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October, Aerin, 2021.

20"x16", acrylic on canvas.


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This painting is partially based on a photo and in a large part just my imagination. So, I've got these two photos here that inspired me, although I didn't really reference either of them. I took the left hand one, and I think my partner took the right hand one. I wanted to do a gas station because gas stations give me a weird feeling and I thought it fit well into this series, conceptually. I think that it's probably the most visually distinct piece in the collection, though.

A blurry photo of a gas station on a street corner. There are various buildings in the background and the sky is blue. The gas station is glowing green, and the details are too blurry to make out. In the foreground there is a blurry light pole.
A photograph of the view from outside a gas station. There is a red car parked at one of the pumps. The wall of a convience store is visible on the right hand side. On the horizon is a line of trees. The sky is blue and pink but everything close to the viewer is drenched in green light.
A photo of sketches in a sketchbook. There is a drawing of a gas pump. There is also a simplified drawing of a gas station with a sign, two pumps, and some bollards. There are also two boxes, one blank, and one with a rectangle drawn in it. There is a thumbnail of a sidewalk outisde a gas station with trees on the horizon. There is a list on the page which reads, "traffic light? gas station?-sign? -green/dark blue? -16x20".

At first I was considering using the composition of one of these photos, but I realized I liked the concept more than the compositions. The end composition is reminiscent of the left hand photo, with the angle it's at, especially, but it's also clearly its own thing. I really liked the greenish lights that both photos have too. Through digital studies, I tried a couple different colors of light and ultimately decided that white lights would look most like my vision. I incorporated the green into the design of the gas station though. 

I thought about using an actual brand of gas station, but it just didn't feel right, and honestly I was a little worried that they might try to sue me or something. So I opted for making up a brand instead. I started with the light green color, and then I needed a logo and the smiley face just seemed appropriate. A little creepy, but not anything actually threatening. The name was a lot harder, and I almost left it nameless. After rolling "liminoid" around my tongue a few times I realized it definitely sounded like some kind of oil or car product and so I made it the name of the gas station.

The blue I used for the sky is almost entirely ultramarine blue. Generally, I mix my own colors and almost never use paint right out of the tube. But ultramarine is just so beautiful on it's own. Much to my chagrin, it dries darker than the wet paint is. That probably worked out for the best in this painting though, as the sky is already very vibrant and it might have been too much if it was brighter.

A closeup of an unfinished painting. The closeup shows a yellow concrete pillar. The image is angled to emphasize the texture of the concrete. To the left, there is a grey shape, and to they left there is a yellow bollard. The ground is dark blue, and in the background there is a city skyline silhouetted on a dark blue sky.
A digital drawing on top of a thumbnail. The digital drawing adds color to the drawing beneath. There is a blue sky and blue ground. There is a gas station with green branding and a sign behind it. There are gas pumps and bollards and the gas station bathes them in green light.
A photo of an unfinished painting of a gas station with green branding. The gas station stands in front of a silhouetted city skyline. The sky and the ground are both dark blue. To the left side of the gas station there is a sign that has a devious smiley face, and underneath the sign lists gas prices. The gas station is labeled "LIMINOID". There are two gas pumps, with bollards on either side. The gas station has a digital drawing on top which depicts white light falling onto the ground.

I tend to prefer to have untextured paintings. I think it might be because of my digital background, but I just don't really love physical texture just for texture's sake. However, I can get down for some physical texture that is used for a specific purpose. In this painting I used shallow texture to mimic the actual texture of concrete pillars. I mostly did it just because I thought it would be cool, but it was super useful for shading the pillars. I think it would have been really hard to make them look like they were made of concrete if I had only used pigment. But the raised texture made the paint wash collect in a patterned way that looked really cool. 

The gas pumps were a challenge. When I started trying to paint them, I realized that I didn't even know where to start. I mean, I know what a gas pump is and I can recognize one when I see one....but when it comes to drawing one myself, I can't put my finger on any specific qualities they have besides dispensing gas. So, I googled "gas pumps" to use as reference and then customized them to my liking. This painting is one of the smallest ones, so I was pretty impressed by how much detail I managed to squeeze in. I had to use the very tip of my smallest brush to carefully dot on details. 

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