A REMINDER to check out my new AVAILABLE PAINTINGS page: It is now set up so that you can purchase the original painting OR you can opt to purchase a print in any of several sizes at very reasonable prices! 

     Yes, I'm at it again! But this time it's a big one!  I wanted to paint an old country store with people sitting on the porch, and in order to get those details in, it would be necessary to make it a larger painting.  While I was deciding this I happened across a post on instagram by a Ky photographer of a really cool 1946 Chevy truck.  I asked him if I could paint the truck and he gave me the go ahead. Well, instead of painting the truck by itself I decided that it would fit perfectly in this country store painting!

     I have already given this painting a name and I've barely started it, sometimes it just happens that way.  I remember the days when Saturday was the day to get dressed up and go into town for shopping and visiting.  Those days still happen in small country towns and they can be very special.  It is fun for the kids, important for the men, and sanity for the women.  At one time, that's how men got the news and conducted business, women got recipes and gossip, and the kids just played with their friends. It was a time to relax for a little while with a cola on the front porch of the store, and to say hello to all those stopping by. (and everyone did)  The store carried everything families needed, food, clothes, tools, pots and pans, animal feed and seeds, you name it!  They even made wonderful sandwiches with country ham or any other meat you could want.  A true one-stop shop.

     I have chosen the name "THE GATHERING PLACE" and you will see why as it progresses.  The painting is 22 x 28,  I already had a canvas and frame in this size, so that's what I used.

     You can see that I have the building drawn in already.  It has a false front with big signs across it. The truck will sit on the left side and the people will be on the porch and in the yard.  I am excited to do this one even though it will take some time.  I think because it brings back so many memories for me of good times.  I even want to have some children playing marbles under a shade tree.

I have blocked in the store.  After having painted so many barns, etc, I am now able to get these buildings correctly proportioned without having to check and recheck the lines.  It sure took long enough, I was getting tired of having to measure with a yardstick!  It is true that with practice you can learn to "eyeball" your perspective.  BTW,  the dark spot in the sky is where I started a tree (leaves) and then realized I was tired and needed to stop for the night.  It is very interesting that the building has dimension even though it is just blocked in.  this is all due to the different colors used, the dark under the roof of the porch,  the floor of the porch being light, etc.  The setting is early afternoon so there won't be long shadows.

I blocked in the dirt area in front of the store, it will not be paved.  Also the trees are in.  The one on the right has some greenery already but the left ones are still bare so you can see how many limbs I have put in.  To do this I use a golden taklon brush for the larger trunk areas to get clean edges. For the small branches I use my script liner brush, very inky paint (thin) and draw many small branches.  The more branches you have,  the more natural a tree looks. I actually went back and added more to the far left tree.

The leaves are started and the tree trunks are highlighted. Next I worked on the side of the store by brightening the roof, adding a door and small porch, painting a shadow under the building and painting the under color of white for signs. I held up a ruler to get these straight lines with my brush, but you can draw the line with charcoal and paint it in. I also added the slanted light from the sun on the corner of the front porch. Did you notice how I also added the small dots of light color under the roof line?  These are the roof joists that are exposed. You will be able to see them better in the final photo that is larger.  I did mention that this will be a very detailed painting.  As I write this I see that the parking lot on the right is not correct.  I want it to go off in the same direction as the left so I will need to fix that.  The building is actually sitting on a slight slope to the left and  slopes to the back as well.  All of these details need to be seen in the painting, so pay attention to how I bring them out as we go along.

Ok, I corrected the right side of the parking lot and I painted in the sign over the porch.  Whew, that was tedious!  But it got me ready for all the work that will go into the porch itself.  You'll see what I mean in the next photo.  The purplish brown on the right is there because I am going to have tree shade from an off canvas tree.  Yes, you can do that.  Can you see how the ground now slopes slightly toward the left?

I have spent practically the entire day painting in these details.  First I had to go and research to make sure that the white ice cooler is compatible with this time period.  The setting is the 1950's.  I finally found photos of old stores dated in the 50s with them sitting on the porch.  Ok, I'm good to go. Next I painted the red Coke chest beside it. From there I painted the trim on the door and windows, added signs and the old church pew.  Finally I started on people.  This young lady is just the first of several.  If you look closely you can see the long board under the porch and how it makes the ground look sloped.  I may have gotten a little slap happy (silly tired) because I got crazy with the next sign.  You'll see it in the next photo.

Yes, I went a little crazy, but this is my nod to fun!  The sign originally had another Pepsi logo, but I was tired of doing Pepsi, so I painted this cute little saying.  It will be interesting to see if anyone notices it.  You can see how tedious it can get doing small details all day.  BTW, notice the tin roof? I figured I was on a roll with tin roofs, so why not?  I probably have too many joist studs, but I may leave them, we'll see.

Is it starting to look like an old country store?  I hope so!  I enlarged this one so you can see a problem I ran into and how I fixed it.  See the one porch post I have in so far?  Well the really nice tree trunk I had there was almost completely covered by that post. It made the post look funny, so I enlarged the tree.  It still needs some highlights, but since it's now in the shade I won't bring it up too much.  I'm glad that I made the roof into tin.  It looks right.  Each of these signs and fixtures are authentic to the time period.  I'm proud of that fact.  Even the clothes on the people will be correct.

Well, I have three people in so far and I ran into another problem.  This time I put the second post in and it was too far to the left.  Not by much but enough that I had to take it out.  As it was, it looked like it was right in front of the door.  I was actually in the middle of the red Coke chest but it just didn't look right.  So, more work to do, but in the end, I'll be much happier. One thing I really like is the coke bottle in the man's hand. I love how it looks so real! My camera shook just enough to blur it in this photo, but I'll try to get the next one better. I still have at least three more adults to put in and some children, so this is going to take awhile.  Finally, I will have the truck to paint and possibly people by it!

After working on this scene for another day you can see that I lightened the big shadow and I have two more adults and three children added to the scene.  I am liking this one more and more.  Now I'm ready to put in the truck with two men talking beside it.  I forgot to mention that I also put lots of rocks and pebbles in the dirt.  I have a closeup of the kids.  I am also having fun by making the shooter a girl!

 She has a jar of marbles beside her. Below is a closeup of the two additional men on the porch and two have bottles of Coke.  One thing I remember about those red Coca Cola chests is that they kept the drinks so cold there would always be ice crystals in the cokes, and they tasted so good!

Here are the people up close and you can see the bottles of coke.  These people are neighbors in a farming community.  So they are relaxing and catching up this Saturday afternoon.

 I am closing in on the finish of this.  I found a photo of a 1946 pickup that was the correct angle for my purposes.  I photocopied it then cut it out.  It is held on the canvas with a small piece of tape. I wanted to check to make sure it is the proper size and position.  The two men I want to add will be at the front of the truck talking and one will have a foot up on the bumper.  If you have any old family photos, I am sure you have at least one with men standing by a car.  It was almost a right of passage to have your picture taken with your car, and there was often a dog too!

I am very proud of my truck!  I do not normally paint vehicles, but I watched my dad take wrecked cars and make them look like new for years. To me it was an art form.  He gained the reputation as the best auto body man in the state and would work on the Rolls Royce cars of the rich and famous, I liked that! How many can say they've sat in one of those?  Did you see the blue tick coon hound on the porch?  I just had to add him as dogs on the porch were a constant feature.  Probably because in the 1950's farm dogs weren't fed dog food, they were given scraps or leftovers and hunted for their own food, so where better to go for scraps than where people sit and eat sandwiches?

     I was going to add two men talking at the front of the truck, but I will put the front end of a car at the far left to fill in that space, then I will decide if I will have a man and wife getting out of the truck and greeting the people on the porch or the two men talking. To decide, I will draw both scenarios out with charcoal and see which looks better.  I need to tie all the individual pieces together so drawings will tell me which unites the overall scene better.

     I am anxious to finish this piece and get it to the photographer to start the process for prints.  I have had a tremendous amount of interest in this painting!  Apparently it strikes a chord with a lot of people. Many have told me that it looks just like the store they went to in their area of the country.  I know many of those stores looked a lot like this one. Probably the only difference would be in color and maybe an added gas pump. I think perhaps it reminds people of a slower paced time when we knew our neighbors and had time to  relax and visit for a spell.

     I think it is finally finished!  I compromised and placed one person going up the steps and one standing in front with foot on bumper.  It just seemed the best solution to me.  I brought up the color of the clothes  of the seated girl and man so the focal point is more definite.  I also added lighter color to the tree foliage and shadows on the building from the big tree and finally I made tire tracks up to the truck to lead the eye into the painting.  I will look at it for a few days in case I see something else that needs work and then I will varnish it and call it done!

     Ok, I did make a few changes.  I changed the arm of the man at truck.  I just felt it didn't look natural. I liked the one resting on his knee, it's the other one I had a problem with.  I slightly changed his face and arm color too.  I also moved the arm of the seated man so it no longer disappears behind the pole and I realized that I had forgotten the back arm of the girl on steps! Oh well, it's fixed now.  I finally added two red light fixtures on the middle poles.  They were in the reference photo and fit the scene so I added them.  I also asked my cousin, also an artist, to critic this painting for me. She said my shadows weren't consistent.  Good point!  I went back and fixed those details and I can now officially declare it finished!  Enjoy!

NOTE: The paintings look slightly fuzzy as they are low resolution which protects them from being copied.

22 X 28
low resolution

Popular Posts