Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rabat Alley

In this quick watercolor painting of a narrow street in Rabat, Malta, the goal was to keep the shadow together as one shape. The edge of the shadow is cool on the upper right, where it picks up the color of the sky.

And the shaded buildings on the left are warm where they receive reflected light from the warm illuminated buildings.

But compared to the light tones in the distance, the shadow is one basic tone, and I tried to downplay the detail in the doorways and windows in the shadow area to keep it simple.

Here's how the little street appeared as I painted it, with bells ringing and car driving into it.


Dan Gurney said...

It's fun to see the video to contextualize the painting. Your painting enhances the mood of the alley, filtering out the cars and pedestrians and making the shadowed area more interesting by brightening it.

Visually, your painting is completely successful. That said, the bells on the video really do add something, don't they? If only you could add a sound track to your paintings.

Wouldn't that be interesting? An art show that featured sounds recorded at the spot where you set up your easel.

James Gurney said...

Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking. I wish there was some way to bottle the sounds, smells, and movement that the paintbrush can't capture. I've run a tape recorder at painting locations before and played them again in the studio, and it's amazing how the sounds bring back the images from memory.

I wonder if any blog readers have been to exhibitions that use environmental sounds in this way.

Erik Bongers said...

I protest against the artistic integration of smells.
Remember James' close encounter of the wet kind with creatures from the planet Gibraltar.

But after all these posts of sketches together with photo or film footage, it strikes me how a little sketch can capture much more or at least different information (not to use 'mood') that a camera can't catch.
It must be the way we see. (But I'll spare you the psycho-perception babble that comes to mind.)

I admit that I'm a 'nothing beats a quick snapshot' guy, but these images are making me wonder...

Anonymous said...

I once saw a piece by a Japanese artist that took a paper/computer model of a small part of a city and, when you ran a small pen-mouse along the roads, would play the ambient environmental sounds of that particular spot. It would change as you moved around.

There's also a large work in the D terminal of the Dallas/Ft Worth airport that wants you to move around inside a mini-maze following the sounds of an 'urban jungle'.