May 20, 2009

Different Strokes - Red Signal

Here is my entry for the ongoing challenge at Karin's Different Strokes blog. I have never painted a Cityscape before, though I have planned to paint a hundred! I have scores of references, my own references of very nice cityscapes, but I am very very apprehensive to get to them. A crowded scene kind of intimidates me. I get bogged down by thinking where to start and how to go about it. And that is exactly the point Karin makes in her pep talk, to break down a crowded scene and simplify it.

Red Signal
Acrylics on Canvas, 7 * 11 inches

Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

I loved this scene and wanted to do it in full. It is a scene so full of life, and I loved the long format of the image. I also had a 7 * 11 canvas lying around for sometime, so I thought I'd use that one up and do this image in a vertical format. When I got to it however, I changed my mind. I did use the same canvas, but tackled the image in a horizontal format, focussing on my most favorite parts of the reference, viz. the taxis. Such a burst of color, aren't they? As I started the background, the numerous buildings again gave me jitters. Then I squinted and squinted so many times, and all I could see was vertical lines of varying value. Looked much simpler than I thought! I am not sure if I have achieved a good feel of distance, but definitely much better than I expected myself to do.:)

Since I was too busy with my daughter's portrait, I almost missed the deadline for this one. Thankfully I remembered it just on time and got to it. I started working on this only this morning, and due to the lack of time, I was forced to keep it really simple and loose. So instead of nitpicking over too many details, I tried to bring in a feel of the scene and painted as quick as I could to finish it on time. :)

Have a look at all the entries here, they make an awesome collection.


  1. Your cabs are great and I love those lights !

  2. Well done! I like the horizontal take on it. (I have never painted a scene like this either.)

  3. You absolutely captured the energy and tension and excitement of traffic! I feel like I can hear the horns honking!

  4. Some great pieces of art here. Hopped onto your blog from the comment you gave on Vijai Narain's post. I completely am in agreemnet to what you said. Way to go. And Good Luck with your paintings :)

  5. the look of the taxis by great mix of colours, fabulous shadow technique... to sum up a great painting.. hope some day i too could reach to this level bt i know i'll never be as i afraid from colours.. i didn't think a city landscape cab be better this... ;)

  6. Thanks a lot Dominique. The lights were fun :)

    Thank you Glenda. Yeah most of the challenges in DSFDF are first time subjects for me, which is why I love the blog and try to squeeze in time for it somehow.

    Thank you Garriott. You made my day with your lovely words :)

    Hello Purpleheart! Welcome to my blog! Glad you like the stuff here, do come back.:)

    Thank you Gaurav. Too much of high praise, I am flattered :) Glad you like it.


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