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Building Landscape Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting Virtual Paint-Out

Rio de Janeiro: Virtual Paintout

Rio de Janeiro, oil on panel, 8x8"
Rio de Janeiro, oil on panel, 8x8"

This month’s Virtual Paint-Out location is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since I seldom travel I find it so much fun to do so virtually via Google Street View. I love being able to wander, exploring roads to see where they go without fear of getting lost (let alone dealing with airports or spending the money).

Here’s the way the scene looked on Google and then the way I cropped and the way I adjusted it in Photoshop.

Original Google Street View, Rio
Original Google Street View, Rio
Rio Photoshopped for painting
Rio Photoshopped for painting

As I do these each month I’ve noticed patterns in the way nicer houses and neighborhoods are near beaches or on top of hills and the poorer neighborhoods are indeed on the wrong side of the tracks.

I’ve also noticed a sense of freedom when painting these since I don’t have so much investment in the outcome. And maybe that’s what led to my liking most of my Virtual Paintout paintings more than the ones I’ve labored over.

12 replies on “Rio de Janeiro: Virtual Paintout”

Jana, Thank you for sharing all three images. I learn a lot from comparing them to see what adjustments are made. Like the result, too. Do you prefer oil to watercolor, or is it just a choice you make based on the scene or your mood? I like Virtual Paintout for the same reasons, too. Ambal

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Hi Ambal, I actually like both very much. I’ve painted in watercolor for over 30 years but have only been painting in oils for a couple of years. Right now I’m focusing on oils because I’m trying to learn to master the techniques of oil painting, which I find quite challenging. I’m much more competent at watercolor but I’m finally starting to get the hang of oils. Once I feel like I’ve really got it, I’ll probably go back to painting often in both oils and watercolor. I continue to use watercolor in my sketchbook though, which I thoroughly enjoy. Jana

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Thanks for the post showing your process here Jana. I enjoyed the VPO projects I did last winter, but the last few months we have traveled so much that I have lots of my own references to try – not that I have. One thing about Streetview is that so many of the streets are just empty of living things, which make the scenes look a little static to me. I like it when there are people or animals, like the dog in this scene. The laundry suggests a little life as well.

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Hi Sherry, I’m so glad you spotted the dog. I was trying to follow the “rule” about keeping everything in the shadow part of the painting in shadow, which meant the dog wasn’t too visible. I agree about the way having people or animals in a scene makes it more interesting but I also “empty” scenes as well. Since the eye always is drawn to human form sometimes figures can overpower a painting, especially if they’re not well drawn. Unlike trees, we really notice when a person isn’t drawn skillfully. When I visited the big Post-Impressionist paintings from the Musee d’Orsay show recently, I was surprised how many of the little people in landscapes were poorly drawn. I know those guys were very cutting edge and trying new things but still… Jana

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Very cool and creative. I would have never thought that Google Street View would get so close -at least it never does when I’m looking for a business location!

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well, seems like you really got in to the spot and did this one! Very similar scene to what we see in India…adding the bucket on the foreground implies that washing was done just a minute ago!

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Exactly! I’m always drawn to painting clotheslines and am also very curious about how other people live. Until I noticed the bucket beside the clothesline I didn’t give it a thought, assuming the clothes came out of a washing machine. But when I saw the bucket I said “OH! They’d washed their clothes in a bucket! So I had to put it in the painting. Thanks for noticing it too! And the fact that you said the bucket means the washing was just done tells me that the bucket wouldn’t just sit there all the time but would be nicely put away when the clothes were dry. Or would they use the bucket to carry the clothes back in the house? I’m so glad I have a washer and dryer in my house! Jana

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Fabulous idea. Especially the part about having a kind of painting that you can just do, that you can paint and enjoy. A great deal of freedom comes through joy. In the painting above I think the section on the right with the laundry and the lush trees just above the laundry is really fine.

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Thanks Aletha. I’m so glad you said that as those passages were my favorite part of painting this one but hadn’t realized that until you pointed it out. And it gives me inspiration for remembering and painting like that in the future! Jana

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