Navigation

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bethel Grain Elevators



Bethel Grain Elevators
Watercolor on Langton Prestige 140-lb rough paper
14" x 20" (36 x 51 cm)
© 2009 Steve Penberthy

Used with permission from Liz West under Creative Commons license; thanks Liz! Here's a link to Liz's original photograph: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/111110338/

I got inspired by Don Gore's recent painting of grain elevators, and they reminded me of how much I enjoy seeing them.  I've spent a fair amount of time in Kansas, and have seen my fair share of elevators.  It's such a staple of the prarie landscape that it's almost a bit of Americana just to look upon them.  It invokes the agrarian work ethic of the American farmer.

My goals with this painting was to create a work that looks strong from about 30 feet across a room; therefore, I didn't worry about detail--I tried to stay loose and paint spontaneously.  I first drew an accurate perspective drawing of the buildings and laid the sky wash in first.  I rendered the elevator shadow as one big dark-valued shape to sharply contrast in value with the sunlit side of the taller buildings and the middle-values of the smaller buildings.  I used a fairly restricted palette:  cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, perm. alizarin crimson, raw sienna, burnt sienna, and payne's grey.  This was really a fun painting on which to work.  Thanks Don, for the inspiration and Liz for the reference!

Here's a value sketch I did using my Faber Castel brush pens in my 3" x 5" Moleskine:

10 comments:

Shirley said...

I LOVE this and think your values are really spot-on. Reminded me of the vivid sunshine that Hopper gets in his architectural paintings.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!!! Excellent, Successful painting...like the best, you make it look so easy...

Mary Manahan

Steve Penberthy said...

-Shirley: You're right--Hopper did use those strong Indigo darks in similar fashion to this. Thank you for the comparison! :)

-Mary: Your comments always give me such encouragement. Thank you!

Krista Meister said...

Steve, I love the strong shadows and sunlit areas. It's always nice to see when you post your value sketches too. Great painting!

Steve Penberthy said...

Krista: Thanks! Getting enough light into the painting is something, as you know, that I struggle with and must keep diligent about--glad to hear it's coming across!

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Wow, Steve, this is beautifully done...

Steve Penberthy said...

Kate: I really appreciate the feedback; it really made my day! Have a very warm, safe, and Happy Holiday season! -- Steve

quirkyartist said...

I just love this and this is how I would like to paint. (I wish).

Ramona Davidson said...

I saw dozens of these on my trip out west this summer. Going home through the back roads of Texas I saw one in every town my husband and I went through. You captured it perfectly. Good job and art.

Steve Penberthy said...

Quirkyartist: You flatter me; thank you.

Ramona: Grain elevators just say "Americana" in so many ways. Thanks for the comment!