This painting was a real battle! That's how every painting should be though. If a painter doesn't get caught up in the battle to "get right" , then his work won't reflect any of his real emotions.
I wanted to paint something quiet and reflective. To create a thoughtful painting that would be a little different than my normal work. I often rely on the face to get emotional expressions across but here I decided that there must be something in simple everyday gestures.
I went out onto the streets of Berlin and walked around, stopping occassionally to observe interesting groups of people walking along the street. The best place was about fifty meters from the traffic lights. I could see people preparing to cross the street and how they would subconsciously form a little group to cross. They were often unkown to each other, but yet in the busy city streets people rush along and attach themselves to a fast moving group that is making head-way through the crowd. Everybody is in a hurry.
After two or three days of simply observing,sketching and taking the occassional photo, I headed back to the studio and began to work on a large charcoal sketch. I think I spent a week working it up into its final version. The first was of five people walking in the same direction, then I turned a figure around to walk in the other direction and saw how that created a bit of tension in the drawing. This led to "less is more" thinking and I removed two figures and then worked up a large three figure drawing. This finally got my thought processes rolling in the right direction and I scrapped the drawing and began a new one.
The result was what you see here. Three Figures all going in different directions, apparently unaware of each other. Probably each has their own agenda for the day and each is of a different generation and lifestyle. It took about a month to finish it. I'm very brutal with myself when it comes to working. If something isn't right then I try a figure it out and when I find the reason, I'll scrape it out and totally repaint it - even if it means doing it twenty times over, it's worth it.
If you enjoy reading this, you may enjoy reading some of the things I write on my other site http://www.best-art-products.com it's a blog with posts about technique and materials.