"Strings" - Nashville
6 x 12 acrylic on canvas
Available through DPW gallery/auction
I've been wandering around Nashville, TN for this months Virtual Paintout, and I discovered that there are areas where Google documented while on foot rather than in a vehicle. And, while on foot, they wandered into various shops and stores to record the interiors. How great it is to step through the doors of some of these great places and see what the store owners have setup for display and advertising. This painting is from "Williams Fine Violins" and the original image can be seen here.
The patterns caught my eye - the violins, all hung on the wall (when you look at the original Google, you'll see 2 rows of violins). But it was their shadows as well as their shapes that I noticed, along with the turning angles of the violins. They said one main thing to me "have to paint."
I opted to go with only 1 row of violins, and to reduce the painted image to only shapes. I thought that would play up the patterns better.
I've been asked how do I "see" the shapes when I do these types of paintings. Well, I'd love to tell you that I simply squint and see them, but actually I enlist the help of my handy computer. Basically, when I find a location in Google maps that interests me, I take a screen grab of the image as it appears on screen. I do this with all VPO projects. Then I open the screen grab in Photoshop.
The next steps vary, as I often work with the image to remove items or to add items to create a balanced image. In this case, my screen grab shown here has both rows of the violins in it.
At first I thought I would do both rows, but while working in Photoshop I thought it would do better as a single row, and that I'd go with the 6x12 ratio that I love to use. So I cropped it, then began roughly removing any remaining objects that I do not want. I'll grab the brush tool or the close stamp tool to adjust & alter the image. When that is done to my liking (and I don't try to make the image perfect, this is simply for a painting reference) I will usually increase the brightness & the contrast as I want as much distinction between the foreground & background in the image. Then I go into the filter gallery to play.
Some of my favorite filters I use are: Cutout, Dry Brush, Poster Edges - but I've used many of the others as well. Sometimes I will use only 1 filter, sometimes I'll wind up using multiples. I play until I find something I like, then print it. This becomes my photo reference for the painting. I also save the altered image on the computer so that I can reference it on screen as well. (I often travel on the weekends, and take my art with me, so I like to take the prints with me). I will printout the original as well so I can reference any parts that are unclear or to see the colors & values better.