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The ArtworkPeople Stand and People Watch
A painting in casein of a group of people standing and watching some unseen spectacle. The view of this sunlit scene is taken from above and behind the people's heads, looking towards the object of their attention.
Human beings are very curious creatures, we are born that way. Curiosity is an innate part of our character, the need to know is essential to our development – children with their incessant questions always want to know. We want to know things even if they aren't obviously of use to us, it all helps towards improving our understanding of ourselves and our world. So we ask, we try and we watch.
As do the subjects of this painting. A girl, a woman and four men. What activity would cause them all to stop and stare? What is it that enthralls them and captures their gaze?
We don't really need to know what it is exactly though, that's not the focus of this painting. It's left to your imagination. On a warm summers day it could be a street performer in the town square, a sporting event, perhaps a colourful parade or pageant.
Whatever it is, the audience is completely engaged. They're not about to move away, indeed the child has settled herself up against a wall or something! And whilst they're enjoying the show why don't we take a closer look at them?
Don't worry, there's nothing wrong with doing that. Who hasn't let their eyes wander around the crowds at an event, enjoying the sight of other people. People watching is a pleasure that can be just as entertaining as the main event!
So back to the subjects of this painting. A girl, a woman and four men. How are they connected? Can we learn anything from their dress or their pose?
Let's try and imagine who these people are. Those two, standing so close together could be partners, maybe the girl is theirs – she has blonde hair like the woman. And maybe those two are friends or work colleagues taking a lunchtime stroll. They're all dressed very casually, t-shirts, short sleeves, shorts and visors – perfect for a warm and pleasant day.
For this painting I've used a limited palette of yellows, blues and roses. The bright yellow background with its textures, created with a palette knife on watercolour paper captures the feel of a bright afternoon. Squint hard at those textures, in between the figures, maybe you'll be able to make out what's going on in the near distance.
Are you tempted to join them? You could squeeze in front of those two but try not to block her view. The choice is yours – people watch or enjoy the show!