Quito wasn’t built in a day

Quito Light and Shade. Oil on canvas board. 20 x 16

And this painting seems to be taking nearly as long.  I think I’m getting a little closer to cracking the right colour for that wall.  Which has been driving me mad, as it happens.  I’ve come quite close to scrapping this piece and moving on.  I know that it gets progressively lighter as we go up – which it shouldn’t – but I know how to fix that now.

The value seems to be nearer now too – I’ve posted a greyscale of the picture to show what I mean.  The values on the right hand (shadow) side of the scene are now a lot better, I think.  The white stucco and the balconies need fixing, as in toning down to match the value of everything around them, but I’m hoping that will be relatively simple.  Famous last words?


Here’s the greyscale.  Quite neat what Picasa can do for you.  Even if it still can’t figure out the date changes at midnight when you leave it running overnight…

Quito – day three. Colour and value…

Quito Light and Shade. Oil on canvas board. 20 x 16

… continue to evade me!  Or at least  they do for that main building on the right hand side of the picture.  Just cannot seem to get that one nailed down, most strange.  Before it was too green, now it’s too ‘mustard’.  And both were too high in value.  I’m finding it very difficult to mix a dull, pastel-looking yellow that’s also quite low in value since it’s in deep shade.  I’m starting to think that maybe I will have to cheat and change the colour of the building into something that I can at least get the right value for.

I’ve also noticed that, whilst painting (and re-painting) that facade I’ve managed to twist the lintel of the front door, and it’s now completely out of perspective.  Must fix that next time.

Quito Light and Shade – Day Two

Quito Light and Shade. Oil on canvas board. 20 x 16




















Well I’ve got a little further with this now, but am finding it something of a struggle.  The right hand side of the street is supposedly in shadow, and I’m not entirely happy with the colour of the main building you can see there, the closest one to the viewer.  It still seems a bit light to me.

However, I’ve been working on the painting this evening – and thus in artificial light – so I should probably give it another look over in the cold light of morning and see if it needs adjusting or not.

Clearly there is still quite a lot to do.  Some tweaks with the middle and background, sharpening up of the edges and detail of the windows and balconies on the main building, and some figures to be added in the street.  I may revisit the clouds (again) as well.  They still look cartoon-ish to me…

Just to dampen my painting spirits I’ve been having a quick look at some artwork online.  If you’ve never seen it take a look at the work of Anders Zorn; utterly amazing – in particular the way he was able to paint water.

Quito Light and Shade

Quito Light and Shade. Oil on canvas board. 20 x 16




















This is from a photo I took in Quito late last year.  The perspective is quite tricky, but it should make an interesting scene if I can get it right; the right hand side of the street is in shadow and the other side is in bright sunshine.

What you see so far was produced in a spare (!) hour this evening, so was done under artificial light.  That’s far from ideal but beggars can’t be choosers…  The clouds need considerable tweaking, both in terms of shape and of colour.  But at least there is some paint on the canvas.

I’m still experimenting with my colours here.  The green from the horizon hills has been carried into the lower parts of the sky a little – this seems to make sense as of course light will reflect back from the ground into the sky (it makes sense to me anyway).  And I have also added some yellow into the lighter parts of the clouds; but the whole cloud mass needs a lot more work yet, especially the colours on the left hand side of the picture.  They’re too far apart right now.

The layout of the site has been adjusted slightly too.  I binned the old RSS feeds from the top of the page and have added a ‘Subscribe via email’ box.  It’s dead easy to use!  You will only get an email if there has been a new post on the site – and then only one email per day.  So your inbox isn’t about to get flooded with messages from me, even if I start churning out half a dozen paintings a day.  And naturally your email address is used only to send you news of updates here; it will not be shared with anyone else at all.  I dislike spam just as much as you do, believe me…