Art theory Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting People Photos Places

Sit Stay Cafe Girl Sketch in Oils

Sit Stay Cafe Girl, oil on panel, 10x8"
Sit Stay Cafe Girl, oil on panel, 10x8"

When I painted this oil sketch I had three inspirations: First was the Peggi Kroll Roberts video focusing on designing value patterns by simplifying and grouping values, even when the colors are different (e.g. the red umbrella and green trees above are very different colors but approximately the same values).

Curan: Afternoon in the Cluny Garden
Curran: Afternoon in the Cluny Garden

My second inspiration was the Curran painting above that I saw at the Impressionists show at the DeYoung Museum. I fell in love with this painting because of the colors, strong values and abstract qualities and brought home a print. Charles Courtney Curran was an American artist who studied with the Impressionists in Paris in the 1880s and then returned to the U.S. His other work I’ve seen online doesn’t appeal to me at all, too sugary and romantic.

Original photo reference with face blurred for anonymity
Original photo reference with face blurred for anonymity

I was also inspired by my reference photo (above) that I took at the Sit Stay Cafe at Pt. Isabel’s dog park where I was lunching, sketching and taking photos to test a new camera last summer.

The tired young woman was very kind about allowing me to sketch and take photos of her. She told me she also liked to paint. Since I didn’t ask for permission to post her picture online I blurred her face in Photoshop first.

6 replies on “Sit Stay Cafe Girl Sketch in Oils”

re ‘allowing me to sketch and take photos of her.’

I think it’s great that you spoke to her: and got her confidence.
I used to take a lot of street photographs: I don’t anymore. Sadly, people’s perceptions have changed, and they are suspicious of one’s motives. You are perceived as interfering, invading people’s privacy, whereas the intention is to record life as it is. If this view had always been held, we would not have the many wonderful shots ( and historic records) that were produced by people like Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt and the great US photographers who worked for the FSA. The other problem is corporate/state paranoia. Once whilst working on a project based on buildings, I was stopped by a security man from taking pictures of an unmarked building. He told me that it was illegal to photograph a Government building and unless I gave him the film he’d call the police. I said it was digital and deleted the pic. (though I could have another two hundred on the card . . ) How can it be illegal to photograph a ‘forbidden subject’ if you cannot possibly know that it is a ‘forbidden subject’? I know ignorance of the law is no objection as they say: but surely this is absurd?!!
However I digress…..
I like the sketch!


What fun! It is hard to take reference photos of people. I have asked with varied results, so now the majority of the photos I take are of the back sides of folks. I have laughed and said, “Don’t worry, when I paint a person, it won’t turn out to be anyone recognizable anyway!” But I do like the simple shapes and color choices in you oil sketch.


An interesting painting! I always appreciate your discussion and inspiration information/sketches/photos. It helps me see more than just your painting! But your paintings, of course, are fine, too!


Sorry I haven’t commented much lately. I’ve been incredibly busy with some major changes in life, which I cannot tell just yet, but I’m very excited and afraid that I’ll blurt it out before I’m supposed to!! ;D

So, I’ve been busy, but I’ve been stopping in to see your work, just haven’t had time to comment! I love this painting! And I love the colors in your last post!


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