Slowpoke, 12 x 16, oil on panel
While we are still on the cityscape challenge buzz, (what? you've moved on long ago? humor me.) Here is another sequence of the process. Similar type of painting, but this time I painted it in black and white.
Taking the color out of the equation makes it much easier - not to say that it's anywhere near "easy", but you can't deny the fact that you have less to worry about.
On the other hand, if you're the type that relies on color to differentiate one thing from another, painting monochromatically means you've lost a major tool in your arsenal. You may find it a lot more challenging.
I for one love painting in monochrome. I think in values anyway, and I really like moods created by absence of color, much like a black and white or sepia photograph has a certain timeless mood that you don't find in full color photographs.
Of course if the painting isn't executed well, we have more to worry about than getting all misty eyed about nostalgic moods, no?
OK, so here is the sequence; it's exactly the same as the challenge painting I did;
Gridded and drawn with a pencil. The toned surface is from wiping off a failed painting. I like to work on a toned surface if I'm doing a tonalist painting. And a monochromatic painting is basically an extreme tonal painting.
Transparent underpainting, using Ivory Black and Liquin. No white yet, because I want to keep it transparent. I am working towards simplified design, with a structure defined in just a few values.
Here I have started painting opaquely, meaning I'm using white paint in addition to black. Just mixing greys and more or less matching the values I established in the underpainting.
Refining edges, integrating shapes, adding detail, taking out unnecessary detail, checking this, pushing that, blah blah blah. On this particular painting, I ended up using the knife to scrape a lot, to get rid of detail and create interesting edges.
And that's basically it. The most difficult part was massing the numerous cars behind the streetcar, so that they're almost a textural jumble and yet with a little bit of selective detail, they read correctly. The balance of abstraction and literal detail is tricky.
Compositionally speaking, making decisions about tweaking values of different elements in the picture was easy because it has a really obvious focal point - the streetcar. I just made everything else support my "star" element.
I think this came out rather nice. I'm pretty happy with it. At some point I'd like to do a larger version of it. May be in color.