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Go behind the painting and see through the eyes of an artist. Learn what inspired these paintings Jerusalem Arches and Hanging Brass. Finally, see the actual picture and the artwork that resulted from it.
For many Christians it is an incredible experience to visit the Holy Land to see the places where Jesus himself walked. When I had an opportunity to travel to Israel and Egypt with a friend who was familiar with the area, I jumped at the chance.
To experience the culture, architecture, and geography of such a historical place was exhilarating. Then to visit areas on this trip that the normal tourist wouldn’t typically experience made it that much better!
I truly enjoyed visiting both Egypt and Israel, although my favorite was seeing the sphinx and pyramids of Egypt. My trip to Israel, and more specifically to Jerusalem was highlighted by the unique historical architecture of the city.
The Architecture of Jerusalem
I took several photos of buttresses because it was such an interesting architectural feature. These supports are an impressive engineering feat to say the least. Especially the flying buttress, which is a specific type of buttress that forms an arch and extends from an upper portion of a wall almost out of nowhere!
If you are ever in Jerusalem, spend a little time appreciating the buildings. Everything has that ancient feel to it, in spite of the electrical wires, lamp posts, etc. Somehow, you can just feel the history exude from the roots of this place.
This photo I snapped may have been an unusual subject matter, but definitely worthy of turning into a painting. The plan was to execute this painting as quickly and impressionistic as possible.
This is a feat for me since I am an artist that loves to accentuate detail in my paintings. I’m neither an impressionistic artist, nor a realism artist, so this would be a way to challenge my own look.
I was very pleased with the results; achieving that quickness and looseness that often seems to elude me. Somehow I managed to achieve that impressionistic flavor I am still trying to capture in my paintings to this day.
As you can see in the photograph there are simple brick tones, and I wanted to push the colors for vibrant visual interest. When you look at the original picture, you’ll see I took some pretty broad liberties with the color.
In this particular piece I opted to let color speak more to me than detail. The interest was really in the shadowing rather than in the detail, and that is where color comes into play.
The Artisans of Egypt
The marketplaces in Egypt are an almost indescribable experience. The loud noises of artisans working and selling their craft, the numerous almost overwhelming amount of carts and booths with their wares hanging on display…it was truly incredible!
I marveled at the skill of all these artisans…these craftsmen and artists in their own right. They had no modern machines to fall back on, and probably limited resources, yet crafted their wares by hand with great skill and speed. It was mesmerizing to watch, I barely knew where to look.
Let me tell you, it was certainly a photographers eye-candy! There were great artistic reference everywhere you turned.
It wasn’t until I returned home and leafed through my photos that I spotted this picture taken from that day there in the marketplace. That’s when I knew I had my next painting.
I was actually looking for a subject matter that would challenge me as an artist to use a limited paint palette. Here I talk about the growth and benefits of limiting your palette, and this photo lent itself well to that objective.
My original intent was to do a tonal painting, more of a monochromatic piece to hone my skills in value. However I ended up pushing a bit past that while still limiting the palette. I did however bypassed the turquoise hues that you see in the photo to keep it really limited.
You’ll also notice I simplified the painting by focusing on a few key pieces rather than include every dish in the photo. For design sake, I wanted the viewers eye to draw immediately to a few items and not have to process the extra noise.
This exercise was a fantastic way to hone value expression, and I feel I grew as an artist painting such a unique piece. Something I strongly encourage you to try!