Friday, August 23, 2013


Artists who follow my blog often comment that they enjoy seeing the original subject matter that inspired my paintings. For their benefit I thought I’d share the background on this one.

To many artists the edge of a parking lot may not seem like a suitable subject for a painting. But when I saw this I was struck by the light and shadow on the cars and the interesting background that included a giant palm tree.

It seemed to have potential so I quickly did a rough pencil sketch to clarify my thoughts about what I wanted to include in the composition.

Using the sketch as a guide I launched confidently into my painting.

I had decided to use a very loose, painterly brush technique in this painting and simplify much of the background. The pattern of light and dark values of the cars had initially caught my eye, and that’s what I wanted to emphasize.

I’m including detail images of the cars and also the distant palm tree so you can see this effect more clearly.

After completing this painting I pulled out my camera and shot a photo of how the scene had changed while I was painting.

I was glad I had done the initial rough sketch because by this time several cars had moved and been replaced by others.

I often caution my Plein Air Workshop students to begin by carefully noting anything that could change while they’re painting, like the direction of light and shadows, clouds, and in this case the cars. I call this “capturing the fugitives.”

  I was pleased with this painting and hope you like it too.

Let me know if you enjoyed this little glimpse behind the scenes.


Thanks for looking.
Tom Brown


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