"The Bluebird Theater" is my most recent painting, just finished. It is 24 x 36, oil on panel, and is a rendition of a scene that I photographed in Denver Colorado. The Bluebird is no longer a movie theater, in fact, but a venue where mostly up-and-coming bands and performers are on stage, seven nights a week.
For more than a year I had been casting about looking for the right theater to paint. I was primarily interested in the lights and lighting effects of a marquee at night, but I also like the feeling of a pool of light that attracts people who come to be entertained. The shadowy figures in this painting are kids who have come to see a couple of unknown--nationally, at least--rock bands. The movie title on the marquee is my own. "Paradise Lost" is the title of an epic poem by John Milton written in the 1660s. It addresses his despair in a lost revolution, but affirms his faith in humanity. Max Demian, is the name of a primary character in Hesse's novel, 'Demian'.
I just was not inclined to put the names of two rock bands on this classical marquee. But, for me, the real challenge and satisfaction of doing this painting is how the lights of the marquee needed to really seem to luminesce, and I am very fond of how the blue light coming from the neon 'Bluebird' is causing the entire top-half of the building to seem almost unreal, kind of ethereal and yet vibrant at the same time. I also found the way that the theater's lights reflect off of the painted lines in the street and the reflections on the car parked down the block to add visual interest. And, they were fun to paint.