Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Old City Discussion

This is for Virtual Paintout, May 2012, Jerusalem Israel challenge. It's oil on 10x12 canvas panel.

The Old City in Jerusalem has a number of very interesting scenes, with so many people from different background there doing so many different things. There were many interesting people scenes with interesting lighting, however, most of the faces got blurred out and would be difficult to paint. This scene I chose (ref) has two main women deep in conversation at the Old City market, while two other passer-by looked on. I kept the beard guy on the left to make the composition more interesting, as we the viewer look at the women in the painting, while the man in the painting looks at us.

I wanted this scene to have a Vermeer or Velasquez type feel, with dark background, earthy tone, dramatic light coming from one side.  This turns out to be quite difficult to execute, for example, how to enhance the lighting to make it paintable, what to do with the background, how to paint the women's blurry faces. I actually had gotten stuck a few times, and had to leave the painting for few days and came back again. I now have new appreciation for these old masters in their ability to turn an ordinary scene into their beautiful paintings. They are very hard to do!

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