Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Twilight Cafe.....the painting.

I seem to be making a habit of going back to places and images that I have already painted and looking at them in new or different ways.  This painting is an example of that.  I had the thought one day that it might be interesting to photograph on Congress Street, in Portland, just at dusk, when the day is fading and the city lights are coming on.....not yet dark, but no longer daylight either.

So, I put myself at my chosen spot about a half-hour before sunset, set up a tripod and camera and waited.  As the light changed I made a steady record of it, but I knew that it was still too light, and I was still anticipating that there would come a moment when the interior light in the Starbucks across the street would seem balanced with the daylight outside its windows.  Ultimately, I was there for nearly an hour before I saw what I had hoped for, and I shot a long series of images documenting the street-lights coming on--which they do gradually, btw--and the coming and going of patrons in the cafe. 

One of the aspects of this scene that appeals to me--in any light--is how each window becomes a fleeting visual narrative about its ever so temporary occupant(s), and also conveys a sense of each person being isolated.  The fact that many--even most--of the people are using wi-fi laptops to surf the web adds to that isolation.  Each person seems lost in their own little world as the city goes on about its business around them.  This also plays into a theme in my work that has been there since college: "a stranger in a strange land", after the Heinlein novel by that title, of course.  I often see people as alien visitors in their immediate surroundings, travelers who are either actively or passively participating in an ongoing cosmic psycho-drama... here on the earth-plane.

So, here is "Twilight Cafe", a 22 x 30 oil painting on a Baltic birch panel.  Thanks for looking.  Recall that you can click on this image and see it 'full-size'.

1 comment:

davidbuge said...

Nice painting (I'm a sucker for a Hopper.) You captured the mood. I enjoy (when I visit Portland) sitting in the "cafe" and watching the street wake up in the early morning. People coming out of the beautiful brick building across the street to walk their dogs, people coming and going at the grocery, and old folks greeting one another after a long night. I'm not sure if the view "out" is as good as the view "in", but the mood is very different.
Enjoy you blog.