Lincoln Skatepark, Los Angeles 18” x 24"
Skateboarding. Growing up we were continually chased out of parking lots and away from ledges; we had curbs and hills and occasionally a pool, but nothing like skateparks today. Almost every city has one now: well-designed, with smooth flawless concrete. Skateboarders are no longer the pariahs they used to be.
In terms of painting, the perfectly smooth cement is a great challenge. Although we think of cement as ‘gray,’ a clearer way of thinking about it is as very subtle color. The subtleties of these surfaces reveal the quality of the light much more clearly than if it was painted a strong color.
The smooth transitions also make for a challenge. When we have sharp corners or edges like the short transition to wall in the middle distance, some qualities of color - such as value - become more prominent. On the softer curves and undulating forms, these colors morph like smoke from one subtle color to the next – slightly lighter gray violet to slightly darker gray green, for example, in the foreground. This ‘gray-green’ is less green than the trees or the grass, but still has a quality of color nonetheless.
For color like this, painting from photographs simply won’t suffice because the camera distorts the color relationships. This was painted on location over five days.
Every so often I'll change up the featured painting seen here. The idea is to give a little insight into my inspiration, why I painted something, of what I'm searching for in a particular piece.
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All images and content © Eric Merrell