Friday, February 12, 2010

Painting Night Scenes

Night scenes are moody and dramatic. Everyday subjects become exciting, unexpected and unusual when the time of day changes. This is a painting of the Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles before a summer evening performance. Crowds mingle on the plaza in front of the glowing concert hall. While this is a convincing night scene, I actually used a daytime photo as my research.

I started with a pen and ink sketch done on Arches hot press watercolor paper. Then, starting from the center of the paper (where the people are entering the building), I paint a series of gradated washes moving toward the outer edge beginning with light yellow and continuing with light red, crimson, purple and finally blue. I am trying to paint the fluid qualities of light with a smooth transition of color.

With the gradated wash as a background I can then add building details, tree shapes and abstract touches of color suggesting the crowd.

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