Retro Restaurant – Rue St-Denis


Not far from the Laurier Metro Station, you will find this unique restaurant on St-Denis Street. I had often driven by and wished to draw it some day. A few days ago luckily I found a parking spot just about in front of it on the west side of the street. In fact it was a reserved spot for delivery of merchandise but I took a chance anyway to draw and paint this vintage restaurant from the interior of my car on a cold day. If you are familiar with watercolor and ink you will realize that painting this particular scene was a challenge. Because I had to render most of the image in blacks and whites and attempt to render the shine of the metal I had no room for any modification. Rendering receding perspective, the look of reflecting glass and maintaining the white of the paper to represent the snow in slight contrast to adjacent grey tones posed certain hurdles I had to be confident to attain. I sketched right away with a felt tip pen starting at the bent corner of the building at left working my way right and back left gradually. The first color that was laid in was black. This goes contrary to watercolor principles, where one traditionally works from light to dark. However, in this case I felt I had to indicate the darkest dark, black, in order to measure the subtle greys against it. Although the metal sidings are in metal I tried to keep the drawing loose enough to create a winter dirty city snow look. The two red awnings and the red coat lady were just what was needed to warm up and contrast the stark greys and blacks. The hints of green were added being influenced by reflections of that complementary color from somewhere around. I particularly like the way this one worked out. It was worth the challenge. Size: 6 x 8 in on Moleskine paper while listening to beautiful Giorgia Fumante music in my car.


About Raynald Murphy

Passionate plein air painter and sketcher. Watercolor being my favorite medium I also use various dry media to express myself.
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