Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Busker

One of the problems I've had in the past that I've been trying to resolve is the tendency to paint the main subject of the image first, then fill in the background.

What this usually results in sometimes is an inconsistency in the background, especially when there is a lot of stuff going on. Sometimes it's inconsistencies in patterning and brushwork, sometimes it's a bit of an aura around the main subject.

For this piece, I endeavoured to fill in the entire background, and then once I was satisfied, I focused on the subject at hand, a gentleman I came across busking in Quebec City a few years back.  Quebec is full of different buskers.  It's really cool.  There was this guy, a guy on the boardwalk who played saxophone; a little old man who played guitar while his wife sang; a harpist; just music everywhere.

Acrylic on 11x14 canvas
So, for starters, I created a plain grey-ish background, and began the work of setting in the brickwork.  Getting the perspective right for the little background alcove was challenging.  I really wanted to give a three-dimensional perspective.


A photo posted by andie (@lilmscreant) on


I had a difficult time with the perspective on the ground tiles, which left them looking a bit like a rolling, fun-house floor.


A photo posted by andie (@lilmscreant) on


Adding the shading to the alcove at least made it look more 3-dimensional.

Once I was as close to satisfied as I was going to get, I used some unbleached titanium to block in my subject. I've found the unbleached titanium good for when I need to cover over mistakes, because it has pretty decent coverage, but also doesn't seem to bleed through whatever goes over it.

A photo posted by andie (@lilmscreant) on

Once I had something fairly person-looking, I blocked in the main colors...

A photo posted by andie (@lilmscreant) on

... Then the details, and done!

A photo posted by andie (@lilmscreant) on

Room for improvement?

As mentioned, the brickwork is wonky in places, which messes up some of the perspective. And, as always, freakin' HANDS.

Favourite bit?

The guy had some very dusty looking shorts on. I think I caught that nicely.  Body proportion is a thing I have a problem with sometimes, especially when not looking at the subject dead on. I feel like, this time, he's fairly proportioned, considering the original camera angle (hence the shortened legs... that, for once, is not me).

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