The above painting was produced by following the guidelines of another of Betsy Dillard Stroud’s exercises. I was to select a busy and detailed landscape as my reference. I was to create a silhouette of the landscape in black, simplifying the scene. Next I was to paint the landscape again using color. As I painted, I was to simplify and change the scene again.
I began with this simple pencil sketch, removing a bicycle, fruit stand, all lettering, the chairs by the restaurant and some of the people. I simplified the building in the background. The old man at the top of the steps was added because there was too much empty space at the top of the subway steps once I had removed the fruit stand.
This was my black silhouette. I decided that the addition of the man changed the story from fruit stand to people in this reference and balanced the empty space by re-inserting some people into the scene that I had removed. The lit ad screen atop the railing required a little something so I added that. At this point, I had decided I had what I needed for the finished painting.
What an experience when I began to work in color! I saw I had simplified the restaurant or the bar, in the background too much, so re-added some of the lettering. I really simplified all the color and lettering in all those windows on that building. They had a lot of different colors and lettering on them. I just used them to cast the glow of light on the scene. I thought the building in the background was too busy so had the fall tree expand and reach across it. I imagined more light coming from a building to the right of the people and indicated that in the cast shadows from the people. Since I had changed the center of interest to the old man and omitted the busy fruit stand and bicycle, I decided the scene was more about the people heading to the subway and followed my guidelines for painting “little People”. Refer to posts here and here.
This was a great exercise that I will use again.