Saturday, July 18, 2015

Stop & Gas

Black and white gouache painting of a gas station
Stop & Gas
5" x 7"
Gouache on Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper cold press
Chris Breier © 2015
This painting was inspired by James Gurney’s gas station contest. The rules of the contest state that it has to be painted in Gouache using only Black and white; no other colors can be used and it has to be completed entirely on-site. Gouache, which rhymes with “wash,” is an opaque watercolor.

I had trouble finding a gas station that I could get excited about but then I spotted this retro gas station when I was driving to Lake Ontario. I laughed out loud when I saw it because it was exactly what I was looking for. The arches and the V-shaped roof add a lot of character to the building. I pulled over to figure out which angle I should paint it from but then I decided to paint it on the way home. I continued on to Krull park to do some plein aire painting and to have lunch. I managed to complete two paintings and I took a number of reference photos to work from in my studio.

On the way home I stopped at the parking lot across the street from the gas station. I couldn't find a safe place to setup so I decided to paint inside of my car. It felt good to sit down because the previous two paintings were completed while I was standing and it also provided me with some shade. 

I began sketching right away. I completed the drawing with a mechanical pencil, and then I painted in the shadows with black gouache thinned out to an ink like consistency. This help me to establish the dark areas while allowing the pencil lines to show through. Then I began mixing in a white to create shades of gray, and to add in the details.

The entire painting was completed on-site. I tried pushing the detail further than I normally do when I paint outside. It was unusual painting experience because I'm used to listening to sounds of nature while I paint and this was a very noisy intersection. I'm glad I decided to participate in this contest because it pushed me to seek out new subject matter and to try new things.  

A photo of the setup that I use to paint inside of my car
Here’s a shot of my setup. I squeezed out the black and white gouache into my watercolor tin. I used a binder clip to hold the tin and a paper towel to the board. I wonder if the engineers at Honda know that the gear shift works well for holding tubes of gouache…
A photo of a gouache painting in progress
 The board is a scrap piece of gator board which is like foam board but much more rigid. The entire painting was completed with a waterbrush.

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