Heading home

Today was a day of ups and downs. At once I was inspired and rearing to go, as well as rudely reminded of my own mediocrity and limitations.

The day began with watching Alvaro Castagnet work in some videos. I couldn't stop  watching him apply juicy colors and confident strokes and his sense of design inspired me to try it myself.

I have heard many artists say that it is always best to make a sketch as opposed to depending on a reference photo, and for the first time it sort of hit me how true that is. When you sketch, you are problem-solving, you are designing. When you take a reference photo, the camera captures everything it sees, and sometimes the subject that caught your eye is lost in the commotion. 

I have been trying to sketch from reference photos on the internet, and for the past few days I have found it so hard to be inspired by any of them. I spent countless hours scanning through pictures looking for something that might click and nothing seem to. Finally, I end up picking some random thing because I don't want the day to end without painting something. Artists also recommend to capture your own reference photos, because you have a sense of what interested you about the scene in the first place and you are less likely to be lost.

I am sure you heard all this many times over. I had too. Somehow it didn't hit me until now, the way it did today. 

When I was returning home from work, this scene of daily commute struck me. 

Specifically, I was attracted to the red car, and I thought to crop it in such a way as to make it the star.

Now it was time for me to design how I was going to paint this. I took a couple of minutes to do a quick charcoal sketch to map out the values.

Now, to turn this into watercolor I needed to plan and choose my colors. I thought I will try to keep everything fairly neutral and cool, and this way the car will shine. 

Honestly, I am not happy with how this painting turned out. I envisioned lovely loose brushstrokes and juicy marks like in Alvaro's paintings, and ended up with this. Of course I am disappointed with the painting, and with being struck down to face my own smallness. I think that is good though. It is good to remember that I am very much a beginner, and it takes a lot of work to make things look as easy as some do.

After I have had sometime to process all this, I am proud, though that I tried to do what I did, and I hope to keep up the practice.