be the title of my next painting. It will be the
first surreal night scene that I will have
painted in oil. This pizza place in Newport Beach
has been the subject of past paintings, but this
time I'll be using the image in quite a different
kept this Ronzoni lasagna box on a shelf in my
studio for the past 20 years, having used it back
then in a watercolor called "The Fabulous
Flying Ronzoni's". This box will become an
Italian restaurant, sitting next to the pizza
the layout of the props that I'll insert into the
night photo of the pizza shop. Notice that I've
spliced extensions onto the two candles to get
them to the proper height so they will correspond
to the height of street lights.
here's how I'll light the props to coordinate
with the lighting in the pizza shop photo. I put
a light inside the lasagna box to show me how the
'restaurant' lighting affects the objects on the
street outside. It may be a little hard to
understand what I'm doing at this point, but I'll
make sense out of it shortly. The candles will
replace the street lights and the sign will be
painted on the side of the building.
flipped the pizza shop photo and...
also flipped another photo I took in the city of
Orange a few nights ago. I'll work this house
into the painting, making the pizza building look
like it borders an older neighborhood.
a quick black and white photoshop sketch of what
I am after.
using a ruler to draw in some of the longer
straight lines as in the top of the building.
This canvas is 33 1/4" x 50", a little
more horizontal than I usually work. I've chosen
this shape to allow me to create some atmosphere
on both sides of the canvas.
sky will determine what value (dark and light)
I'll have to paint all the objects in the
painting. I don't want it to be so dark that the
silhouettes of the Cypress trees disappear.
are the trees up against the sky. My studio
lighting is making the sky look like it is light
in the center and getting dark on the outside
edges of the canvas, but I've painting it all an
edge of the neighborhood will be pretty muted
except for the porch light that glows under the
in Italia", or "Come to Italy" is
the title of this outdoor billboard. I made it to
look like an ad put out by Modesti Travel, a
fictitious travel agency in this town.
exterior of the lasagna box is painted, leaving
the window to the interior for later.
tomato, as well as all the other reflective
objects in the painting, has more than one
unique waxy shine of the bell pepper is in place.
brown onion is now painted in front of the
this is the painting up to this point.
painted the salt and pepper shakers with a very
warm tone, assuming that this coloration will be
tinting the entire painting. I'll make hue
adjustments on the second stage of painting.
I am, applying color to the street...
a #1 Winsor & Newton bright. These brushes
are a blend of natural and synthetic material and
have the strength of hog bristle and the control
of a sable like brush.
ghostly shapes of the wine bottle and the candle
on the right make it hard to feel the dramatic
lighting, but it's starting to come to life as I
eliminate the blank areas of the canvas.
begun to paint the left side of the building.
a closer look at the pizza place with its windows
and doorway casting light out onto the sidewalk
Antinori 'Tuscana', 2006 is my Italian wine in
this painting. I searched for a bottle that had a
reddish seal on it to bring some color into the
dark sky. Except for a few objects, most of the
canvas has been covered. I asked my good friend,
Ron, and his fiancée, Cindy, if they would pose
in the painting.
set up a table for two in my enclosed patio,
waited until dark and...
the candles. As you can see, Ron and Cindie are
perfect for the parts. I will use four different
photos to compose the scene in the lasagna box.
rest of the buildings along the sidewalk are in.
The candle is next.
candle and now...
only thing left is the restaurant window.
begun the window interior by addressing the wall
behind the couple. By establishing the wall's
value, it will then tell me how dark to make the
man and woman.
I get into the detailed areas of the people and
the items on the table, I'll need a very small
brush. The smallest brush I use is a double ought
(00) red sable bright.
interior has given me the opportunity to paint a
very small oil painting within my painting. I've
even put a picture light on top of the frame.
figures are rendered.
that the lower part of the window sill was too
thick, so I extended the restaurant scene down a
few sixteenths. The entire window imagery is
one is complete. Now I'll go through the entire
painting, adjusting the hue and value on each
space and object, using straight out of the tube
thickness of paint.
darkness of the painting is dictated by the sky.
I want the sky to be dark, but not so dark that I
can't show the silouettes of the trees and I'd
like to have some contrast between the wine
bottle and the sky. When painting dark passages
in oil, the edges of brush strokes (because of
their thickness) catch the light from overhead
lighting and sometimes become distracting. Notice
that I am putting the final passage of sky color
(Winsor Blue, Burnt Sienna and Black) on with
vertical strokes. When I light the framed
painting, the sky will become a backdrop and
won't draw too much attention.
the sky completed, you can see how the trees have
lost their contrast. This is partly because the
thinned oil paint dulls when it dries and also
because I couldn't get a dark enough value with
the white canvas showing through.
completed the dark Cypress trees and other
foliage up against the sky.
photo makes the sky appear lighter than it really
is, but you can see how nicely the wine bottle
(which is now finished) 'pops' against the sky.
the painting so far. The darks of the trees and
the wine bottle tell me how dark other objects
need to be painted. The rooftop on the house to
the right will be painted as dark as the trees.
completed the house in the background.
favorite area of the house is the light shining
on the porch.
lasagna box is the focal point, I've painted the
face of the box its final value which will start
to tell me how dark some of the other areas
nearby need to be. Also, the lettering on the box
jumps out when the dark blue surrounds it,
letting me know that it needs to be darkened with
its final layer.
began to apply the last layer of paint on the
billboard ad, it became difficult to judge how
dark to go because the sky, trees, wine bottle
and the neighborhood house had all dried with a
chalky surface. This is normal on darkly painted
areas, as the original dark value (when it is
wet) lightens when it is dry. I've given those
areas a light coat of retouch varnish to bring
back the rich values. You can see in this photo
how nice that looks.
billboard is finished as well as the overhanging
entire corner building is now complete along
working on the lettering on the lasagna box. This
very precise application of paint takes many days
to get it just right. To show the difference in
the initial layer of paint and the final layer,
look at the 'NET WT. 1' at the bottom of the box.
It has been given a final, darker value. The '6
OZ.(1LB)(453g)' is still in its preliminary
lettering is complete as well as the entire
outside of the lasagna box.
down the left side is completed. I varied the
color of the cast light according to the type of
on the candles today. Getting the flames to look
correctly was fun. Notice the subtle blue cast at
the bottom of the flame.
the completed side of the painting (minus the
tomato and onion).
left to complete are the three vegetables, salt
and pepper shakers, the foreground
street/sidewalk and the restaurant in the lasagna
final layer of oil makes the tomato look nice and
the bell pepper shine!
had a visit from the Arts Council of the Laguna
Art Museum. The council is made up of former and
current docents of the museum. I shared my
with the group,
explaining the various steps I go through in the
tomato is joined by its onion neighbor as I have
finished painting it. I chose to darken the onion
quite a bit which will allow me to darken the
street around it later on.
applied the final layer of paint on the salt and
pepper shakers, I cooled off the warm hues that
were in the first passage. They were a little too
orange compared to the rest of the objects in the
the final touches on the sidewalk, the street and
all the shadows from the vegetables and salt and
pepper shakers. Compare this photo to the one of
the shakers above and you can see the change.
Everything was darkened up considerably, allowing
the scene in the lasagna box to glow.
is left is the inside of the restaurant. Painting
the figures is a major undertaking in this
painting, mainly because of the small size of
their heads and facial features... but it will be
Friday, April 1, 2011, the Laguna Beach Alliance
for the Arts presented me with the Art Stars
Award for Artist of the Year. Along with the
award, I was given a beautiful sculpture by Louis
completed the final area of the painting, the
interior of the restaurant.
Italy" is finished. I'll
let it dry for a couple of weeks and then apply a
thin layer of varnish to bring out the dull
patches of paint.