Sunday, June 21, 2009

Subway Guys

"Subway Guys"
10" x 14" (25 x 36 cm)
Watercolor and pencil on Arches 300-lb CP paper
© 2009 Steve Penberthy

I know all but one of the men in this painting. These guys were standing in front of a Subway restaurant near a courthouse square at an event I attended a few years ago. I painted this from a photo reference.

I chose this scene because of the strong morning sunlight, and thought it would be challenging to paint a scene mostly in shade but with some strong sun.

One of my favorite parts of the painting is the reflection of the American Flag in the doorway on the right; the flag was flying at the courthouse across the street.

I don't use salt as a watercolor technique much at all, but I used it extensively in this painting; I wanted it mainly for creating a texture on the concrete sidewalk, but I found it to be useful as a texture on the shirt of the man on the far left as well as creating a mottled effect on the door reflection where the flag is.

This was an extremely satisfying painting on which to work; it took me a while, especially the pencil sketch, but it was very worthwhile. Here's a thumbnail of the initial pencil drawing:
Subway Guys - pencil sketch (unfinished)

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it!

There's more stuff on Flickr.


Gabrielle said...

There's a story here and it makes me want to search the painting for details and hints as to what's going on. Your figures are not just generic guys. Their stances, their clothing, all create a sense of individual characters. Nice job.

laura said...

Great composition and painting. I love the glow of the blue-violets and blue-greens; and the yellow underside of the rook.
The light on the overalls is wonderful too!
(My verification word is: sunsalut!

Steve Penberthy said...

-Gabrielle: Thank you so much for the kind words! I think you hit on the reason why I was so drawn to this scene--the common denominator of the fact that these guys could be found anywhere, perhaps in Anytown, USA. Again, thanks!

-Laura: Thank you so much for the nice comment! I was able to get some good granulation in the blue-green shutters by including my granulating Ultramarine (with a little yellow) and keeping my board at a steep angle. The shadows on the ground are just a glaze of Ultramarine over a wash of Raw Sienna, which created the exact shadow color and value I wanted. Again, thanks!

Krista Meister said...

I think the salt works very well in all the places you mentioned. Who would have thought to use it for those surfaces??? Wonderful work yet again, Steve!

Steve Penberthy said...

-Krista: Thanks so much. Yes, I sort of rediscovered the cool things salt can do in a watercolor painting with this one... definitely a good tool to keep in mind, especially for creating textures.