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Little Blue Cottage

February 10, 2011

Little Blue Cottage, 9x12, Gouache

This little cottage sits beside a highway in Romania.  I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it peeking out from behind a ramshackle wood fence, overgrown bushes and trees threatening to overrun it.  The red tile roof and blue/gray plaster nestled in among all the green seemed almost like something out of a fairy tale.  So I painted it… a little whimsically maybe, but it was really great fun.  Have I been to Romania, you ask?  Not physically, no.  But thanks to my artist friend, Bill Guffey, I was able to paint this “virtually” on location.

Bill Guffey hosts a blog called The Virtual Paintout.  Each month he picks a location somewhere in the world.  The concept:  To gather in one area of the world, virtually, once a month with other artists.  To paint or draw a scene and composition of your choosing, within a predetermined area.

A couple of years ago, after doing a few paintings using Google Street View as his reference, Bill contacted Google and explained what he had been doing.  He managed something really groundbreaking: after a number of discussions, Google agreed that artists could use Street View as references for paintings, copyright free.  (Not the photos that people post on the maps, but the actual view taken from the Google cameras.)

Think about this for a moment.  One can’t help but wonder how many artists there are who, because of some disability, are shut ins… unable to leave their own home, even to take reference photos.  What Bill Guffey has accomplished, through Google, is to allow artists to travel to any part of the world, roam the countryside, or a major city, find their own location, and paint the scene they find, from several different directions.

Personally, I just find it pretty enlightening to travel to these places and see the sights.  I haven’t done The Virtual Paintout in quite a while, but I saw that this month’s location was Romania.  I’ve never been to that part of the world, and have always had a fascination for it.  So I spent a couple of hours roaming the highways, and found this little cottage.

I keep waiting for Little Red Riding Hood to go skipping past the fence…

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Margaret Quin permalink
    February 10, 2011 5:35 pm

    Love it, Ralph! This is charming!

    What a wonderful concept , being able to “Travel” & see all over the world right on your computer!!

    • February 13, 2011 1:30 pm

      Thanks Margaret! This one was fun. I take so many of my own photos, that I don’t go the the Virtual Paintout often enough. It truly is a great concept.

  2. Carol Z permalink
    February 10, 2011 9:30 pm

    This one’s gorgeous. Love the colors and the chunky brush strokes!

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