Abandoned Ford Pick Up

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Hang on Studio Wall
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This watercolour is the latest in a series inspired by the stunning effects that nature can have on the manmade objects which are left out in the open, to decay. This one is of a 1940's Ford Pick Up, which has been left in the open air for many years and the weather has had an amazing effect on the metal with the rust now turning to a deep purple colour in places. Now I appreciate that "according to many an artist" I am doing this all wrong. I should do the background first and then the 'subject' afterwards. Never being one for convention I always do the subject first (probably a bit of the "well if I make a mess of it then I haven't wasted the effort on the background") and then decide on the background. I have recently taken to doing my background on another piece of paper and then overlaying it round the subject and deciding if I like it or not. If I don't then I haven't spoilt the main subject and I can try something else. If I do then I 'do it again' for real around the main image. Well it works for me.
That's very well done, Malcolm. The weathering effects make it very interesting, you've managed the surface areas excellently. I'm now interested in what background you choose. There's no right or wrong way of doing something if it works, only have a rethink if it's not happening as you want it.
Excellent painting I love painting old truck , ships etc and like you I paint the background at or towards the end . You are a real master at getting the rust effect .
That's great, Malcolm.  These old rusting hulks have a huge attraction.  I fully understand your method of painting the main object first.  I do the same thing.  (It comes from not having any art training, my thinking is 'what are people going to look at first', and, is that OK?)  But many artists I admire do much the same thing, bringing the center of attraction almost to a finish, before spending time on the rest.
Probably most of us do work background to foreground, but in the case of a portrait approach - and this is basically a portrait of this wonderful old car- I don't think it's at all problematic to go right in and tackle the obvious centre of interest first (other than the possibility of the subsequent background sloshing over it, I suppose: but that's easily dealt with).   I think this might be somewhat less true if you have no idea what your 'background' is going to be when you start out - uncertainty tends to reveal itself.  But so long as you do - and you're getting results like this - I defy anyone to criticize you!
Rust gives so much character to an object. I love the variations of rust in a painting. When I paint, I might do the background first or I might do the main object first, or I might work on both at the same time. I don't really have a structure, you can tell I've had no training can't you. I wouldn't know, what is a preferred order. I think if you are happy with the results, it's the right order.

by Denise Cat

Thanks to everyone who has made comment. I am pleased to hear that I am not the only one who does or may do paintings the same way as I do. Thanks too for the comments about the painting itself. It is nice to know that others like what you do (rather than just hoping they will). I have now had three ideas as to the background, the first of which I dismissed, the second seemed like a good idea until I drew it then it just looked awful and the latest one I am really happy with. I have attached a picture of the first part of my 'overlay' with the weathered barn now more or less as I wanted it to look (Can play with it a bit when I do it for real). I have done the truck in outline so until I cut it out you will have to imagine the truck being there in front of the barn.  Now only the rest of it to work out!!!
That fits in nicely with the theme Malcolm, excellent drawing of the car also.
Really like the car and rust effect.  Seen some of your other paintings on both this site and your main personal site and I think they are great.  Be very interested to see the final painting.
So after having had a practice I decided to go for it, on the actual painting. Last night I sketched out the barn behind the truck and then set about painting the weathered timber. I am happy with where I am up to so far. Next step the foreground I think.
Well I can tell you, this one has taken some thinking about. I was really happy with the car and the barn, but then what. I had a practice at a foreground on another piece of paper and thought okay, seems alright so did it for real, then I really wasn't sure. OMG I've messed it up. No don't give up have a go at the sky. After a day humming and hahing I had a play with different sky effects on scrap paper, until I had one that I was happy with. So I went for it last night. Not sure about it at all this morning as the sky didn't fit the proportions of the car and barn (odd thing to say but the sky felt like it fitted in a scene, more in the distance but it felt too close) and was rather harsh with it's edges. Sat for a while today thinking about how to connect the foreground to the sky, then divine inspiration, a distant skyline with trees, building, water tower and windmill. Blended the foreground in, small fence line, softened the edges of the clouds on the right hand sides and bingo. Even I was pleased, especially after I thought I had ruined it. So I suppose the moral is "Don't give up". If you reach a dead end, turn round, go back and come from a different direction and you never know what might happen. Hope you like it. Thanks for looking. Malcolm.

by Malcolm Davies

Fantastic vehicle and barn.  Well done for not giving up!  If It were my painting, which it isn’t, I would grey down the rust barn roof a bit, so that it is less noticeable than the vehicle.  But you have done a grand job.
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