Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anatomy of a Street Painting Part 1

So I've wanted to share the process of putting together a street painting for a while now - except every painting I've done, I've either not thought about it until after the fact, or get too lazy while posting and decide to skip sharing all the planning steps.

Either way, this is the planning stages for the painting I'll be doing for Festa Italiana this year locally in London, Ontario. The past few years, I've had the honor of creating another 'masterpiece' for their annual Italian festival. This year they requested a painting of Michelangelo's infamous David so in response, I put together this image:

I should note, that as of 11:00 this morning, this painting was substantially simpler. Originally I was going to go with a painting of the statue, with some grape vines at the bottom to add some colour. That was, until my roommate Jess came home from work several hours later. He's always bursting with ideas (and critiques) for everything I do...

He suggested some Italian architecture or some landscape. Through the power of photoshop and google, we collaged an aqueduct with a photo of a classic Italian vineyard and some beautiful hillside. I don't have credit for the photos, so if you see yours here, be proud to be a part of my final painting ;)

Anyway, I feel this may be a tad overly ambitious, but I guess I'm that kind of girl... The weather for this weekend is suppose to be beautiful (try and plan accordingly!) and I can always cut out elements as I need to. It's good to plan for more and do less, than have less and then finish your gig wayyyyy too early (funny, when they pay you for multiple days of painting, they expect multiple days of painting!).

I must point out that all references are used loosely. Often I use photos, but I also sometimes use original drawings or other elements of different paintings and things as well. I find with street painting, because you're creating work under such time constraints, that it is best to have a plan, especially in regards to your composition. It sucks to try and figure things out last minute because with the crowd, the heat, and the noise, you already have enough to deal with. I'll be armed with close-up shots of difficult areas, including the face, hands, feet, as well as a print-out of just the oval portion and several photo references of grape leaves to fill in the areas at his feet.

For the actual painting of the image, I add a grid that will correspond with the drawing once it gets on pavement. Usually I block it into 1 foot squares (such as this one), though occasionally I'll do 6 inch squares over difficult or highly detailed areas. Sometimes, if there's a lot of room in the image to play, I just map out important compositional markers (like thirds, halfs, diagonals, and/or circles) and just draw out from there.

Anyway, I'm admittedly nervous about the work but I usually am (I get grossly underwhelmed with my references when I piece them together - much more comforting and easier to just re-paint some old masters' painting). But I'm sure it'll be fine once I get into the groove of the painting and start seeing it develop.

So if you're out there, come visit me and bring water or a nice cold coffee! Saturday and Sunday at the Covent Garden Market. And cross your fingers for sunny weather, and more-importantly, that I don't get trampled by too many absent-minded pedestrians.

1 comment:

  1. That was, until my roommate Jess came home from work several hours celulares desbloqueados later. He's always bursting with ideas (and critiques) for everything I do...