I had this painting on hold for months and finally finished it this week because we had days of rainy cloudy weather. The hardest part was painting the people. I thought the scene needs the people and I didn’t have models. I have some photos of the scene but I h8 working from photos since I’ve been working in plein air and that spoiled me. I looked at my photos and did sketches off and on for days. Then I painted them and still made many corrections.
You might think this painting has a lot of detail. I only painted the detail that I thought was necessary for the composition. Actually, I left out more detail than I painted. There was a tree in my way and the branches were blocking part of the view.
They have a lot of cool old fashioned street lamps there, and I bet they look great at night, but during the day they show up as black lines breaking up the view. The lamps have banners celebrating Richmond’s history. I changed the perspective a little from what your camera would show you. I’m not sure if camera perspective is accurate anyway. I eliminated a black fence and black posts on top of the hill. Plus I left an opening in the fence I painted so the viewer’s eye can go through to the street in between the buildings, which you can’t see because I didn’t paint any cars. Also a lot more people are on the boat than the ones I painted. The boat has a name I decided to not paint. The boats are named “Pocahontas, Maggie Walker, and Martha Washington.” The boats have flags that I didn’t paint. There’s a bench and sign I eliminated.
There’s strings of Christmas lights between the 2 buildings on the left and tables with umbrellas that are open sometimes, but I decided to not paint them even though I think they’re pretty. There’s other details I just forgot.
It was a real challenge and time consuming. I have to keep challenging myself or I won’t get better at this.
People see my art as Realism. I don’t see it that way because I know what it really looks like, but if someone thinks this is Realism, I’ll let them call it that. I might have to put some qualifier like “Contemporary” in front of Realism. But then, there are people who don’t see my work as Contemporary, because that’s Modern Art to them, and they see my paintings as old fashioned. When you think about it, doesn’t contemporary mean coming from this time and place? If that’s true, then I can call my paintings “Contemporary Realism”. If any of our readers is an expert on art isms, please weigh in.