As promised yesterday, I am working slowly. I added very little to yesterday’s sketch, pencil-wise. My strategy is to work on the shadow areas first and then proceed to try replicating the textures of the building. Most of the shadowy areas fall on the surfaces of the windows and the dark space on the doorway to the left of the bookstore. I started with a neutral tint but added ivory black for the darker shadows. For the shadows on the recessed lines of bricks, I used burnt umber.
I did my best to try masking the printed letters of the bookstore name, but even with the 20 gauge needle adapter to my latex mask bottle, I couldn’t control a thin enough line. Oh well, why have an artistic license if one can’t invoke it now and then? Voila, ‘Bowie & Weatherford Inc. Booksellers’ sign is now in black.
Tomorrow I tackle the windows on the 2nd floor and those barely visible on the 3rd floor. I also plan to ‘hit the bricks’ so to speak. There are several considerations about painting the building surface that make me nervous: 1) choosing the appropriate colors; 2) mixing the right amount of detail and water-colory technique – I don’t want to paint each brick, nor do I want a brick-colored wash; 3) faithfully reproducing the brickwork around the windows – to me, this is an important element of the picture.
I read an article in The Art of Watercolour, a British magazine, in which the artist Sandra Walker makes use of ‘splattering’ to add texture to the photorealistic watercolors of the buildings she paints. I’m going to try that (on scrap paper first) if I can figure a way to mask out the non-brick parts of the watercolor.
How many of you remember the advertisement for Camel cigarettes? In the US, cigarette advertising is very limited today, but years ago when it wasn’t too restricted, there was an ingenious poster for Camels. There must have been extensive psychological research done about how to present an adolescent camel in the process of smoking. If you look closely at the poster, you will see the fairly explicit sexual content, hidden in plain sight. I remember being amused that someone would make such a hilarious error, but when I heard a discussion about ‘presenting genitalia above the waist’ as an enticement for young people, I knew some cigarette-hawking genius had done his or her homework.
At any rate, I waited around this phone booth (oh god, does anyone alive remember those?) until the appropriate client stepped up and into my photograph.
I present to you…. Camel Man: