One corner shop, three tries

gadophotoI 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.gado_study1.jpg

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.gado_study3

So it was on to attempt #3.
gado_study4The 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.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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9 Responses to One corner shop, three tries

  1. ruthbyrn says:

    Suhita, in the photo the things on the back wall contribute to a strong and pleasing triangular composition.

    Ruth Byrn Sent from my iPhone Please address responses to: Follow me on Flickr: Twitter: @RuthByrn



  2. Judy Salleh says:

    Thanks so much Suhita, it’s very interesting to see you working through things. I’ve been doing a similar thing myself and working on contrasts of white and dark and what works and what doesn’t so good to see your process, especially as the question arises “how do you make it real without being too busy and confusing?”. Would love to see how you resolve it. I love the picture too


  3. Soni says:

    I’d like to see you use your line & wet-in-wet & go for it in your usual fresh approach after trying the new ways ; sometimes that produces an entirely different combo


  4. I would say to use the photo as a jumping off point for your lovely lively line drawings. Then back in with bright colors on a brush, darks last.


    • Thanks Sue, that’s my usual way to work… but I’m trying here to work in form without using line as support. No, I’m not giving up line permanently, but working without it helps me see differently. It’s an interesting exercise.


  5. Grace says:

    I really like the first piece best, it is fresh, has color and to me it reads well, not jumpy at all. All your work is an inspiration, thanks for sharing. Grace


  6. Mandy says:

    Hi Shuta, Grace took the words right out of my mouth, I like the first one the best as well


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