Woman with Child – 6 November 2010

Woman with Child 6 November 2010 - watercolor and India Ink on paper - 6"x9"

This kind of urban scene is something I paint over and over. I think that this one turned out decent – not great. I like the drawing – a funky trapezoidal border, and a lot of strong verticals that accentuate her uprightness. I don’t think that the paint changed the drawing too much. The colors work ok – they include a few themes that I do often: the green woman, the urban background in mostly primary colors… I think that the whites form an interesting central focus – the white of the billboard, the baby, and the bag (in her left hand.)

I almost always include cars, because I think that they really shape our Los Angeles landscape – and not for the better.

Below are a few early states that I took cell phone shots of:

early state 1

As I often do, I drew her first. Often, the drawing sits like this for a few weeks or a lot longer, then I get around to giving it a background. (That was the case here1, here2, here3 and those are among the best pieces I’ve posted.)

Note the border – the trapezoidal shape is there… but will be drawn over and over to thicken it.

early state 2

Then the background gets added later. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of good verticals here: car door, building edge, billboard pole, liquor store door, even the lettes in LIQU[OR]. I didn’t consciously plan it that way, but I think it works well. There are also some lines that slope/converge toward the figure; these include the car roof, the building roof, and liquor stor roof. I mentioned how I do this earlier here.

early state 3

Then put down a wash (ochre-ish) then filled in the colors. The red of the car echoes the red of the car billboard – all that red sort of frames the figure nicely by the final version.

Basic color scheme is there, but will get a lot darker by the final state. Also, I worked in more details in ink: shading – hatching, more details through the car window, on the pants, etc.

The green shirt stands out a bit… I actually sort of painted myself into a corner on it. I did all the primary colors around her, then ended up with no color that really made sense on her. A looong time ago I was taught (and I believe it) that an artwork shouldn’t include one color only in one place – but should instead include echoes of similar colors throughout… otherwise, the one color spot draws too much attention… I figured it could be ok here to draw attention to her.

Wow… I wrote a longer explanation than this ok piece actually deserves.

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One response to “Woman with Child – 6 November 2010

  1. i like this one. it faithfully captures the character of the first street and vermont sts. area. i like that the lady is holding a bag at the same time. i miss LA.

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