Today I'm showing you the paintings I did after Terry Miura challenged people to paint from his photo of an urban environment. Go take a look at his original photo. I don't get to view things like this shot much, so it was a lot of fun taking on the challenge.
The idea was to take a densely packed and busy photo and find ways to simplify it, perhaps by cropping, but also by resisting the temptation to paint every detail there. I love a challenge, so I was up to give it a try.
Here's my first one, my usual size, 2.5" x 3.5".
I was intrigued by the density of the small shapes and colors, but attempted to keep it unified by values. Close one eye and squint and you'll see the big dark shape on the far left, the medium-dark shape in the middle, and the medium and medium-light shapes of the hills. Successful, but not quite what I was after.
Here's my second one, a HUGE departure for me and far more what I wanted to accomplish. It's literally huge, for me anyway: 8"x5" on a piece of black Pastelmat paper!
I chose to crop and distort the image, pulling it into a much elongated and stylized version that appealed to me. I loved the sense of a street going uphill in stages, and enhanced that with the light coming between the buildings. I probably 'should' have added more shadow shapes of the buildings, but I chose to limit that response in order to keep it simple. I limited my palette, and heightened the contrasting values. Cars? No chance! I just haven't the inclination for those shapes, so I suggested a couple and let it go at that. Do you think it works?
Be sure to take a look over at Terry's challenge to see some of the things folks have painted already, and maybe even join in yourself!
Edited to add a link to Terry Miura's SIMPLIFY! - A Cityscape Challenge where you can see a slide show of 60 paintings, including Terry's beautiful version.