Thursday, June 9, 2011

Old Galveston Square

After several years of on and off painting sessions, I finally finished the 18x24 inch oil painting of Old Galveston Square.  The reference photo was taken in the winter of 2002 with a Mavica digital camera, which was the best digital back in the day.  However, it was great for taking closeups, but not for panoramics with distances.  I used it anyway as it has my grandson (standing in the warmup suit on lower left) and my wife (standing by the bus looking at the game)  in the picture. My grandsons and I have played chess on a frequent basis since they were old enough to learn.

The poor quality of the reference photo was a good excuse to go back to Galveston to take more pictures and enjoy the town.  We went several months after hurricane Ike had come through, and it was demoralizing to see the destruction left by it.  The people were already recovering their town.  Very visibly, shop owners and residents could be seen running saws and hammering away to rebuild Galveston.  Those folks are strong Americans.  For what I needed to paint from, the first visit back was not very productive due to the reconstruction and things about the square had changed. The next trip a year later was much more productive and to our joy, the square was active and people were playing chess again.  I  was able to capture some close ups of the pieces to compare against the older photo.  Also, rebuild my memory about the square.

The work took a long time as it had many components that had to harmonize to make it work. The final session of painting was about six weeks of work when not going to shows and letting paint dry enough to start again.  So, in painter talk, was this painting done from a photo or from life?  I like to think it was a little of both.  The visits set the mood and feel and, the photo refreshes the memory while you paint.  I had to interpret and deviate quite a bit from the photo because some things just didn't look right.

Some people would probably think putting so much time into one painting is rediculous or either the painter (me) didn't know what he was doing.  Probably the latter.  I have been known to overwork a painting before.  Many I complete in short order, depends on how much fun I am having.  In the case of Old Galveston Square, it was one of the most enjoyable paintings I have worked on.  My wife is my second set of eyes and although not a painter, she is a great critiquer of paintings.  Her critiques during the work really made a difference.  I would appreciate your comments re. the painting.

I plan to hold on to the original for awhile, but will have prints for sale soon if anyone is interested.  I hope you like the painting and my rambling story.

Let us pray before we paint,  

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