Friday, 24 February 2012

Cityscapes - and Terry Miura's Challenge

Terry Miura - Cityscapes

If you're interested in painting cityscapes, I suggest you check out Terry Miura's blog Studio Notes as he's running a challenge.  It's akin to the challenges which Karin Jurick used to run - the provision of a reference photograph and the challenge to produce a painting from it - as the artist sees it.  The difference is that participant's posts are being reproduced - with commentary from the artist - on Terry's own blog.
Cityscapes are hard to paint not only because everything has to be drawn well, but also because there's just an overwhelming amount of information that needs to be processed. Simplification is key, but arbitrary editing of detail can easily end up with a weak painting that lack a sense of intent.
Here are the relevant posts:
  • Simplify  - Terry suggests some rules he uses to simplify his cityscapes
One way to approach it is to have rules for editing –and you know by now I like rules. This way, you can do it systematically (more or less) and it helps me to get the painting going in the right direction. Here are some that I use often;
  • Decide on a dominant color theme (in this case, blue green) and mix every color as a variation of it. (you want violet? start with blue green and bend it towards violet. Think of it as a violet-er version of the original blue green)
  • Paint every element (car, tree, asphalt, etc.) in just two values. Later on you can add a third value to the more important elements.
  • Link all similar valued adjacent shapes.
  • Have a large passive area. (Forces me to have an area with NO detail, juxtaposed against which the more active areas need less "stuff" in order to look detailed)
  • Treat super sharp edges as exclamation points. Don't shout everywhere.
Here's a link to a slideshow of Terry's own cityscapes

1 comment:

A.Decker said...

Wow. Thanks for the link. This is very tempting.

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