As with a number of my paintings, I start conjuring up my idea for an image by first obtaining a fun object.  In this case, it is a small tin taxi cab, made in Japan in the 1950's.

The back of the cab has a sign giving a safety warning instead of the usual advertising.

In this painting, I've decided to tell a story of love.  A man has taken a taxi to his love's house and greeted her with flowers and a bottle of wine.

The title of this painting will be "Two Cabs."  The second cab is pictured above.

Here is the bouquet of roses I will paint from.

My good friend, Derek, and his wife, Gail agreed to model for this painting.  On the day of the photoshoot, Derek's sister Debbie, and her husband Scott, detoured their vacation plans and came by so Scott (above), could be my taxi driver.  For a spur of the moment event, Scott fit the part like a glove.  Thanks again, Scott (and Debbie)!

I shot a number of poses of all the models, trying to get the essence of the moment in time. Here, Derek presents Gail with flowers, while he holds the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in his other hand.

Things don't always go smoothly.  The wind was up this day, so Carol had to hold Gail's hair in place for a few of the photos.

Stay tuned as I stretch the canvas and start my journey on "Two Cabs."

I've sketched the basics of the painting on the canvas and have decided to work on a more tedious area of the image first.  The narrow siding on the house calls for very precise detail so I've started there.  I've used a mixture of burnt sienna, French ultramarine, alizaron crimson and white to 'color' the siding, with the darker lines made from burnt umber and French ultramarine blue.

I blocked in the rest of the house with turpentine thinned washes of oil.  Alizaron crimson, burnt sienna and black for the door and window trim.  Thalo green, cadmium yellow, burnt sienna and Permalba white for the various shades of green on the roof.

The sky has been blocked in with a mixture of thalo blue and cadmium yellow.  The distant California hills of oak trees (French ultramarine blue, burnt siena and cadmium yellow) are placed on the hills which are painted with a thin layer of burnt umber, cadmium yellow and Permalba white.

Here's a close-up of the picket fence, defined by the darker values of the bushes and grass behind it.

This shows the picket fence and the background, completed for this phase of paint layers.

The bottle of cabernet sauvignon is shaded by the flowers, except for the very top of the bottle and the light that hits the left shoulder of the bottle.

Here's what the entire canvas looks like so far.

Next, I've defined the greenery of the roses and then...

...the red and yellow roses themselves.

The clear glass vase took some inspection.  Since I didn't have the hills and bushes behind the vase to see what the distorted shapes would look like, I had to make them up.

This photo shows the final 'roughed in' flowers and upper left area of the painting.

Scott, my taxicab driver is sketched in with a thin layer of oil.  I really like his pensive pose.

He really looks like he owns that tin toy taxi!

"Two Cabs" so far...

Here's a real close-up of Derek.  You can see the texture of the linen canvas.  If the tooth of the surface was any rougher, I wouldn't be able to define the features of a small figure.

I've roughed in his clothing and...

...finished him off with the bottle of wine, flowers and his cast shadow.

I made a correction to the house.  My first intention with the house was to make it look flat and to have a flat wall behind the vase of flowers.  When I changed my flat wall to a view of the distant hills, I forgot to change the perspective on the house.  With the viewer's eye coming into the painting from the mid left side of the image, a small portion of the side of the house would be seen.  I've adjusted that, the roofline and also (not seen) the front door steps.

Gail is the last 'object' that I need to give its first layer of turpentine thinned paint.  I worked on her head first.

Here's a photo of Gail from head to toe.  She came out great!

Now the painting is at its halfway point.  At least that is what I call it.  It is in no way half done, as the final paint application takes about twice as long as the first coat.

To begin the final process of applying the adjusted hue and value of each object or area, I've chosen the sky as my starting place.  Using the same pigments (thalo blue, cadmium yellow and white), I've applied it with a #1 bright bristle brush.  If you compare the two photos above, you can see that I've darkened the sky a bit, forcing me to then darken other areas around it to make it seem as bright as intended.  I'll paint the house next, darkening it also to not only help lighten up the sky, but to give me a better backdrop for the two figures standing in front of it.

I've darkened the siding and also removed the pink tone from the gray.  See how bright the trim around the window and door looks now.

I'm painting the door and window trim a darker value also.  See the area around the bottom of the door that I haven't painted yet.  This will give you some idea how much darker I went on the house.

Now the two figures will 'pop' more in the sunlight.  When I darken the red door, Gail's head will light up!

One thing has been bothering me in the painting. Although the cab is a toy, it looks a little real for me now.  So, I've added a wind-up key!

The window and door have been given their final dark rich colors, providing a good base value to make the house look like it is in reflective light.  It also provides a great backdrop for Gail's head and hair!

I've finished and darkened the background hills to correspond with the darkened sky.

Here's a close-up, showing the thicker paint application.

The bouquet of flowers is my next area to paint.  I've started with the yellow roses.

This close-up shows the how thick the paint is in the final application.

Although my paintings are realistic, they are not photographic.  They have a painterly quality in the final application of oil pigment.

The red roses were next in line to be painted.  Here is one photo and... is one more.

The greenery is finished. 

This close-up shows the thickness of the final paint.  Notice that the bottle of wine edge is rough.  It will be cleaned up when I put the final layer of oil on the bottle.

Here's one more detail, showing a completed area of the flowers.

I've completed the glass vase and here is a look at the entire painting.

The wine bottle is now finished.

I've painted the fence with a gray mixed with French ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, a touch of cadmium yellow and white.  The grass area and shrubs are darkened to make the fence 'pop'.

A look at the other end of the fence.

The fence and the area right behind it are competed.

I've just completed painting the taxi cab.  In the photo below... can see the thickness of the paint application.

I'm moving on to paint the man (Derek).  Since the taxi cab will be wet for a few more days, I will come back to Scott, the taxi driver later. Here is Derek's head after one layer of paint.  Compare it to the photo below which has the second and final layer applied.

I've darkened the value and increased the saturation of the colors.

This photo shows his entire figure.  I pushed the value of his suit to almost black, but made the color with burnt umber and French ultramarine blue.

As I showed the comparison of the two paint layers with Derek, here is the same comparison with Gail. Before and...

...after. I started by increasing the value of her hair and adjusted all her skin tones to balance with that.

Gail's blouse has lots of subtle values, some being cool (like on the shoulder) and others warm as those catching reflective light from the ground and other light struck areas.

This close-up shows the value difference between the first thin layer of paint and the final thick coat.  In the red circled area, you can see how much darker her pants are becoming.

Gail is now painted with her final layer of oil pigment.

Here's a look at the entire canvas.

This torso and head shot shows the thicker and darker passage of paint on Scott.

The finished whole figure. If you compare this with an earlier photo, you will see how the darkened area on the cab right behind his slacks shows the shadow within a shaded area that is created by the reflected light bouncing off the street.

After looking at the entire canvas, it was apparent to me that the label on the wine bottle was too dark.  In my effort to make it look like it was in the shade, I made the overall label color and value too gray and too dark.  Here you see me applying a mixture of burnt umber, French ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and white.

If you look at the area of the label just to the right of center, you can see me adding the lighter oil paint.

Here's a look at the finished 'brighter' label.

All that is left is the sidewalk, curb, street and the shadows.

Here are a few close-ups of the street and sidewalk areas with the cast shadows.

Everything is a relationship of values.  One value makes another look light or dark.  Just the indication of the crack in the sidewalk makes the shadow area look light, while it is considerably darker than the light struck area of the walkway.

Look closely at the shoes and you can see some blue middletones that are a reflection of the sky.

Just like the man's shoes, these high heels have blue toned hues that show the sky's influence.

"Two Cabs" is finished.  Thanks for watching!