View Full Version : Houston, 1986

12-09-2003, 02:06 PM

Title: Houston, 1986
Year Created: 2003
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: about 3'x4'
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

This is sort of a surrealist piece, I guess, on a bit of my childhood history. It took me about 9 months, because I kept messing up, overpainting, and having to start over. This is the third time, in which I think I solved my overpainting problem (only three layers), but I feel that it still doesn't quite make it. But I can't really put my finger on what is wrong with it. I tried to have a very strong composition, but I think the problem may lie in my color choices.

BTW, I had planned to have an arc of power lines, starting small on the left horizon, and growing larger as they approached the church and car, but I just decided to leave it alone.

A friend once told me that most artists only like a few of their own pieces. This is one instance in which I feel negatively about the finished product, even though I held such great hopes for it.

Diane Cutter
12-09-2003, 02:57 PM
I really, really like this. I like the crazy angled buildings and all the items you've incorporated. I could tell this was from someone's childhood without reading your comments. It has charm and lots of wonderful detail. Have you thought about illustrating children's books?

As regards your layers of paint, that is impossible to tell on the computer. But I like what I see.

There are a couple of things that bother me:

First, the upper right corner... that blue up there seems a little lost... or is it the same color as the upper ray on the left. On my computer it seems a different color that doesn't seem to have purpose (might just be the glare...hum).

Second, the shadows... you've given the man on the stool a shadow, there is a hint of them by the basketball and the lady in white. But the two little boys are shadowless. I'd go either with no shadows anywhere or given the boys a grounding.

Other than that, I think this is a very successful painting.


12-09-2003, 03:08 PM
Thanks, Diane. I appreciate your comments. You're absolutely right about the shadows... Hmmm... I think I just might take them out completely.

That is glare! I had two light sources and the sun when I took the picture, and didn't notice that glare till I posted.

The blue starts in the upper right hand corner with pure phthalo--like a tiny dab of prussian in it. I dilute this all the way across with flake white, till the roof of the apartment/club. From the upper left over is cerulean, also diluted with flake on the way across.


Diane Cutter
12-09-2003, 03:56 PM
Oh, good, I'm glad the shadows are going. You have so much liberty with what you have and if you start fussing with shadows it might lead to shadows on buildings, etc., etc.

I'd love to see it when you have it resolved.


12-09-2003, 08:18 PM
I really love this. Upper right corner a little touch up there. Very stylish, Is this your usual style ?

12-09-2003, 08:42 PM
I really like this too

I think maybe you feel like you do because you worked on it for so long

I like the colors, the geometry and especially the sky

Pam (used to live in Houston, too)

12-09-2003, 08:43 PM
I like the idea of the power line arcs but I would start them both sides of the top left corner of the painting and arc down and back up ward off tho the right edge and behind the right hand building.

12-09-2003, 11:32 PM
Thanks for all the great comments, people. Angelryd, this is not my usual style. I have never done anything that looks like this. My work tends to be either way out crazy or fairly realistic. That splotch in the upper right is glare from the camera. Really shiny phthalo blue with copal resin.

Pampe, I think you're right!!! Familiarity breeds contempt. I guess you noticed the Shipley's Donuts. I sure miss those.