I was commissioned to do another painting of Philippe's Famous French Dip restaurant, and this time, I documented the process. The first image is a digital photo of the restaurant, located on Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles. From the photo, I developed a small composition and value study identifying the big shapes and assigning values to each area. I did this sketch right on the watercolor paper.
I then did a full size pen and ink sketch, using both the photo and my composition/value study
as a reference. I worked on hot press paper because I wanted the final painting to be loose sketchy and messy. In fact, I made little notes all over the paper, unreservedly being casual and carefree with the work.
Using pure color and letting it mix on the paper, I began painting and splashing paint, first in the sky, and on the building, blocking in the dark shadow shapes. The next step consisted of darkening the values as needed, and suggesting small architectural details here and there. The final step included painting the large sign, adding small touches of white paint and splashing red and blue over the entire piece. Notice the original value study is part of the painting and completes the composition.