This is another story of a painting. I always this view looking up 10th Street towards SAIT. The bottom image is how it began life. This particular image shows the original version in one of it’s earlier stages. I thought the composition had some promise but overall it didn’t do much for me . . . and so it sat for quite a while.
The middle image is the first reworking of it with greater contrast and especially more people added to create a sense of story. Definitely stronger but still far from a wow painting.
Recently, I had occasion to really examine it and I was motivated to try to bring it to life. Again with a lot of help and insights from my wife, Susan we identified a number of issues including:
• not a strong enough sense of light
• not a strong centre of interest
• the buildings on the right front didn’t balance the buildings on the left (even though they are fairly accurate)
• the banners on the left were too low
• I also felt that the car on the left should exit the frame
Since there was already so much paint on it I had to do much of the renovation with gouache. By the end I felt that the original placement of the car on the left was better so I went back to that. Enlarging the buildings on the left and raising the banners made a big difference. All the changes have made it a much stronger painting with a fairly compelling story.
I would also like to mention the usefulness of gouache. It is certainly a wonderful medium in it’s own right but as a way to change/fix failed watercolours it is great. There is a real freedom being able to add the light over dark. Gouache has quite a different texture to transparent watercolour but when it’s integrated well into a painting it fits right in.