material. Not for the first time, I managed to fine inspiration in images that I’ve often previously overlooked – sometimes because of their subject matter or composition but often because I don’t feel confident enough to tackle a subject.
This week’s paintings are based on a number of images that, while I’ve previously paused on them, I’ve never quite been sure whether I can do them justice or not. Even after having painted them, I’m still not sure whether I can do them justice or not – but I’m going to share them here anyway!
I’m showing the images here in the order that I painted them. Each painting gave me the desire and, sometimes the confidence to tackle the next subject. I find it interesting that, as well as this being the order in which I painted them, this also happens to be my order of preference. As ever however, I’d love to hear what others think as you may well have completely different views and preferences!
First up then, a view that was close to the apartment we stayed in in the Gothic Quarter:
Even though my expectations at the outset of this were pretty low, I’m still surprised at pleased I am with how this turned out!
There’s a lot of simplification from the original photo and I’ve moved around the figures a bit but the ‘feel’ of it, the quality of light, is petty accurate to the source material.
While the figures aren’t what I’d call my best, I decided not to meddle with them. They were all done quickly, including the shadows, and I like the looseness and energy of them and how they work to hold the attention in the composition.
This set me off in search of more untapped potential!
I was attracted to this image because (as usual) the quality of the light, but also because I thought it would be challenging to try to maintain the colour harmony. To achieve something that read ok, using predominantly yellows and oranges.
I think some parts of this worked better than others, and again, I’m not so sure about all of the figures (especially the long line of figures from the right leading into the painting) but it was fun to paint this.
Here’s a different crop of it too that I think makes it a little more interesting and highlights the focal point, where there is the strongest contrast between light and dark, around the awning and figures milling around a cafe or bar.
This final one was done with incredible haste! It’s one that I felt went wrong quite early on, so much so I had a real wobble about whether to continue with it at all. I just wasn’t really ‘feeling it’ – but I’m also glad that I persevered.
By giving up hope on it quite early on, it gave me a slight devil may care attitude. I think this lead to a degree of careless heavy-handed-ness, but it also felt good to rescue it a little bit, to make a little something out of nothing.
And here are the three together. I quite seeing them like this. Totally by accident, they seem to complement one another.
What was also great about this was immersing myself in a different time and place – in what now seems like an unimaginably carefree time.
It still all feels such a long way away before we’ll be able to enjoy such seemingly simple pleasures!
I’m wondering if Paris might be next on my list of places to revisit!?