Thursday, October 4, 2012

Virtual Paintout: Croatia

5x7 inches, oil on mat board

I enjoy painting, but sometimes I fall out of the habit.  That happened this summer when the temperatures upstairs in my studio were sauna-like.  I did anything except paint - in particular I got lost in a local history project that kept me researching online, visiting elders to mine for memories and walking cemeteries recording information.  But yesterday I decided to just get back on the art horse that I fell off this past summer.  

I painted this little scene for Bill Guffy's popular challenge blog, The Virtual Paintout.  Each month Guffy invites artists of all skill levels to virtually visit a different country and paint a scene found on Google Street View.  This month Croatia is the country.  I was moved to try this month because just a year ago we visited Croatia on a cruise - even though the visit was only for a morning.  We were both impressed with the beauty of the coast there, the mountains, blue ocean, and mild autumn climate. I was anxious to see more.

Virtually driving a country's roads can be equally fascinating and frustrating.  Sometimes the Google camera car seems to go out of its way to find deserted stretches of highway on dreary days.  I like to look for figures, and it seems to me that most often images of human beings are primarily found in big cities, and are often partially hidden behind cars or trucks.  I lucked out with these girls though.  They were sitting at a restaurant with outside seating, looking up from their conversation into the bright light at the bizarre sight of the Google camera car.  I toyed with the idea of eliminating the young woman with her back to the camera, but decided I liked the contrast of her light hair, and the suggested friendly conversation a group of three suggested.  I also considered giving the central figure a more distinct face, but finally decided to emphasize the larger shapes and play of light and shadow instead.

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