Here's another one from the backlog, but one from last year. This was completed in April 2019. The theme for the Summer 2019 exhibition was "reflections" and I hadn't done my themed painting yet and the exhibition was due to hit in May. So this was essentially my last painting before the exhibition. You can image me, yet again, sat toying with ideas in my head just before the exhibition, grasping at any and every ounce of inspiration. I actually quite like the strictures of painting to requirements set by someone else, not that it's got to represent reflections is that specific. Nevertheless, I went through a variety of compositions. I liked the cobbled stones I did of my Prague street painting, so reflections in a puddle came quickly to mind. But what am I reflecting? The kid was an obvious subject, making that connection with puddles and boots. I needed a backdrop. I tried out in my mind various street scenes, mainly based on a shopping street, keeping the colours muted. However, I decided that whatever way I handled a shopping street, it was going to grab the focus. Instead I decided to keep the backdrop as simple as possible. I was envisioning something like a seaside road with the sea just out of view.
The colour scheme was chosen right out of what I knew would go down well. You see this scheme all over the place. The majority of picture was to be kept muted, but with a bit of sky blue to knock it away from grey. The main figure had to be in red. Don't ask me why, but it works. The good thing about this trick is that people don't notice it happening unless they already know about it.
Add to the mix a strong slant of perspective to provide depth and an interesting view point. As this is about reflections, make the puddle the subject. So let the view point look downwards into the puddle. There's a wonderful drawing by Escher Three Worlds that is essentially just looking at a pond but seeing three different angles as a result - that was definitely on my mind. So I decided that you would only see the girl's face in reflection, emphasising the puddle.
This was in acrylics on canvas.
I first filled the space with, I think it must have been bright blue and burnt something or other. The main point is that the shade has a lot of green in it. Ultramarine would have killed this painting, making it gloomy. It had to have light. This rough daubing gives the impression of the bright reflection and a wall behind that adds shadow. I drew a set of guides to show where the street will be and where the cobbles would be placed. These guides set up the perspective. Notice that the distances between the guides shrinks towards the left as they are supposed to mark out sections of equal size. I then blocked in the girl. Notice that the reflection is smaller than the girl herself. You can imagine the vertical perspective lines gives a vanishing point well off the bottom of the painting.
On the whole, I think I would have liked to have a more interesting background, but a shopping street would have blocked out the sunlight and that lifts the image and does interesting things. I decided on the title quite late. Never under estimate the power of a title. This one is perfect. This painting went down surprisingly well. I am still not entirely sure why.