Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sunday Market

On Sunday mornings, Baltimore hosts a farmer's market downtown beneath a couple of highway overpasses.
I got there a little before sunrise and leaned on a concrete wall, which served as a taboret for my watercolors. The first rays of orange sunlight illuminated the smoke from the donut and kettle corn vendors, while cool blue skylight filtered down through the spaces between the overpasses.

Here are three steps in the process. I was thinking about warm vs. cool and light vs. dark, trying to get the big shapes established first before worrying about the smaller details.

Here's an ultra close-up of an area the size of a quarter to show how I abstracted it. Note a few dots of yellow-white gouache.

Next to me was a guy who carved sculptures from driftwood. He had Miles Davis playing on his boombox, which set the perfect mood.

Baltimore Sunday Market on Yelp


Tom Hart said...

Thanks for another great sketch and the insight into your method. I love the in-process shots. They're a nice alternative to the short videos, which are great too. I know it's a lot of work (probably too much to ask), but combining the two - if/when possible - would provide the advantages of each.

Emanuele Sangregorio said...

Amazing scene. was that a farmer market where usually farmers sell their products directly to the consumer? I read that in America it's an ancient tradition, mutuated by English settlers. It's interesting to see one with such an anachronistic cover :)

Anonymous said...

Good music and the smell of donuts and kettle corn sounds like a great place to paint.

Nice dramatic perspective offered by the overpasses.

The close up showing the abstractions is very interesting.

Have always liked the freeway overpass you did in "The Artists Guide to Sketching" showing the sketches and final excellent composition. - mp

Gina Florio Sous said...

Thanks for posting this - I always enjoy, and learn from, seeing your process.

I love all of your work (I've actually been rereading all the Dinotopia books over the past few days as inspiration for a project), but I have to say - I think my favorite things that you post are always your on-the-spot sketches and watercolors. Would you ever consider gathering those into an art book? I'm sure I'm not the only one who would want one...

Bohlen said...

Nice to see you(r work)! The in-process shots are great and encouraring. Thanks for showing.

James Gurney said...

Tom and Maike -- glad you're enjoying the step by steps.

Gina, Yes, I very much want to do books, videos, and iBooks on the plein air work. Each medium offers different opportunities. It's just a matter of finding time for everything.

Anonymous -- glad you remembered that picture from Artist's Guide. Overpasses make such wonderful subjects that I'm surprised more artists don't paint them.

Emanuele, I always assumed that urban markets where farmers bring in their harvest were worldwide universals. Anyway, they have become more and more popular in big American cities like New York and Baltimore. A lot of small farmers depend on them.

Daniel New said...

I've always been very intriuged by the suggestion of details. The people, their clothes, their actions, the tents, food, everything is wrapped up into this little bundle with a few carefully placed strokes of a brush. You do this especially well in your sketches, and it is wonderful to see close ups of this, just to marvel at... In An Artist's Guide to Sketching you touch on the subject, I was wondering if you could do a post or series on this? Or if you already have, maybe a link?


Rich said...

Miles Davis playing along on that boombox while you are painting, setting the mood:

Miles did some paintings as well. Someone refered to them as something like a "Caribeean Kandinsky", as far as I remember.

Bethann at fruit.root.leaf. said...

It seems this is a widespread sketching theme this time of year. Our local sketching group was recently at the Quebec City Port Farmers Market, and had a chilly but delightful day.

You can see sketches from various contributors here: http://drawntoquebec.blogspot.ca/2012/10/october-sketchcrawl-highlights-old-port.html.

Sherry Schmidt said...

Such a neat painting! Thanks for the step by step too!

Emanuele Sangregorio said...

Sadly, they are not so widespread :( In Sicily, the region where i spent most of my life, they slowly died and we do have now a weekly market but the farmers don't sell their products there anymore, they mostly sell clothes. Farmers rather to sell to wallmart-like entities and supermarkets, or to have people come directly to them. This is mainly due to the unfair competition coming from Africa, the recession and the peak oil. We also had some political movements recently born because of these changes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Sicilian_protests).

I think we could learn much from American farmer markets :)

Emanuele Sangregorio said...

anyway didn't want to tediate everybody with this sadness, can't wait for your video painting dinosaurs to be available!