I've given up on the Every Day in February challenge, mostly because I didn't want to "go" to most of the places on my list. I'm sure that Laos and Kenya and Russia are beautiful, interesting places with a lot to offer a painter, but I've never had a single impulse to go to any of them. I guess, underneath it all, I'm just a European to my core, because the places I yearn for are France, Italy, Spain, Greece, anywhere in the British Isles...so I decided I'd do a little traveling on my own instead, and looked through my computer folder of reference photos I've saved over the years--some I took myself, others that I found online.
Some people think it's unethical to paint from the photos of others (and in fact there is a website called "Paint My Photo," on which people give explicit permission for you to use their photos as references in that way), but for the most part the drawings and paintings I make only use the photos as a jumping-off point and turn out so differently that probably the photographer him- or herself wouldn't recognize them. At least, that's my justification. Am I wrong?
So--here's my first solo foray, this one to an intimate view somewhere in France. I love shutters, many-paned windows, and hanging flower boxes, framed by the old tea-colored stone of several-hundred-year-old buildings, don't you?
I challenged myself because I was short on time this morning, so the drawing took 20 minutes and the painting took 30. I am dumfounded by people who seem to do a complete, finished-looking painting in that time (or less!)--I guess it's a combination of practice, skill and knowing what to put in and what to leave out. Anyway, LePen and watercolor of shutters and flower baskets. It probably would have benefited from another 10 or 15 minutes of judicious shading, but..I'm calling it finished.