"The Ice Cream Man" I bought this tin ice cream truck last year and have been gathering other objects and developing the story behind the painting. Nothing was more exciting during the summer months of vacation than to hear the music of the ice cream man in the distance. Our ice cream man was named Herbie, and if you timed it just right when you were buying your ice cream from him, he would take the empty cardboard box that held the ice cream bars and pop it on top or your head. The frost from the box would go down your neck and make that 90 degree day feel real cool. Not to mention that you were the 'chosen one' that day, and that carried a lot of weight in my neighborhood. This tin truck was the spark for the inspiration that will soon become a painting.

Here is a photo I took a few years ago in Long Beach, in the Belmont Heights area. Looks like my grandma's house in Los Angeles that we lived in for a short time when I was 4 years old. I am envisioning the ice cream truck parked in front of the house with the ice cream man handing a Popsicle and a Fudgsicle to two small girls. The girls had just been playing hopscotch and jumprope.

Here's the box of chalk that I will use in the painting.

I found an unused Popsicle and Fudgsicle wrapper and had to make a couple of frozen treats out of foamcore board to go in the wrappers.

Here they are, ready to go into the still life set up. I am waiting for a vintage jumprope that I purchased. It may be a week before it arrives...

Although I've found my three models for this painting, Spring Break has sent my two youngest models on vacation, delaying their photoshoot. I've decided to begin the design of the image, placing the house in the upper part of the canvas. I've been contacted by a couple of high schools that use my step-by-step pages in their art curriculum. They would like to have a little more information for their students as to how I draw the image on the canvas. So here goes. With the house, I placed a sheet of clear mylar over the photograph and made my own gridlines.

Here's what it looks like finished. After I decided how large I wanted the house to be on the canvas, I drew corresponding gridlines on a sheet of white chipboard. This is an old mural artist's technique for scaling up a drawing onto a wall or larger surface. By observing just where certain parts of the house appear in each box formed by the gridlines, I copy those areas into the corresponding box on the chipboard.

Here you can see the chipboard with the grid lines and the drawing of the house on it. I worked it all out with pencil and then drew over it with a black thin marker.

Here's a close-up of the roof section. I drew this on chipboard instead of directly on the canvas so that I would still have the option of moving it up and down, left and right on the canvas. In order to get the drawing onto the canvas, I will lay a large piece of tracing paper over the drawing and trace the outline of the house onto the tracing paper with the black marker.

Here I am tracing the outline drawing with the tracing paper and the marker.

I'm using a #2 pencil now, rubbing it on the backside of the tracing paper.

With the graphite on the back of the tracing paper, it becomes carbon paper. I tape it to the canvas and...

With a 6H pencil, I retrace the outline, pressing the graphite from the #2 pencil onto the canvas.

Here's what the canvas looks like after transferring the drawing onto it.

I've had my props out in the sunshine today, moving them around, trying to find a grouping that works for the space I have allotted at the bottom of the painting.

My models are coming over to pose on Thursday. Hope there is some sunshine...

Well, the sun was shining and so were the faces on the models. Looks like I'll have plenty to work on this week, positioning them into the painting... By the way, Aria and Makenzie, (now a bit older) made the U.S. Olympic women's water polo team and will compete in Rio in 2016.

I've drawn in all the other objects onto the canvas and started blocking in the sky and background trees. I'll move into the house now...

...defining the detail in the siding and choosing hues of gray to make up my shadow areas.

I've made the shadows on the front facades of the house vary from cool (area of house set back) to warm as in the front porch projection. This part of the house reflects more light off of the cement walkway and sidwalk area, making the value (darkness) lighter and warmer.

Here's the house and background all blocked in with its thin wash of oil and turpentine.

This is a close-up of Aria in the foreground, sitting on one of the jumprope handles. Her older sister, Makenzie, is paying for both ice cream treats but she can't wait and has started on her popsicle.

Here is Makenzie paying the ice cream man. Notice that the man's right hand is making change on his 'belt changer'. This is my changer, one that I bought when I was thirteen for collecting monthly subscriptions on my paper route.

The next objects that I will paint will be those things that have a generic color that defines those objects. Things like clothing (except for the ice cream man who has a uniform) that can be adjusted will be last to be painted, giving me the option to help balance or contrast the focal areas of the painting.

Here you see the box of chalk, which I have given a preliminary pass of oil.

The jumprope handles had to be red (although they came in many colors) because they are most identifiable in that color.

I've painted the Popsicle and the Fudgsicle their 'generic' colors.

I've begun to paint the ice cream truck. In order for it to look more like a toy, I've added a wind-up key on the lower rear of the truck.

Here's where the painting stands at this point.

The ice cream truck is roughed in.

I've begun to paint in the detail of the fruit clusters in the design of the tablecloth. Once I am finished I will pick a color to go into the box design on the tablecloth. The actual color is pink and I don't think I want that color dominating the bottom of the painting.

I've completed painting the fruit clusters and have begun laying in the 'box design' on the tablecloth. I've decided to replace the pink color inside the squares with a warm tan and have painted the lines that separate the squares on off white.

You can see that I've also started putting in the cast shadows.

Here's another close-up showing the cast shadows of the ice creams. I've yet to start painting in the darker value of the tablecloth that hangs over the front of the street.

I've blocked in the front of the tablecloth and...

...put the detail into the braided rope.

Two of my models are in place.

And that makes three!

The only thing left is the jumprope diagram on the driveway. It will go in as part of my second and final paint application.

I've begun the final paint application. I don't use any additives (media), just the thickness of the pigment right out of the tube. The sky and the trees are finished.

The trees in the upper right of the painting.

I drew in with off white paint the hopscotch pattern.

The roof has final paint as well as the left side of the house (which I substantially darkened). I decided to paint the steps and the porch a reddish color to give the house a little more 'pop' and to provide a better backdrop for the ice cream truck.

I've decided to add some interest to the cast shadows coming from the house to the right of the driveway. I chose Italian Cypress tree shadows so that I could get a linear pattern that stops the viewers eye from going up the driveway too quickly. I don't mind someone enjoying the 'mother-in-law quarters' at the end of the driveway, but I would like their initial focus to be on the ice cream transaction and activities in the foreground.

Here's a close-up of the right side of the house. Except for the brickwork on the front porch, the house is done. The driveway and planter area is next.

This is the left side of the house. The play of light through the picket fence and the narrow 'peek' into the neighbor's backyard adds interest to this part of the painting.

Chalk up one more item painted... Sorry for the pun, but the box of chalk is done...(now I'm rhyming!)

The ice cream truck is completed. It's funny how a tin toy looks fairly real when enlarged to human scale...

And the jumprope is fully painted. Now on to the Popsicle and Fudgsicle.

Here I am putting the finishing touches on the two frozen treats and...

...now they are done!

Two of my figures are finished. Notice that although I have used a small sable brush to do the details of the figures (faces, hands and legs), I used a larger bristle brush to do the clothing. It makes a nice contrast and simplifies the clothing so that it doesn't distract from the simplicity of the pose.

And that makes three done! Now all I have left is the tablecloth, which includes the cast shadow from all the objects and the tablecloth itself.

Compare this photo with the one above. Notice the heavy paint on the tablecloth in this photo. I love showing the brushstrokes of the heavy 'looser' areas that surround a smoother 'detailed' area.

Here's another detail of the tablecloth as it curves over the edge of the table (or street?)

See how I darkened the shadow under the Fudgsicle, helping the wrapper 'pop' off the edge of the tablecloth. I also made the cast shadow and darker vertical areas of the tablecloth with a slightly greenish brown cast to show that there is a warm reflective light bouncing into it.

It was a long haul, but "Ice Cream Man" is finished. Hope you enjoyed the journey!