On the easel- Provence outdoor cafe painting WIP

After spending so much time painting small pieces, it is nice to be working on something large again. This is the beginning stage of a 36x24" oil painting of an outdoor cafe in the Provencial village of Rousillon. I painted a small study of this scene some time ago and I have been wanting to create a larger version for a while.

Provence painting work in progress

Even as a full time, near daily painter, it's always a little scary posting a work-in-progress because I don't exactly know how it will turn out. I have a pretty good idea, but from time to time  a painting may not come into fruition in the way that I expect. But, that's all part of making art, I suppose-- a little trial and error, and a lot of practice.

It might be a little hard to tell what's going on at this stage, but what I'm painting is a village square with lunchtime diners seated at umbrella-covered cafe tables. I've started in my typical manner of putting down my design with a light wash of ultramarine blue and cad. red light or permanent alizarin, thinned way down with mineral spirits. I'm drawing with brushes, but also just with a rag, wiping in and rubbing out as I develop the composition.

While I'm still keeping it pretty light and loose, with architectural scenes I do a bit more drawing and shading than I might with pure landscape. This does not mean that my compositional decisions are done, however. Sometimes I will make changes, shift, add or subtract things as I am further along in the painting process. But I've gotten a good start and I'm ready to jump in!

*UPDATE: See the progression of this painting demonstration from start to finish here!