Building a Hyperrealist Painting: "Mission Hills Palms"
In this article you can see the steps I took in creating a painting, from drawing on the canvas to the final brush stroke. This was my first color oil painting, after doing a couple of practice oils in monochrome. I painted abstracts for about 15 years off and on, then got into photography for about 7 years. When I saw the effects that people could achieve with oil paints, for example to represent clouds, I knew I had to try it.
In addition to shooting clouds in infrared, I love plants, the three-dimension structure of buildings and how light plays on them, how they create shadows and a feeling, and a certain kind of Southern California scene, with a certain quality of light, as some of the photorealists (e.g., Robert Bechtle) worked with. Though challenging, it was worth it to me to go to the effort of making such a painting.
The stages in these photos represent the work of one day's painting session in the studio generally, and not necessarily an exact stage per se. In other words, the stages are arbitrary, except that of course they occur in a necessary sequence often, such as doing a drawing first, or an underlayer before an over layer, etc. I was taught to work from dark to light, but I don't always follow that, depending on the circumstances. All rules are for breaking.
The most difficult parts of this painting were the clouds and the palm trees. The clouds were difficult because it's best to do them wet-on-wet, especially for the wispy cirrus clouds. So if you don't get it right the first time, and it dries, you need to do a bit more work, plus color matching, getting edges right, etc.
The original photos that inspired this painting were ones I took on a walk in the Mission Hills area of San Diego. I also got a shot of some interesting clouds in Presidio Park that were incorporated:
(Note: the colors can vary from shot to shot because of lighting and white balance issues with the camera.)
CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO SEE A LARGER VERSION: