View Full Version : Bikes at the Ice Cream Parlor - WIP

05-11-2004, 03:14 PM
Started this yesterday, put down the gouache earlier today and started loosely laying down the pastel just now. It has a long way to go....but...the windows are weird (I know what I did was sloppy but even so...)...I am wondering about just putting some leaves up there. I htink no matter how I do the windows it will not look right. But I don't want to cut the top down so that I loose the sign. Yes, the focal point is supposed to be the bikes but it is a very definite place and I want that sign....which will not be nearly as bright as it looks here...but it will be obvious what it is.
Anyhow...what do people think...and aside from the sloppy/looseness is there anything else glaring...and it's a slightly lopsided photo...it's not your imagination that it seems to be falling to the right. :D
The first photo is just the gouache...this is Wallis, 11x14, soft pastels.


05-11-2004, 03:23 PM
Middle and left columns are not plumb, Sandy, even with the lean to the pics. Check them from your paper's edge. The windows are off in perspective, is all- the top of them should follow the roofline, and the bottoms the line of the porch. The bikes are great- man! That's going to be a lot of detail!

Wish I could still see it- do you have trouble using the uploader?

05-11-2004, 03:29 PM
I know the perspective is off in the windows up there...they are very strange in the photo...not really lined up! But even fixed I thought they were distracting.
I will check the columns..I'm sure you are right. I tend to work very rough in the beginning...and pay for it later!
You like the uploader better...I guess I have been using this since they set it up and figured you can leave that open...that's what I usually do..then I can keep looking at it. But if people prefer the uploader I can do that. I'm easy! :D

Thanks for the comments...I know I have to watch the perspective.

And yes...lots of detail...not me forte...but I figured it would be good to be challenged...boy am I challenged. :D


05-11-2004, 03:47 PM
Wow! When you pick challenges, you go whole hog, don't ya! Just drawing a realistic bicycle would make me wiggy! This is gonna be wonderful if you can make everything behave. I'm interested in all the perspective tips, too; I often can't see the forest for the trees as far as perspective goes, so don't feel alone!

I take it you're going to use nice summery colors? Can't wait to see it progress! Be sure and have fun with it!

05-11-2004, 03:48 PM
Hi Sandy...... I think you have got a very complex picture here to work on ..... I think you need to really work on your perspectives and angles.... not only of the windows but the roof etc and doorways too etc ... hate to say this, but there looks alot out at the mo :( .... this might all work out as you work on it, but I think you will give yourself a harder task that way ..... would you like to share the ref image so we can help you further? ... I know that you are not aiming for an architectural drawing :)

I can see this turning out to be a lovely piece

05-11-2004, 03:59 PM
Be sure and have fun with it

Oh, I'm already having a ball...with the bikes and the perspective! :D

I know it's complicated...but I figured I would try it. Those bikes are making me very nervous...but I am hoping to find a way to make it clear what they are without a lot of little picky details to mess it up. SOunds good, in theory.

And I really know the windows and stuff are off...well, it is more that they are not right yet...but honestly, although I know I am fully capable of blowing this I'm not too worried about it yet...I was just starting to lay it down. I usually work it over with a bit of a straight edge and pastel pencil...I have the photo enlarged and I squared it up...it is stuck on the board I am working on.
But...I am still glad you are all pointing it out because it will keep be more in line, as it were. I do tend to get carried away with slapping the pastel down and suddenly looking at what I have done and having a fit. :D
And I think I will do the overhanging tree over some of those windows on top...too many windows...too boring...
Or..we'll see. I think I am thinking out loud here...don't mind me! :D
And I am attaching the photo so you can see it...and then you can really yell at me! :D Only kidding...be nice!!!! :D

And yeah...maybe it is all falling off to the right...gee...I havent' done that in a while! :D Okay...something else to check.
I knew there was a reason I posted this here early on! :D


05-11-2004, 04:49 PM
Okay...I've started "plumbing" it...and I didn't crop the photo so you can see why it is looking like it is leaning to the right like that...still havent' decided about the top windows...but at least the lines are lines up and I think the I have perspective better. Screech at anything else...still very early in this mess...lots of time for me to really mess it up! :D

Hmmm...you really can't see that left side but I had a choice of lining up the top and bottom or the sides for the photo...

05-11-2004, 05:04 PM
Sandy, know you will pull this off like you did the other...that was the ice cream store from a different angle, right? Anyways, we really, really need a squared pic of your painting to check it against the ref...my neck is getting a crick lol!

05-11-2004, 05:08 PM
Yeah...I was surprised at how far off it was. I take the photo upstairs and then bring it down to the computer...I wasn't pleased.
Maybe I'll scan it in next time...but really...I worked with a straight edge and I know it's pretty well lined up...but some of the lines are still rough so when you look at the photo it doesn't look right...and boy, is this crooked! Sorry...about your neck, Sue! :D

05-11-2004, 05:26 PM
Sandy this is going to be a GREAT painting- trust me- this is going to be a WOW! piece. Don't worry about the bikes now- they already look like bikes, so you've got more'n half that battle covered.

The building, though, needs to be brushed out in places and those plumblines accurately placed now, or you're going to lose it in the next step. I took your pic into psp and showed you where the lines are "off"; and also showed you how to avoid a tricky "read" on the right side roofline- it may not be historically accurate, but that kind of roofline rarely reads right in 2-D. Basically, just run your guttering out to the edge of the page, and lower the overhanging roof's line enough to match and fill the whole thing in as one piece. I truly doubt anyone will notice as the bikes are the center of interest, and the sign and porch will give viewers a sense of place.

Other thing you need to do is somehow hit your porch-angle lines harder- maybe contrast the lines there a bit to make sure you're showing the shape of the porch. Right now, it's trying to read "flat", but in reality, it looks like quite a complex shape. If you get it more solid now, you'll not be thrown by it later.


You can do this- this is going to be even better than the farmer's market- and that is a striking piece!

05-11-2004, 05:28 PM
lol SBJ ..... similiar ideas lol ....... didnt see yours until I posted :o

Hi Sandy..... so glad you posted the ref pic...... as I was having trouble reading some things.... I know understand lol what the red is under the roof :)

I thought I would try the same principle with overlaying on portraits and faces - using the centre post to work from .. worked from there.... hope this helps ...... I know you have taken your painting photo at an angle... but this may help you further visually


05-11-2004, 05:54 PM
You guys are great...putting all this time and effort into helping out! I really, really appreciate it.
I will check the roof angles and all that and make sure they are right...
but the side lines...the vertical lines...if you look at my photo of the painting and look at the side you will see that the angle I took the photo is way off...and the side of the painting is angling in...when in fact it is not...so the straight lines you are putting in are not really right...I don't think I am explaning it right...when I finally scan this in you will see. The vertical lines I have a mostly pretty well right...but I realize it doesn't look it here. What you are seeing is pretty badly skewed. I promise to do better on the next one I put up here.
I am still grappling with how to handle the colors on the building...and I want the house angle lines to be clearer and correct but I also don't want them to overpower the whole thing...the focal point will be the bikes, not the building. I have those darker lines sketched into the painting but you realy can't see them here. Anyhow, this is all sort of a challenge...but I do have a long way to go on this. And fortunately Wallis can be worked and reworked if need be. :D
But keep those comments coming...they all help! Of course a decent squared up version of the painting would help too! :D


Kathryn Wilson
05-11-2004, 07:32 PM
Oi - Sandy! You can really pick 'em - but this painting is so "you". I know you will overcome the perspective problems - perhaps they have been exaggerated by the tilt in the photo.

Can wait to see more updates on this!

05-11-2004, 08:11 PM
I sure can pick 'em! :D All these lines...and people expecting them to be straight! :D
Okay...did a little more...and scanned it in...I think it is better. I put in some red lines so I can see where I need to work on it...there's still a couple that are off. And those inside windows and doors...once they are straight...will be greyed back more. And the sign has a way to go...and so does most of it but this is it for tonight. I'll try to play some more tomorrow.
And yes, this is the same ice cream parlor I did last summer, but a different view.
And yes, I can see that the big post needs work...the lower right needs to come out a bit more...or something. I'll check it.

05-11-2004, 08:22 PM
This is a charming scene, and I think you're brave to do it! I'll be watching you spin your magic on this one!

05-11-2004, 08:27 PM
Thanks Eileen!

I know I sound defensive here...but....I keep looking at what is here on the screen and then going back to the painting and really, the painting looks a lot straighter. The only thing I can think is the scanner picks up some things better than others and there is a lot of light and dark greys I have drawn around the windows and door which I think it is not picking up...kind of weird. I know I need to staighten some a bit but it still looks off here. Maybe I'm just dizzy! :D

05-11-2004, 09:11 PM
I think you're doing a great job with this....it's a very complex subject!

One thing I'd like to see is some of the warmth of your gouache underpainting showing in the building...especially where the sun is hitting the roof. I love the sign....I wouldn't have wanted to have left it out either :)

05-11-2004, 09:17 PM
Gosh, this is more suspense filled than an old Perry Mason rerun! Sandy, just know I am on the sidelines looking and rooting for you. ;)

Mikki Petersen
05-12-2004, 01:40 AM
Okay, everyone is in agreement that the lines need to be in plumb and you've been given excellent advice on that. Equally important, and I think what is bothering your about the windows, etc, is that you have NO depth. Look at your photo and the windows under the porch are barely perceptable because they are very much in the shade. Also the left side is the building is very light indicating the light source. You have the entire building the same shade. I agree also this will be a sensational piece when you finish but you have a ways to go. I also agree the bikes are definitely recognizable as bikes and do not need a lot more detail...you've pretty much got them. Keep at it...this one will be worth the effort!

05-12-2004, 02:57 AM
Sandy, once you have the perspective absolutely right (most important) you need to look again at VALUES. (just noticed Impete's post - she has said it all - but it won't hurt to restate it)

So far, you have made the classic mistake of painting white window supports which are in shadow, as white, when in fact, they are about as far from white as you can get! As a result, they do not look at all as though they are inside the porch.

Either look at your photo in greyscale, to see the values more easily, or else, cut a tiny hole in a piece of paper, and place it down onto the whites. Look to see the difference in the whites in different areas. You may be VERY surprised.

If you begin with a white pastel, just because the builder used white paint, you will never get your values right, because a) it is difficult to restate with a darker tone over the top of white and b) you have to acknowledge to yourself that you simply aren't "seeing" the value. You have to divorce yourself from what you "know" to be there, and paint the values as you see them.

Don't worry, it really is a classic error, everyone does it, and it is a hard habit to break.

The other thing that I feel is difficult, because it destroys the sense of space inside the porch, is that red banner which stretches across from pillar to pillar. Not sure what I would do about that. For sure, it completely confuses the eye, because it stretches across a corner, and destroys the corner space and makes it REALLY difficult to understand the building's structure and those two far "windows". Perhaps I would go back when the darn thing wasn't there, to be able to explain the ground leading to the back of the porch better! Alternatively, I think I might try a drawing of that corner, without the banner, to see if I could make it work better.

Otherwise, you are doing your normal excellent job of beavering away with huge determination, and I have no doubt you will get there in the end!


05-12-2004, 06:28 AM
Thanks Jackie & Micki!
The value issue is another one I have been aware of and tyring to determine how to resolve it...I see what is happening in the photo and am trying to figure out how to get it correct but didn't want so much "white"...I think when I was mumbling about the colors before that was really what I meant to say...but didn't say it right at all.
At this stage my concern was more getting it straight and then I am hoping to be able to remedy the value and depth issue. But I realize that I am making it more difficult on myself by not getting it right in the first place.
The red banner thingy is part of what defines this place...the only time it is not there is when they close up for the winter...and then there are no bikes. But...I know what you mean and again am hoping to be able to resolve it.
Part of my idea, which may not work, is to really tone down some of that stuff..once I get it all plumbed out.
So...anyhow...I realize it is a challenge here...and am hoping I am up to it.
Thanks again for all the helpful comments!


05-12-2004, 09:12 AM
One other thing that I keep forgetting to say...the "whites" that are showing up here are not really all that white on the painting. First of all, I have not used any white at all...I am using greys and purples and blues.
But I also realize they are still too much for being in the shade...they need to be toned way down and sent back into the shadows. I think in the course of trying to draw them straight I was using a too light pastel pencil...but I understand what you are saying.

05-12-2004, 12:17 PM
Sandy... You know if there was something I could help with I'd add my two cents - but with this one you have to rely on the experts. I'm amazed at how complicated a subject matter this is and impressed with you taking it on!!!

Keep going and it looks better as i see the progress images.

Have fun with it!!! Barb

05-12-2004, 12:35 PM
Geez, between all the variables, first with the paper itself not being square, or at least not the pic of it, then all the angles and lines all over the place, I'd be at the point of stomping this thing into the carpet! I greatly admire your determination and that of the others who are trying to help! It IS going to be worth it in the end, but I know it must be frustrating sometimes.

I just think it's a combination of the photo thing and the angle of the paper to the camera thing and the sneaky way values look different from what they ARE. With all those things only a TINY bit off, the whole what-to-fix-first-thing must be mind-boggling!

This IS coming along well, tho. Once you get it wrestled into submission, it's going to be a VERY lovely painting. I'm pullin' for ya AND the helpers cause this is going to be worth it. You just happen to pick sources that give you about ten workshops worth of challenge all at one time!

I applaud your bravery!

05-12-2004, 01:02 PM
OK, well, if the darn red thing is an important part of the image, then you will hve to "lose" the doorway and window at the back into darker shadow, or there is always going to be an optical illusion going on here.

Ask yourself this question tho.

Are you creating an exact record of this place, as it is, for a particular reason? (like, it's about to be pulled down, or there is a sentimental reason for you) ... or are you trying to create an effective painting?

If the latter is the case, then it doesn't matter if the red fabric is "always there". Who knows that, except those people who visit the place? I have never been there, and am unlikely ever to go there, and therefore the red fabric is simply something which looks odd and spoils the composition of the piece.

If it has to be there, because you really want authenticity in the scene ...then you have to find a way to explain the space rather better - you cannot leave it too "loose", because the space just won't work if you do.
Good luck!

05-12-2004, 01:13 PM
Thanks for the encouragement Barb & Sooz! I am hoping to get back to work on this shortly...waiting for a repairman to come right now.

I understand what you are saying about the red cloth, Jackie...and I know you are right. But unfortunately I feel this is a case where I need to keep it in some form. It is a very popular place and easily recognizable...probably more by the foolish red banner, which serves as a kind of enclosure, than by the neat old sign! I don't generally paint for the "market" but I do have to consider it and since I am signed up for a bunch of outdoor shows this summer, right across the street from this place, I feel as though it is to my advantage to somehow make the red cloth work. But it can be toned down...I am planning on pushing those windows and doorways back anyhow, so that doesn't really bother me.
I realize that I am making it more difficult for myself...and that somehow I have to make it so the viewer can "read" what is going on.
These comments are all really good...it all makes me think more and be more careful. Hopefully I will learn something in the process and hopefully even end up with a worthwhile painting.



Stoy Jones
05-12-2004, 02:12 PM
Sandy, so much info to digest! Wow! You have a lovely "storefront" painting...I feel like I'm standing there and can picture the place well!


05-13-2004, 10:45 AM
Here is the latest update...I can see some things I know I have to fix...the door on the right is a little off...the ice cream sign next to it is not as bright as it looks here...it kind of fades into the wall...but I think it needs some work. The big plant needs help.
Still not sure how I feel about the upper story...too many windows and too much blue/grey? Leaves overhanging maybe...or leave it alone.
I am hoping that by showing the corner where the red cloth turns will help shape the whole thing..not sure if it works.
Anyhow, let me know what you see wrong and and suggestions. This one is a real struggle and I am not sure how I feel about it right now...but since I am leaving for Maine alter today I will leave it and see how it looks to me when I get back.

05-13-2004, 10:49 AM
There you go, Sandy! You're pulling it together now! Knew you could do it!

05-13-2004, 12:08 PM
This is coming along brilliantly Sandy ...... well done indeed

05-13-2004, 12:26 PM
Sandy, it was worth the effort, you have managed to send those lights back into shadow.

Now, the thing I feel that is missing, is a sense of LIGHT. Even flat, sunless daylight will have an effect on your subject, with the light pouring down from the sky, and the tones in the porch will be darker than anything outside of the porch. Sunlight would light up this scene..........(cracking whip here....poor you ...will we ever leave you alone?)

You are doing SO well with this.


05-13-2004, 12:30 PM
Now, the thing I feel that is missing, is a sense of LIGHT.

Absolutely! It seems so dull to me...especially after just looking at your wonderful, sunfilled painting!
I don't mind you all pushing me...it's the best way to make progress.
I need to figure out how to do this...without messing it all up. It definitely needs perking up.
I don't want to darken the inside more, I don't think...so I need to lighten the outside. Or maybe darken the inside a bit...
Thanks for the encouragement and the critiques...it's why I post here!


05-13-2004, 12:44 PM
You need to "warm" it, now, Sandy- so when you push your lights, think "warm" lights: Creams, yellows, pinks (that don't lean to lavender). Just sparkle 'em in there and watch them shine against the cool grays you've got going- use complements where you can- against a purpley-gray, use a yellowy cream, a green gets a pink, a blue gets a peachy cream. Like that.

05-13-2004, 12:49 PM
Thanks SBJ!!! I am realy glad you said that...I realize now I was using the light purply grey to lighten the building and that is making it all very cool...and in this case, dull.
Excellent advice I am getting here...now if I can use the advice and not make a mess it will be great! :D

Mikki Petersen
05-13-2004, 02:15 PM
There you go! you've got it and it looks wonderful! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Kathryn Wilson
05-13-2004, 05:36 PM
Wow, Sandy, you've really put a lot of hard work into this - your perspective issues look much better.

Just wave your magic pastel "light" wand and you will have it!

05-13-2004, 06:25 PM
Wow Sandy this is such an improvement over the start. You can tell you struggled but it sure is worth it. I love it. :clap: :clap: Turned out beautifully Just think a building and bikes and it becomes a neighborhood *S* Wonderful

05-13-2004, 08:24 PM
You guys are all so encouraging...it really helps.
I started "warming" it up but then hubby came home and now I am up in Maine. It was hard to leave it but maybe that's good...when I get back Sunday I will be rarin' to go. But I have to say just adding some creamy yellows and peachy bits here and there was making a huge difference. I was beginning to feel good about it again.
This is realy interesting for me...I realize I have not thought i n terms of warm and cool colors...I mean I know about them but never really considered the impact. I had been working away on this and kept trying to lighten it but was using all cool colors, light purpley grey stuff and it kept getting duller and duller.
I don't know what I would do without all my WC friends! Thanks!!!!
I'll post an update when I get to it.


05-13-2004, 08:34 PM
Wow oh Wow!!! Sandy, what a challenge you've taken on here, and how well you are rising to it, I'd have thrown the towel in by now, good on you girl, it's looking cracking!
:clap: :clap: :clap:


Kitty Wallis
05-13-2004, 11:15 PM
I'm impressed. You are a determined artist.

That dialogue ofer the red cloth gives me the excuse to quote a favorite teacher of mine. It's better to paint a stong lie than a weak truth.

Of course, the red works now, but I had to share that quote. It rings in my head just as strongly as the day he said it, 45 years ago.

05-18-2004, 03:03 PM
Finally got to play with this a bit more...I think I have warmed it up somewhat...although it can probably use some more. And now that it is up here I can see that the lines on the bikes have gotten a bit squiggley...
I think I'll poner it a bit, maybe play a teensy bit more and then leave it before I really overwork it more than it is.
Screech if you see anything major...or minor...I'm always willing to see what other people have to say.
I'm doing this as a thumbnail...can't remember where the foolish uploader is anymore. :D
Thanks all!


05-18-2004, 03:14 PM
uploader is under quick links :)
I love your persistance, Sandy...you have really brought this so far from the first posting! I don't see anything to screech about :p buildings scare me to death, so I'm impressed.

Mikki Petersen
05-18-2004, 03:57 PM
WOO HOO SANDY!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: It looks done to me. Leave it alone except to sign it and frame it. Great job! Your townsfolk are going to be so impressed.

05-18-2004, 04:03 PM
Thanks Micki & Sue!

Quick Links...doh! I see it there. :D


Kathryn Wilson
05-18-2004, 04:32 PM
Finally got to play with this a bit more...I think I have warmed it up somewhat...although it can probably use some more. And now that it is up here I can see that the lines on the bikes have gotten a bit squiggley...
I think I'll poner it a bit, maybe play a teensy bit more and then leave it before I really overwork it more than it is.
Screech if you see anything major...or minor...I'm always willing to see what other people have to say.
I'm doing this as a thumbnail...can't remember where the foolish uploader is anymore. :D
Thanks all!


Yay, Sandy - I knew you would pull it together! Yes, I agree, let it sit for awhile then look at it with fresh eyes. To my eyes, it's ready to be framed - but I am not seeing it IRL. Love it!

05-18-2004, 04:57 PM
You did it! Nice NICE job- I'll lay odds it sells easily.

ummm- but is it just me or does that yellow bike have no seat? Makes no difference, really, other than man, that might hurt....

05-18-2004, 05:12 PM
No seat!!!! Details...details....hmmmm...now that you mention it...I'll have to check. I was probably so busy working on the blue baby seat that I missed the big person seat.
That would definitely be not too comforatble...on the other hand, I am so uncomfortable on a bike in my old age anyhow.....:D

Thanks you 2!

05-19-2004, 07:46 AM
See???? I KNEW you'd do it! You always do! I swear, I look at some of the subjects you start out with and thing to myself, "better HER than ME!", then you proceed to make a beautiful painting out of a subject I'd never even dare touch! Wonderful!

05-19-2004, 08:41 AM
Thanks Sooz! I think there is usually a point whenI am working on these that I am wondering why someone else isn't doing it either! :D
I puttered with it a bit more last night and I think it feels better. I am a little concerned about the white post in the center...when it was greyer it was more in the background....right now it looks nice and sunny and is right in your face...maybe I will call this White Post with Bikes! :D
Trying to work on that brick area under the bikes...I want it lighter and sunnier but so it kind of looks like bricks.
Anyhow, I guess I must enjoy a challenge! Especially when I have this great peanut gallery here to spur me on!