THE STORY OF THIS PAINTING by TOM BROWN
Old book stores are like magnets to me; I can’t pass one without going in. I love reading books on Kindle and my iPad, but there’s a special feeling about exploring a musty old bookstore with its hidden treasures; books you can pick up and handle. You never know what you’ll find.
You might even find subjects to sketch or paint. That’s what happened here. When I wandered into this place I spotted this guy completely absorbed in a book and oblivious to all around him.
I really loved how the lighting made his white hair glow against the dark background of this musty old book store. I wanted to capture that in a painting. But I knew there wasn’t time to paint him on the spot so I did the next best thing.
I started with the quick pencil sketch shown below. That’s all the further I got before he moved away. But I stayed where I was and sketched the surrounding background so I’d have it right. Then when I got back to the car I did this painting directly on my pencil sketch, while the scene and the lighting were fresh in my mind.
In a figure workshop I’m currently teaching I’ve talked about the fun of sketching people wherever you find them. I’ve sketched and painted them in coffee shops, restaurants, shopping malls and random other places. Everyone who knows me knows that I ALWAYS have a sketch pad and pencil in my pocket. And I always carry a loaded palette of paints in my car. It’s great fun sketching people on the spur of the moment like this.
By the way, I found a beautiful old art book while I was there, so it was a doubly rewarding visit!
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