Here are my two main photo
references for this painting. The photo on the left is my main reference
because its the view I needed for the composition - I also preferred the wire wheels (I actually rested the
camera in the grass and had the lens set at a wide angle.
The photo on the right, although a '56
Desoto, featured the two-tone white and red which I preferred for this
Here is my initial sketch done in
colored pencil. The shadow cast by the sign was wrong, but I didn't know
how. I made a quick foam core sign and took it outside under the same light
to get an accurate shadow.
A couple of things were changed in the
final painting: I left the sky cloudless and a darker shade of blue. I
didn't like the colors in the sign. I also changed the "DeSoto" font from
block letters to the font used on period DeSoto shop manuals. Instead of
"Service" on the bottom of the sign I put "Forward Look" which was
Chrysler's styling tag-line beginning in 1955.
Now onto the canvas -
Here the sky and the ground
are complete and the darkest areas of the painting are blocked in.
The sky is Indanthrene
Blue with a little Paynes Gray mixed in. The first two coats were painted
with a brush, but then the last coat was applied using a sponge which
allowed me to get a nice smooth gradient from light to darkest areas.
Although a bit difficult to
see in this picture there is a nylon string running from a nail driven into
the base of my mat board samples (on the left). I'm holding the other end in
my right hand. I'm using the nail as my vanishing point so I could get each
layer of brick at the correct perspective.
Here's a better view of the
nylon string used to draw the bricks in perspective.
At this stage the brick has
been completed as well as most of the building. The background of the
vertical section of the sign is now ready for DeSoto lettering.
I found it easier to draw the
sign letters on tracing paper first. The vanishing point for the sign was
also way off in the distance so I actually had to draw this out on the floor
of the studio where I could spread out as far as I needed.
I taped this section of
tracing paper on the canvas and transferred the letters to the sign.
Now the fun begins.......
Painting the car. I'm applying the first coat of red over the whole car. No
details will be painted yet. Highlights and shadows will be painted in
subsequent layers. I used Cadmium Red Deep in the first coat which was just
get a more accurate shade for this car I mixed Indo Orange Red with the
Cadmium in the next coat.
I started the grill and bumper
in this shot. You can see it doesn't look much like chrome at this stage.
The pavement was painted
with a mix of Burnt Umber and Paynes Gray so those colors have to be painted
in the chrome - everything below the horizon line anyway. Everything above
the horizon line will reflect the blue sky.
Although rendered in
much more detail at this point, you can see that the headlight is mainly
areas of blue sky shades and shades of the ground below.
Now look how the grill really
sparkles in the bright sunlight.
Also in this shot you can see
the highlights and shadows in the red paint of the car.
Now for the hard
part............ painting the wire wheel.
I only have some basic
reference lines drawn in.
As stated earlier, the basic components
of the chrome will be the blue sky and the ground colors.
Here's an action shot! Look closely at
the tail end of the brush - its a blur. Actually due to a slow shutter speed
than any real speed in painting.
Its starting to take shape at
this stage. I'm carefully shaping the hub of the wheel, establishing the
areas of the inner hub and outer spinner cap.
All of the details of the
outer rim and inner hub and spinner cap are completed enough to where I can
begin adding the wire spokes.
Here's the tedious part....the
pokes. Its always a bit nerve racking to get that first spoke in the right
spot because all of the others will be spaced in reference to this one.
I paint each spoke using
Titanium White at first. They look flat here, but soon you'll see by adding
highlights and shadows the spokes will begin to look three dimensional.
Another action shot. It at
least gives you reference to the scale of the wheel.
With all of the details
painted, the wheel really shines and has a three dimensional appearance.
It took an entire day just
to complete the chrome wire wheel portion of this painting (the tire was
painted a day or so earlier).
The side of the car still
looks a bit flat without the chrome side molding painted in.
I'm using a ruler with rubber
feet to paint the fine lines. The rubber feet protect the surface of the
canvas at the same time it keeps the edge of the ruler about 3/4 inches off