My Prized Packard!
Last Friday was the reception for an annual exhibit I participate in with the artists of Upper St. Clair, (which is a large suburb of Pittsburgh). It is a juried show and we hang approximately twenty-five to thirty-five pieces.
This year I submitted my oil painting “Packard” and it won first place!
The juror this year was artist, Steve Leonardi. I was told by more than one member of the group who were at the judging that my painting was well above others in his subjective criteria of things like, composition, technique, color etc... Really made me feel proud to hear that.
I enjoy looking at old cars and whenever there is a classic car show in the area I shoot as much photo reference as I can. In this piece I cropped in close on the very lucid and becoming hood ornament of an old Packard car. I intentionally wanted a lower point of view to pump up the aura of the subject and make it seem even larger than it is in reality, so as to give it more impact.
Also when painting it, I removed all background distractions which helps to focus the viewers attention on the reflections. Overall I believe it is a successful piece because of two things: the contrast between the sharp edged subject against a very soft background, and the fact that a large single image, that has various details within it, is more powerful than a composition filled with details all over the place.
While putting my time in working on-site at the exhibit, which is in a fashionable Galleria mall in the area, folks would come up to me and ask “How do you paint metal so well?” I never have a graceful answer in person, but the answer is, I wasn’t painting “metal”, I was just painting “shapes”. As in every other subject under the sun,a subject should be thought of as nothing more than a bunch of shapes. Ever read the book, "Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain"? Well all right then.
It’s the job of the artist to take those shapes and arrange them in a way that conveys a subject convincingly through the manipulation of values, colors, size relationships, paint texture and all the rest of it.
Next up for this painting (if it doesn’t sell in the current exhibit) is a fun event called ART ALL NIGHT.