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Rick Mullin 05-27-2014 03:24 PM

North Beach
Oil on canvas, 36" x 48"

Painted from a ten-year old pencil sketch made in the Savoy Tivoli on Grant Street in San Francisco. Very dark inside, very bright outside. That was the challenge.

Ann Drysdale 05-28-2014 01:17 AM

Dayhawks !

Ann Drysdale 05-28-2014 01:54 AM

Sorry for the above. It was an instant reaction and came with an Aha! and a delighted grin.

I am fascinated by the ice-cream colours in the band along the top, which I take to be the fringe of an awning, the main part of which is projecting from the cafe above the window (out of our sight line) and casting the pavement shadow that stretches from the cafe below the window (out of our sight line) and makes the darker-ness within.

That stripe holds all the sunshine.

Cyn Neely 05-28-2014 12:05 PM

you rose to the challenge Rick. This works!. Did you do this painting recently and so from memory for the color? Or is an older piece.

Rick Mullin 05-28-2014 01:59 PM

Thanks Ann and Cyn,

I like Dayhawks!, Ann. I get the Hopper reference--especially with the thick gray ennui of the woman in the foreground darkness. Glad you like the awning. If it didn't work as you describe, it would have sunk the ship. The motif of the restaurant is kind of Italian. Have you ever been to San Francisco? It's a European city... one of three in North America along with New Orleans and Montreal. From the sky it is as white as anyplace on the Côte d'Azure, and the light onto Green Street, which has some color, is a whiteout unless you look for details. The focus, of course, is on the figures. Bringing in light on the table and illuminating the bottles was important.

Cyn, I used to draw constantly with a pencil when traveling. I often came right hope and painted. But this sketch scared me, so it sat in a drawer for ten years. I have been on Grant Street many times, so there is some memory involved here, but I mostly went with the sketch. I will bring that by. Usually the pencil sketch, though quite rough, is better.

Siham Karami 01-20-2015 12:29 AM

Hi Rick,

Lured here by the smell of yaks, I'm going to revive this thread since a) I used to live in SF; and b) I love this painting.

The light in particular is to die for. My favorite imagery is that involving light. But here, the way it plays off the bottles, gives the whole scene a sense of permanence. Odd, isn't it, how the changes indicated by lighting, light being constantly in flux when daylight is involved, give a picture a sense of the Eternal? For me at least. By capturing what clearly is a bright but fleeting moment, you make it feel permanent. In a sense, the artist is creating a visual memory for the viewer. It's especially true for representative art, although I suppose abstract art could do the same on another level. I prefer this type of art.

The woman walking away has a white gleam of eye, added to the look on her face, which makes her appear unhappy or disgruntled. I love the brown shadows and the color scheme. It gives a strong indoor/outdoor contrast, where the outdoors floods in via daylight. I feel as if I've been there. Maybe I have, but forgot. The scene has interesting elements in it.

I suppose the difference between art and poetry in the workshop is that I see a painting as a finished work, and can't imagine my saying "could you cut out some of the more clichéd images like the heart-backed chair?" (I don't mean it either -- I love the heart-backed chair!) And then you post a revision without it. "Oh no, it was better with it in. Can you put in a rattan table as it's more West Coast?" Scrape, scrape, retouch, oops, etcetera. I mean this is a major difference, since with poetry it's no biggie to cut and paste and redo. Maybe this is why people don't crit the art. Not sure what the artist is looking for. In any case, you've probably already got a show together at the Met. Which Met, don't tell me. This has already been spoken for. These things sell like hotcakes, I know. So you posted in May and yet it's not too late? Good, because if I'm going to buy art, I'll start right here. I also love the striped awning outside and the hint of whitish things outside. Matches the guy's T-shirt. It all looks so coherent. If only life were such. >Sigh<


Siham Karami 01-20-2015 12:34 AM

Just realized that this is North Beach! I don't remember this place, but it reminds me of North Beach in general where I spent much time when I worked for a film producer near there. Grant avenue coming out of Chinatown. It's amazing how you captured the spirit of a location here, even if the time/era is different (although that is up in the air).

ross hamilton hill 01-20-2015 02:33 AM

Really like this a lot,

Woody Long 01-20-2015 09:19 AM

Rick —

An effect similar to some of Hopper: I, like many people, recognize the place. Though I have never been there there, I have been there somewhere else.

— Woody

Julie Steiner 01-20-2015 12:16 PM

I like the way that the paint texture reveals a lot going on in the apparently whited-out world outside...which to me implies that there's also a lot going on in the interior worlds of all these people whose features we can't quite discern.

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