began in my head a year or so ago when I bought
this "Flying Saucer". I immediately
thought of my childhood, when constant UFO
sightings were reported from different deserts in
the southwest. As kids we'd go outside and stare
into the night sky and try to spot an alien
invader. With this canvas, I want to show a funky
'motor court' on a lonely road in the middle of
the desert. Its whimsical 50's signage invites
passers-by to steer off course and "Rocket
another tin toy spaceship that will grace the
parking lot or the sky around the "Rocket
passed by the "C-VU" Motel hundreds of
times on El Camino Real in south San Clemente,
but just last week it caught my eye. I started
visualizing what it would look like with all of
its surroundings removed and with all the 'right
stuff' accompanying it. I'll have to remove
everything in the photo except for the foreground
building, and I'll have to extend the 'motel
room' part so that it will accomodate a few more
built this sign to go out in front of the motel.
I studied some vintage signage which helped me
come up with this design.
taped a stick to the bottom of the flying saucer
so that I could see what it looks like 'floating
in the air'...
begun to draw the motel onto the canvas.
extending the rooms of the motel off the right
side of the canvas.
decided to start with the motel sign. I have
adjusted the perspective from the photo I took.
is the sign with its first passage of paint. I
will add the neon tubing and its shadows when
this has dried in a few days or so.
painted the 'basics' of the flying saucer,
leaving some of the detail for when it dries a
little. I also left some areas in the cockpit
'dome' until I know what the color of the sky
the entire canvas. I put in the two objects that
either project into or are in the sky. This will
tell me how dark to paint the sky. I will also be
drawing in the figure of a man reading a
newspaper, while sitting in a chair in the
parking lot, just outside the office.
painted the sky with a gradual 'dark to light'
from top to bottom and put in the silhouette of
the furthest mountain range. Notice how the color
of the mountain range is very close to the same
color as the darkest part of the sky.
'lapped' the forground mountains over the distant
ones, making them a warmer blue-violet. The
mountain on the left has a lot of atmosphere
present as it goes down to the desert floor,
making the blue-violet transition into a warmer
a look at the 'motel manager'...
drawn him in just outside the office in the
parking lot. I also drew in another metal 'clam
style' chair. I've also begun to paint the motel
with a pinkish coral color with a dark matching
painted the doors with a turquoise hue.
attack the windows next.
the motel, windows and all. I'll work on the man
in the chair next.
is, reading the newspaper.
parking lot 'car' is painted.
in the desert.
the entire painting is 'blocked in' with its
first passage of paint.
begun to put the detail in the neon sign. I've
designed the neon tubing around the rocket and
put in its corresponding cast shadows. This is
pretty intense painting with a double 0 sable
brush to put the neon tubes in there with the
tubes having both a highlight edge and a shaded
edge. I'll continue to move down the sign and add
the neon tubing on the various lettering.
detail of the sign and...
close-up of the marquee.
flying saucer is finished. I'll go to work in the
the flying saucer with the sky finished behind
entire canvas, showing the finished sky.
painted the distant mountains and have begun to
work on the motel building.
photo and the one below you can see the texture
or thickness of the paint application on the roof
mountains and sky. Hey, there's that 'Color TV'
pinkish wall and the sunlit areas of the trim are
done. The cactus and the interior of the windows
put the final coat of paint on the man reading
the newspaper, but have painted all around him.
the cactus in the front of the motel fairly
as the desert to the left of the motel.
lightened up the 'white' areas of the neon sign.
manager and the chair are completed.
'motel guest' is finished. Now onto the ground
close-up finished detail showing a portion of the
here's a close-up of the sidewalk, street and the
background desert where I enhanced the color a
little in the foreground.
Inn" is finished. Plenty of vacancies...