I knew that this was going to be a complex painting, not only because of the size, but the location from where I wanted to paint. The view from the parking garage is pretty dark and there's not a lot of room to set up an easel and paint. I decided for a more synthetic approach to working on this one, a combination of drawings and photos. I might try to return to the site with the large painting or maybe do a smaller oil study...I 'll have to see how it proceeds. I started with my drawing pad made some initial compositional sketches, and took photos:
I did do some bending of the space, especially the edge of the building in the foreground. In actuality the roof slants severely to the right; in fact a lot of the buildings in Charleston are askew for one reason or another, either by sagging from age or damage from earthquakes or hurricanes. The slow frontal curve of the building mimics the panoramic view and leads your eye back into the space. Here's a progression so far in the studio:
I prefer working from observation, but in this instance, the photos have proved useful to me. First, since I have a new infant son, my working time now is mostly only at night, for about 3 hours. With my studio at home and the photos, I'm able to jump right in and paint. Plus the light is stable, and things like the clouds have been easier to develop. Things that I'm missing with the photographs: atmosphere and clarity of color. It will force me to do some inventing...
Finally, here's the completed painting that I wrote about on the last post: