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Now that we’re all completely desensitized to doors (see Part 1), it’s time to move on to the painting bit…

One day I was sitting in my living room wondering what I should paint. I do this sometimes. Not often enough. And since I was having a doors obsession episode, I decided to try my hand at painting… wait for it… doors!

I printed out photos of three of my favorite doors and got to work. I tried to stay very loose and quick, not getting bogged down in details. Which didn’t really work. I ended up having to get rather precise to capture shadows and angles and details.

My first round was one of my favorite red doors:

I really like how the miniature metal flower box hanging on the door turned out. It feels loose and whimsical and it actually looks like the real flower box. I also like how the lamp and the sidewalk bricks turned out. For the small windows, I used a very loose application of a mix of ultramarine blue and burnt umber to achieve the look of a reflection on glass. I experimented with adding some yellow to the red siding wash… I imagined that it would brighten up the red and make it look more sun-drenched. Unfortunately, I think it more resembles a lemon drop bleeding out on the house.

Next I tried a blue door (which happened to be the door across the street from where I lived at the time):

I like how the shadows turned out, especially the shadow of the lamp. However, if you weren’t comparing it to the photo of the door, you might wonder what that black blob on the door is. In this painting I was much looser with the siding lines than I was with the red door, using paint rather than pen, and leaving some gaps in the lines. I think I like this approach better.

And lastly I painted a yellow door, completing my study of doors in primary colors:

I think this is my favorite door of the three. I really like how the door decoration turned out – I think it looks very realistic. I also like how the weathered door effect looks. To achieve the white vertical “distress” lines, I used a small, hard-bristled brush, dipped it in water, and then rubbed the paint carefully, blotting it with a tissue to remove the green paint. I tried adding yellow at the top of the door to show reflected light, but again, I think I only succeeded in achieving the lemon-drop-bleeding-out look. The way to have shown reflected light would have been to have rubbed out some of the yellow paint to make it lighter. Also, in retrospect I think I should have taken artistic license and left out the horizontal shadow running from the left of the picture through the lamp. That’s a shadow of a power line, and it just doesn’t need to be there.

I guess I’d call these studies. I was playing around with how to capture the lighting, the shadows, and the color tones. I like capturing a door when the sun is casting interesting shadows. And each of these photos and paintings show the sun at an angle that creates shadowy intrigue.

The paintings may not be exhibit-worthy, but the process of immersing myself in these three photos and trying to replicate them in paint with a glass of wine and a fire in the fireplace more than doubled my doors pleasure and sated my obsession… for the time. I hope you enjoy looking at and reading about them as much as I enjoyed photographing and painting them. And that’s all I have to say about doors. I promise.

Red and Yellow Doors