I thought it would be nice to show you the beginning and the end of a painting. The above pencil sketch is the final drawing before I started putting paint down. The drawing was definitely challenging and probably took me 2 1/2 to 3 hours to complete. I wanted to work out all of the drawing issues with pencil before I started adding color so that my composition was solid and I knew exactly where every element and shape was going to be placed before painting. One of my favorite parts of the painting process is figuring out the drawing. For me it is like solving a puzzle. A puzzle in the sense that I have all these different shaped pieces of the composition and I have to literally fit them together to make the final image. I take it has a challenge to see just how close I can get to the real scene, how actuate my eyes and hand can duplicate what is in front of me.
The finished painting above is a result of many hours (about 10 to be exact) of layering the watercolor with delicate washes so that the end product reflects a sense of depth and atmosphere. This painting was done after we visited the Japanese town of Kamakura. It was the end of a long day touring the sights including paying our pilgrimage to the famous giant Buddha, devouring green tea gelato, and watching WWF style Japanese wrestlers down on the beach when we strolled down a small alley on our way to yet another temple. The sky was filled with that golden hour light, the time of day that makes everything seem so beautiful and perfect. Me and my camera just kept snapping away....at the time little did I know that I would make a painting of this scene, but for some reason this image spoke to me.