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28 Windows that Are Not There

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Vibrant scenes of main streets which are filled with ethnic restaurants, shops and galleries have always kept me entertained for the last few years.  However, when it comes to painting, I am more drawn to the back alleys and the back of these buildings. They are not commercial as the front main streets are but the air vents, pipes, staircase and other structures add personalities to these buildings.

I have walked by this pink building many times, admiring the complexity of the structures surrounding it.  I have finally decided to paint it.   It is a vertical building with a long air vent so I decided to keep the next building a long horizontal for balance.  Although all the buildings have similar heights, I decided to decrease the height of both left and the right buildings to add more negative space.  I was very drawn to a group of pipes and carefully arranged it in the middle ground.  I was happy with all the big shapes I had captured in this composition.

As I reflect on this work and I realized it has been a while since I paid attention to the windows and doors of the building.  Although I still paint representationally and on site, I have been more focused at the bigger shapes, the building itself and how they interact with each other and with other shapes.  Since the building is rectangular, I see the windows and doors as a repetition of the same shape.  Therefore, I usually look for different shapes that do not echo the buildings.  This helps me to divert my attention to other elements like the air vents, pipes, staircase, wires etc.

I intentionally counted the windows on the pink building.  There are four floors, two windows on each side of the air vent; total 16 windows.  Similarly, The red building with three floors have at least 4 windows on each floor; total of 12 windows.  If I have been faithful to each of these shapes, there will be at least 28 windows on this painting.   This will be a different kind of painting with 28 windows.   In retrospect, I am very happy and content that I can edit out 28 windows without hesitation.