Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Virtual Paintout 9: Vevie Goes to Detroit!

A red picnic table
A flowing river 
A park

Where families come to make memories. 
Where lovers gaze into each others eyes, and plan their future together. 
Where an older couple walks, holding hands as always... in their hearts young lovers forever.

Detroit, Michigan. Motor City. Motown. City of Champions.

Now a troubled city, with a colorful past and uncertain future. Yet there are those that stayed or have returned, and are rebuilding. Downtown renaissance, riverfront development, revitalization of historic buildings, even neighborhood garden coops.

In spite of huge problems, there seems to still be hope, tenacity, and a determination to thrive.

So this one is for the people of Detroit. 

I call it "Hope & A Future". My title came from a favorite verse in the Bible that seems appropriate for the people of Detroit.

 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..." Jeremiah 29:11-13

Now for the "making of" photos... (can enlarge pics; I kept most smaller for faster page loading)

First, my spot as it shows on Google Street View map:

And my cropped idea:

Ran it through photoshop, and here were the 3 color scheme possibilities I came up with; I chose the hot red/yellow one:

And a value study:

I love texture, and this month played with a layer of tissue paper glued down (under and over) with acrylic painting medium:

Toned the canvas with a soft yellow:

Started the drawing with burnt umber watercolor pencil and burnt sienna paint:

Did some underpainting in tones of orange and pinks:

Changed my mind! The red picnic table disappeared amidst all those hot colors, so changed over to the blue color scheme:

More layers:

And drying on the easel:

A couple of close ups for you:

All finished!

"Hope & A Future"

Riverbank Drive
Detroit, Michigan  USA
9 x 12 acrylics
on wrapped canvas

All are invited to join the Virtual Paintout gang each month in visiting and painting new places via Google Street View. Each month our leader, Bill Guffey, chooses a new location and we all "travel" there and pick a spot from which to paint. Here are all the deets! 

Vevie (rhymes with Stevie)
My Virtual Paintout muse

Happy painting,



  1. Just stunning! I love it!

    1. Oh thank you, Kyra. You made my day!

  2. Hi Loretta! I showed my teen daughter this picture. We both really loved it! And teen daughter does not say she likes anything unless it's the truth. <3

    1. And now she wants a cat. :D

    2. I really enjoyed your comment, Marion! And cats are the perfect studio companion. It's been fun going around the world with Vevie, via Google Street View, and figuring out how to incorporate her into the scene. Tuxedo cats are cool!

  3. I love the story behind the painting as much as the painting. The texture is wonderful.

    1. Thank you, Mary. I'm glad you enjoyed the painting. And wow, what a story there is behind the scenes for Detroit. I had no idea until I did the research for this painting! Such history, drama and heartbreak. But then there is this whole new generation determined to re-build, and some of the "old guard" that refuse to give up and leave. Very inspiring. :-)

  4. Its so fun to see your artistic process, especially when you change your mind midstream! I finally remembered to bookmark your art blog, so now I will check in more often!

    1. LOL, usually when I change my mind it's before I get THAT far into it. But is was fun to paint right over the hot colors... sort of jazzed it up with some it of peeking through the final painting, if you look close at the real canvas.
      Glad you could stop by, Debby!