Nov 6, 2010


“Lovers at the Cow Cafe”
7x9" watercolor

I do not include people as subjects in my plein air paintings because I’m interested in watching their activities, albeit those activities can sometimes be interesting. If I’m in close proximity to the people I want to include in a painting, I will tell them my intent, and make sure it’s okay with them that I paint them. If, however, the people are across the room, such was the case here, I can generally get by unnoticed.

I could write a romance novel based on my observations of the scene above. He couldn’t keep his hands off her; by the time they left, she’d let her hair down; they didn’t let the table come between them and their embrace. Oh my!

Here is a case where I went to the most family-oriented of cafés, the Cow Café in New Bern, and found there a couple deeply emerged in each other. I had been expecting a bunch of kids that wouldn’t stay still long enough to be included in a painting. (Notice the dad and his daughter to the left of the lovers.)

Sketching people in public places can be great practice for an artist. People, cars and animals move, and so capturing them can speed up your observation and drawing process. There are no model fees. You can meet people this way. If the drawing turns out, and you’re feeling generous, they’ll appreciate the drawing as a gift — on and on.

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