Capturing American Icons

Flicking through some photos recently I came across a rarity, for me, in the way of a set of progress shots on one of my paintings.

I always try and remember to take progress photos when I’m painting, they make for a great record to look back on. But I’m usually so lost in the moment I totally forget. This time I’d had the great idea of sticking a post-it note on my studio door in the hope that when I headed for a coffee break I might just notice my sign to myself that reads simply “Take a Photo!”

So here I can share with you the few photos I remembered to take on the progress of a recent commissioned painting featuring some real American Icons, a Mustang, an F150 Pickup and a couple of Harley Davidsons all resting at a classic Gas Station.

I had a good few photos presented to me from which I was able to choose suitable angles to work with …

The brief was to capture these two as the main feature and, although the setting was left to me, a Gas Station had been suggested. This was going to be a present for my client’s wife, she being the owner of both bike and car. Knowing him as well as I do I thought with only a little detective work I just might be able to get hold of a couple of shots of his bike and truck and slip them in to the background somewhere as a little surprise for him too. Good old Facebook didn’t let me down as a good source of photos.

So a few quick sketches were doodled for composition and Gas Station design (sorry I’ve no photos of those) and then I was straight onto the canvas …


You’ll notice I’d progressed quite well into this painting before remembering to take a photo! But you’ll see a strong underpainting in sepia browns that I usually let dry overnight before working, as always, from the back to the foreground. In particular here you’ll see I’m already adding the surprise bike and truck, whilst leaning on my trusty self-made mahl stick with tiny brush in hand.

Working on the building here and also defining the road on the left, including the white stripe that really helps to add depth to this composition as well as maybe lead your eye off to the distance to go exploring.

Big jumps in the progress of this as, like I’ve mentioned, it’s so easy to get so deep “in the zone” you forget you’ve told yourself to stop now and then to take a snap-shot.

Here I am getting lost in all the chrome and details of the Harley. Motorcycles can take so much time to complete, and get right!    So there’s my tiny brush again working overtime.

And here’s the finished result from burning the midnight oil. It’s hard to get a good photo of a shiny Oil Painting under artificial light but I’m sure you get the idea …

Author: Ian Guy

Ian Guy is among the foremost automotive artists in the UK with collectors of his art spread worldwide.

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