I have this photograph I took somewhere in India of a lady at a corner shop, a little gado. It’s hard to put my finger on what I like so much about, but I love that scene.
And I thought I’d try painting it. Sounded simple enough. Turned out to be anything but that.
There’s a few (newish to me) things I’ve been trying lately that come together in this exercise, like painting from photographs and working in just watercolor with no line. And then there’s some stuff I’d like to keep of how I usually work mostly wet-in-wet, pretty loosely and without masking.
First I did the little thumbnail below to help me figure how to simplify the photograph and break it into layers: the depths of the dark little shop, the middle space with the lady and the foreground stuff: the drinks, the bananas hanging from a jute rope.
But my first attempt ended up here. You can tell I had fun with color, but all that was left on my page was a mess of broken up bits of colors. So I added notes on it, and moved on to my next attempt.
Very early on, I realized I was never going to be happy with the timid colors of this attempt, even though I liked that the values worked much better in creating space.
So it was on to attempt #3.
The trouble is, there’s things that sort of work with each of these pieces and things that don’t, it’s like two steps forward, and…
Working like this, and attempting a piece over and over is an interesting, if pretty frustrating exercise. I like the challenge, though. Still, I’m taking a break from this piece. But I’m going to have to come back for another attempt: that blank-looking wall at the back of the shop bothers me more than all the technical stuff that I didn’t get right, because that would never happen: there’s never a little gado that doesn’t fill every inch of space it has with things to sell.