Oil on canvas panel, 12×9″ (Larger)

A couple weeks ago there was a team of surveyors on my street, measuring the block. I’d always wondered what they saw when they looked through their surveyor thingees on tripods. I asked them what they were doing, and whether I could look through their device to see what it looks like. It was really amazing. This guy stood at one end of the block and held up his device, which I think was a target and the other guy looked through his scope and aimed it at the target. It had a powerful computerized magnifier in it, so that from nearly block away, the target looked like it was one inch away. Then I asked if I could take pictures of them and they agreed. The other guy was too far away and this one was cuter anyway so I took a bunch of pictures of him and then selected one of the photos to paint.

I spent a lot of time drawing on the canvas freehand before I started painting, trying to get the drawing correct. I used a white pastel pencil to draw on the medium-gray toned canvas, which worked really well — it was easy to wipe off for correcting and didn’t smear into the paint.

There’s more I could do to finish this painting but my goal right now is to make lots of paintings for the practice instead of taking a few paintings as far as I can. On the other hand, if you see any areas for improvement or problems with this painting, I’d greatly appreciate the critique.

Art theory, Oil Painting, Outdoors/Landscape, Painting, People

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Oh Jana — you are just getting better and better!! There is such a rich quality to this … loose and yet defined enough to be really intriguing! BRAVA!


  2. Good job! I especially like the warm glow on the man’s skin on the shadow side – the reflected light gives a good feeling of volume. Only one suggestion on your painting – consider subduing the road signs behind your surveyor. They compete for attention as center of interest. The eye gravitates to unnatural (read: geometric) shapes, and especially bright yellow ones. Maybe lose the double-headed arrow sign, keep the square yellow and neutralize it a bit to push it into the shade so it doesn’t compete with the man’s head. One sign will probably be enough to indicate he is on a public road.


  3. A lovely one this one too Jana. I love the gesture you’ve captured in the man and beautiful light catching the side of his face. Very romantic actually…this man doing such a calculated job in the lavender!


  4. I like the painting and agree that the yellow signs should be muted. Being a failed artist myself (I insist on too much clarity and actually in my drawings), I suggest that you look at a real tripod; the tripod in the painting is just two sticks sticking (no pun intended) out of a vertical stick.

    All said, I wish I could put feeling and impression in my paintings as well as you do!


  5. Beautifully done! As a Surveyor, I don’t see much art depicting our profession.

    In response to Jim Cason: The range pole and sticks are done accurately. Surveyors often use a couple of lath (sticks) to brace the range pole from wavering.


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