Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Restaurant Patron

I was impressed with the striking silhouette of a restaurant patron who was sitting about ten feet away from me. She had cornrows that ended in long braids, big silver earrings, and red horn-rimmed glasses.

I opened up my watercolor set and quickly laid down some washes starting with the blue highlight color of her skin. I worked as quickly and discretely as I could. I was a little nervous about the possible reaction from her and her boyfriend if she were to notice I was painting her. I tried to remind myself to wipe the look of intense concentration off my face and wear a pleasant smile instead.

Sure enough, when I glanced up she was looking at me and clearly wondering what I was doing. I showed her my sketchbook and told her I'm trying to get practice painting people in watercolor. She and her boyfriend loved it, and only wanted to take a photo to put on her Facebook page.


Tom Hart said...

Great job on the painting AND on the human interaction. Of course they'd love the piece - wonderful color choice for the background too.

What's the story on the text - about the call?

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Tom. That's just from a fortune cookie. I like to stick them on random sketchbook pages and see if they spark meaning.

Jessica Deering said...

I've often wondered if it would be better to ask people first, if you can draw them. Do you find it preferable one way or the other?

James Gurney said...

Sometimes I ask first, like if it's someone sitting around my own restaurant table, or someone that will surely immediately see that I'm sketching them. If it's someone a ways off, I often don't call their attention to it because then they might become self-conscious. I just play it by ear if they notice.

There have been times I've chickened out and quit the sketch, and other times I just kept on fiercely, and other times I told them what I'm doing or asked them if it's OK. (For example:
It often helps to say something like "keep doing what you were doing-- no need to hold still, and I'll be done in about 5 minutes--or whatever." Almost everyone I've sketched has seemed kind of flattered, and they actually want to please you.

Rich said...

I find this pink's a perfect background for the beautiful skin tone.
You just got it right!

Dan said...

Of course it helps if you can make a beautiful painting like this one. If your painting or drawing makes the subject look ugly, they might not be so flattered. :)