Sunday, 14 July 2013

Oil Painting 1 - The Crookedest Street in the World

Oil Painting1 - 'The Crookedest Street in the World'
We allowed ourselves a few days much needed R and R on arrival to get over the jet lag, see some sights and get to grips with our new surroundings before sourcing the equipment and starting work.

Our accommodation is in North Beach relatively close to this landmark - Lombard Street.

You probably already know this street it has featured in that many films, photographs and computer games. Hitchcock used it in Vertigo and it played a popular role in Grand Theft Auto.

The street used to be a straight 27% gradient drop before town planners introduced 8 hairpins to slow down the speeding Model T Fords in 1922. With the equally famous cable street cars dropping you off at the top, it's fun to walk down the hill amongst the flower beds and watch the drivers winding down the hill.

It's a difficult subject to capture despite everyone having a go with their camera. The obvious vantage point is at the bottom of the hill looking back at all 8 turns although I have attempted a different view that hopefully locates the viewer in the centre of the action rather than a postcard view from a distance.

I have tried to reflect the steepness of the hill by flipping the canvas into a portrait and condensing a 180 degree sweeping viewpoint, looking both up and down the hill from midway, into the tall format. This is a similar approach to a previous subject I painted in Shrewsbury, a steep winding road into the County town known as Wyle Cop (read more about that painting here ) -

This has given quite a 'cartoon' feel to a very cartoony landscape full of bright colours in the Californian sun, epitomised most by the resulting near vertical car near the centre of the composition.

The bright colours I am using I sourced over here, are a range of Gamblin oil colours made in the US. I decided it better to buy over here rather than ship all the equipment.

The curves in this section of the road and the curved sweep of the painting contrast the strict grid format of the rest of San Francisco seen in this painting further down Lombard Street as it heads up Telegraph Hill towards Coit Tower. The other landmark squeezed into this composition (and slightly enlarged to be noticeable) is the Trans-Atlantic Pyramid Tower.

1 comment:

  1. fantastic Rob!! I really love the perspective you've given it