How to combine sketches, photos and imagination in painting

During my last 3 months in London I have gathered quite a lot of reference material.  I have been making sketches, taking  photos and visited many places that I find absolutely unique. My intention now is to paint a new series of oil paintings using my sketches, photos, memory and imagination. Below you can see how I used my artist “licence” to transform reality into art.

I chose my favourite although a very busy place – Picadilly Circus.

Picadilly Circus blog

I used a sketch which I made from life at the Picadilly. I experimented with composition to find the version that would be the most interesting.  I decided to make the building on the right higher than it actually is, I included a bigger part of the building on the left  and I also exaggerated the curve created by the distant buildings.

Picadilly sketch

To help myself remember  “what´s  there” I took several photos (although my final painting is far from copying them). A grey and rather cold day didn´t affect my feeling that the place is very exciting and beautiful.

picadilly photo

The next step is a value sketch on a canvas to describe where the darkest darks and lightest lights are.  I use thin layers of paint  at this stage.
20140923_130005 The most enjoyable  part of painting  begins – adding colour and playing around with thicker layers of paint. At this stage I use a lot of my memory and imagination. I only remembered crowds of people everywhere, noise of traffic and bright colours of the illuminated advertising screens. I needed to put all of this into the painting without  constant looking at the photo because I didn´t want to fall for details and make a mere copy. I suggested crowds of people by expressive, energetic strokes and  I  invented the two red busses as well as the taxi cab.

20141007_160223

 

Picadilly Circus, oil on canvas, 50cm x 60 cm, © Terslova 2014
Picadilly Circus blog

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