Alla Prima Techinque: Inside out-"Rain, Rain, Rain, Trafalgar Square"

Adebanji Alade alla prima Charing Cross demo Demonstrations Inside-Out Technique london oil on board rain Statue Trafalgar Square urban

Rain, Rain, Rain, Trafalgar Square, 10" x 8", Oil on Board, SOLD

In this post I would like to explain in full detail, my process of painting a typical Urban Rainy Day in London.
I love rainy days because of the reflections and subtle greys but most importantly, I love them because it gives me the opportunity to test my drawing skills while painting. 

Painting shape by shape in the "Inside Out" Technique can be very tricky if one has not constantly worked on one's drawing skills. I believe everything in painting in this representational manner comes down to great drawing skills.

So this is more of a drawing exercise than a painting, so to speak. If I can get every painting stroke right, then I am indirectly drawing with colour. Once I  mix the right colour, I just need to be sure that I can place it correctly in the right position on the  painting ground. This is exciting because, one is looking forward to how the painting is going to shape out. When I work this way, I  work with a lot of anticipation and it keeps me interested in the work till the very last stroke is laid on the surface.

 Stage 1- I love being organic and going into my painting  without any grids. But when I take on complicated scenes like this, I like to make sure everything is right where it is, especially when I am working from a particular photo reference. I  am using a 10" x 8" Masonite board, which I have primed with gesso. I use about 3 to 4 coats of gesso mixed with a particular acrylic base of colours that helps kill off the stark white feel of the original gesso. The colours  I like to add to it range form Burnt Sienna, to Cadmium red  with some Ultramarine Blue and Yellow Orche. The particular consistency/proportion is not really important, I just make sure that I have a warm, light mixture which is quite light brownish or pinkish or even peachy, depending on what I am painting. The grids are drawn on with a blue coloured pencil and I start a bit of the drawing with a very soft 2B pencil.

Stage 2- This is the most important stage. Here, I make sure that I nail the drawing down to the best of my ability. Accuracy is everything. Nothing is taken for granted. I don't care how long this takes, because form experience I  have learnt that if I rush through this stage, it will ruin the painting and the painting would not have a good base and strong drawing foundation. Once the drawing is faulty the painting will go wonky! You can also see that I have used different hatching for the shading in some areas. This is to help me in  understanding the kind of painting strokes I'll be laying on the surface later on. I do this because it's drawing that helps me to understand painting. We as painters are all different in the way we interpret our  skills and communicate our methods, and I have noticed that I understand everything about painting through drawing. At this point I have enough drawing on the board and I'm ready to take off with colour.

These are the colours on my palette. I use from left to right- Titanium White, Lemon yellow, Naples yellow, Cadmium Yellow pale, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Yellow Orche, Cadmium Red, Terra Rosa, Alizarin Crimson, Transparent Red Oxide, Cobalt Blue,  Dioxanzine Purple, Viridian Green and Ultramarine Blue.

Stage 3- Because this is alla prima, it's always best to start from the back of the painting and carefully and silently come forward, it's quite like walking from the distance into the foreground. So I always start with the sky first, then any other thing that comes after the sky goes first. It works easier for me this way, because it creates an easier sequence to work with. My best greys are mixtures of Alizarin and Viridian. I also love Transparent Red Oxide and Viridian, they are the most combined mixtures I used here. The sky was a mixture of White, Cobalt Blue and Alizarin Crimson. At this stage you can notice that everything in the background is given the uttermost attention. I make sure I complete the building ever before I attempt the tree, even though I leave some vague spaces where the outlines of the drawing lines have been. The key is to make sure the initial background passages are not thick but lean paint.
Stage 4- My main focus here was the intermediary road between the building and the pavements in the foreground. The addition of the cars too, add some spice to this area. This road is very important because its darker in value than the building but its cooler than the pavements which have reflections. For all my cool mixtures I add Alizarin Crimson and Cobalt Blue, I can never get enough of these. Looking at these stages makes you see how this technique can be really interesting as it just creeps up from distance.

Stage 5- This was the most enjoyable part of the painting, painting the reflections. The key is to make sure that the edges between the shapes are soft and lost. Nothing must be defined. Once the overall shapes are laid in. then come the shiny lines to depict pavement lines. The horizontal lines must come in last. You can see how I have left out the statues. This is purposely done to create a better feel of three dimension as they stand in front of most of the main shapes in the painting.
Stage 6-The main focus here was completing the middle statue . It looks trivial but putting it in, really helps the middle area of the painting to look perfectly complete. The only sore spot in the painting is the base of the front statue. You notice than the painting almost looks complete without even painting the base of the Statue in front.

Stage 7-final stage- Here the base is completed with the lone figure being the last thing I paint in front of the base of the Statue. It was Ken Howard, a master of painting reflections that said dark things appear lighter and light things appear darker in reflections.


I hope you enjoyed this process. It's the way I paint complicated scenes. I am very methodical in handling this kind of work and I have to be focused from the beginning to the end.
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