Thursday, August 16, 2012
5 Shades of Grey
8"x10" acrylic on canvas panel
I almost didn't do this DPW challenge for a couple of reasons, one of which is that so many people painted the scene so beautifully, I didn't think I had anything else to add. No reason to reinvent the wheel (pun fully intended). But you know, that's not a useful perspective—it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing, and it's a terrible mistake to compare yourself to other artists. Learn from them, certainly, but don't measure yourself against them.
The other reason is that, frankly, it just looked too hard! But then a Mr. Smarty-Pants painter I know said "it's just a bunch of shapes and colors." Which I can't deny. So that led to painting it as simple shapes, in simple colors. (Five shades of grey, obviously). I worked on a red ground to keep some of the spirit of the bright red truck in the original photo. Because I worked with fast-drying acrylics, I didn't try to blend anything, just let everything be its own graphic shape, but with kind of organic edges, not too crisp.
I made a few other compositional decisions along the way. Without the color cues, too much of the painting was mid-tones, and you couldn't tell the truck from the bushes. So I took out a lot of trees and surrounded the car with more white sky. Also removed the buildings—I had the rooftop on the right-hand side originally, but then decided that the geometric shape only detracted from the shape of the truck. Again, with color and temperature to help define shapes it might have worked; with only five shades it was too prominent.