"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spring Time in Jolly Old London.

"Woman in Burgundy Coat"
By James Swanson / Traveler Lorra
24" x 18" Oil on wood panel

Watch the journey of this Painting.

"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag."

In London, the land of Mary Poppins is where we find our new Traveler Lorra. She is an old friend of mine from the crazy ad world.

Traveler Lorra is always willing to help out a tree in need.

Lorra had made a nice career of coming up with great ideas to get people to buy things, like the Hamburger Helper Hand and new jingles for McDonald's.

When she decided her family came first, and chucked the ad world for her world. Poor Mr. Helping Hand.

Photos are from Lorra and Ben's Trip

Not long ago Lorra and her son Ben, were on Spring Break holiday in London, when they ventured into Chelsea Physic Garden near where they were staying.

Lorra, Ben and friend, with nice ride

Traveler Lorra's Story: Ben (my then 12 yr. old son) and I were on a spring break trip in London. We were excited to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden, founded in 1673, as the Apothecaries' Garden, with the purpose of training apprentices in identifying plants. The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded by the Society of Apothecaries in order to promote the study of botany in relation to medicine, then known as the "physic" or healing arts.

As the second oldest botanic garden in England it still fulfills the traditional functions of scientific research and plant conservation and undertakes to educate and inform as well as to provide the amenity of a walled "secret" garden in the heart of London.

Its aims are:
* To demonstrate through its plantings and publications the range of species named or introduced to cultivation by a succession of distinguished curators;
* To pursue horticultural excellence, especially in the cultivation of rare and tender plants;
* To demonstrate to all who visit the many uses of plants and particularly the heritage of the plant world as our common medicine chest.

We'd also heard it has a great little cafe, supplied with delicious treats home made by local ladies. THAT part was true! We got there just after lunchtime and enjoyed tea in the warmth of early spring sunshine.Tangerine Dream Café

This is the photo of Lorra's that chose to work from.

I took the foto because, besides the pure visual enjoyableness of it for me, she sitting there captured the mood of the place, and matched how I felt about being in this very exotic place.

Traveler Painting: " Woman in the Burgundy Coat" I've know Lorra for years and no matter how tough the job was she could get it done. I was very flattered when Lorra said it would be an honor to be a part of this painting project. Wow honored, now the pressure is on, better get busy.

I chose the photo of the woman on the park bench to paint because I just loved that coat. Lorra has no idea who the lady is, she just took the shot and the woman was in it.

The sketch: I always start with the sketch to get familiar with the subject and work out the composition. I know there was a lot of garden in the scene, but what drew me in was the coat. I wanted to concentrate on that, and let the Garden go.

The Sketch on the wood panel. I rubbed a mixture of Raw Umber and Venetian Red and then pulled out the lighter areas with paper towel. I then drew in what was in my sketch.

I started the painting part with the coats dark shadows. Painting in the darks sets the structure for coat and the painting.

The Mid-tones for the coat. With the darks put in with strong big strokes, the next lighter burgundy colors slide in easily and mix nicely with the darks.

Painting in the lower part of the body. Working to block in the painting I started on the woman's legs. The purse was pretty simple to paint. It was a warm dark with reflections colors. Her shoes are a lighter version of the purse.

Skin Tones: The problem her is the woman is very light skinned and not much color. Her hair will need some warm colors not to burn out.

Working in the background. I decided early on that the background wasn't going to be the story, that the coat was so I muted out the colors and details.

Lots of redefining to do yet. Getting a likeness will be the hardest part.

Painters Tip: When painting a figure don't forget the depth. Just like painting a landscape, distance in a figure must be thought about. Things closer to you are warmer than parts farther back. So look for the warms and stronger contrast.

This is pretty close now just a few design things and color adjustments. Her leg stockings turned a little too orange, and the slats of the bench need to be broken up.

Done. I brought in some shadows make the woman pop out a little more.

Details from the Painting.

Framed and ready to go.

"Woman in Burgundy Coat"
By James Swanson / Traveler Lorra
24" x 18" Oil on wood panel

Just a spoon full of sugar helps this painting go down and is done. I kind of wanted to paint a full figure for this project for a while, I'm glad Traveler Lorra was there for the help. Thanks Lorra and Ben, and good luck with your enterprise Hard Working Women. With you behind it I know it's something special.

If you're a Traveler and have a story to share contact www.theartistandthetraveler.org and tell me what it is. I'm always up for a good story.

Until next time "Feed the birds, tuppence a bag."


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Have a good travel story and some fun and interesting pictures and we can get started on a painting journey.E mail me here with
name, place, and a few pics of the spot,and I'll get back to you.