Revisiting Haiku Corner, with whole process!
Haiku Corner is a Myers and Chang restaurant in Boston, MA. A friend of mine took a photo that I really liked and I loved everything about it so much that I decided to paint it! You can check out my initial post about this in an older post of mine.
I was feeling experimental with this one, so I used 9x12” sheet of Masonite instead of canvas. Gessoed it and sanded it down. Then I sketched with thinned burnt umber paint, and finished the rest with oils. I also tried using walnut oil. I thought it’d help spread the paint around but it wasn’t very helpful on the Masonite boards, which absorbed a lot of the oils.
These process shots are newly recovered! I thought I had lost them, so these have never been shown anywhere else before. I think this really shows my method of drawing in color, and refining the drawing while painting, so I am happy to be able to share these with you all now.
Here is the first pass, when I thinned out some black paint with a little titanium white, and sketched the rough drawing. I used masonite, which is incredibly porous. I had painting it with a gesso ground, and sanded it, but that doesn't stop the oils and thinner from being absorbed very quickly. It kind of reminds me of painting with acrylics, because of the fast drying time.
On the second pass, I added some colors and some grays to begin to fill out some of the details. I worked on the color of the vinyl chairs and worked out some of the white areas.
I worked on the darks again, describing each of the people and the lighting and some other details. I had trouble getting that table on the left at the correct angle.
Then, I worked on some of the finer details in color. The reds on the counter, some of the bluer tones, and evening out the dark areas. The background is starting to take more shape here, and the spherical light fixtures are coming together as well.
Here I did some more work on the people. That guy on the left lost some weight. The folks in the back are a lot clearer, too. The lighting fixtures are better described, and so are the items on the counter.
I spent a lot of time working on those chairs to the left. I think it had to do with lens distortion.
The items on the table to the left are clearer here, as are the items on the counter. You can't yet see that glass on the counter that I like so much in the final piece.
The line in the mirror, between the two sheets of glass, was also difficult, but you can see that I straightened it out. Sometimes I'm not sure what I'm painting in the first pass, as I'm a bit blinded by all the details, and I'm just painting light and dark.
Here you can see that the items on the counter are much more detailed, and I worked out a lot of the information in the mirror on the back wall. Half of this painting is a reflection, which I think adds a lot to the depth and perspective.
I'm not going to lie, I'm not 100% sure I have all of these in the right order! It's a little hard to tell. I tried!
What you can't see here is that I was experimenting on this painting with using walnut oil instead of my usual OMS (oderless mineral spirits) as a thinner. I only really used it on the orange chairs to the right.
I didn't like how long it extended the drying time, despite the quick absorption of the masonite. So that's the only area that has a bit more sheen than the rest. I think it helps show that the chairs are vinyl.
And here are some of the close ups of my favorite parts.
This last one shows my friend, John, taking the photo!
I hope you enjoyed this post, I was happy to recover these process pictures and show you my method. Let me know in the comments of your thoughts!