There's just no other way to
say it . . . John Troxell’s demo was done - IN THE DARK!
And it was a fascinating demo. John has painted in this fashion
for decades, in what he calls a semi-photo realistic style.
While he has the ability to paint many styles, from
his large wall-size murals both on the sides of commercial
buildings and in the interior decorations of fine homes, he uses
this technique to produce many of his acrylic wall paintings,
for sale on commission or to art galleries.
EAA President Lee Peters set up a projector to display a
Cleveland Heights scene (looking west toward the downtown
Cleveland skyline from the hill at the intersection of Fairmont
and Cedar), a late evening sunset view of a near-dark cityscape
in the foreground illuminated by oncoming headlights and bright
red taillights, and a sunset glow in the horizon sky.
In what the rest of the audience saw as a near-dark room, John
grabbed his brush, applied some paint from a dark corner near
the illuminated canvas, and began brushing at a feverish pace
over the projected image, starting with the sky. He transitioned
from blue into burnt sienna as he approached the skyline, then
switched to a dark purple hue to begin the shadowed farther tree
line and darkened buildings bordering Cedar.
From time to time he
raised his brush hand, as if sighting
it to determine distance or height of an object, but in fact he
was blocking the projector's light so that he could see, in
light reflected off of his hand, what colors and shapes he had
just painted in that area of the canvas. His brush hand moved
rapidly across the canvas, back and forth, painting at high
speed. It was quite a show.
minutes or so the canvas was lit so the audience could see what
was actually being done behind the bright photograph being
flashed across the canvas - and what an amazing sight it was
(see the sequence of photos at right). What had been painted
"in the dark" to the rest of us, was a rich texture of shapes
and colors that were quickly forming themselves into a beautiful
impressionistic representation of the photograph being projected
onto the canvas.
he painted in street lights and car lights with brighter colors,
John mentioned that he gets the lights to "pop" by putting them
against a much darker background. And because photographs tend
to create a halo effect around lights in a photo, he will make
an artistic choice in such paintings, sometimes leaving the blur
or halo out, and sometimes painting it in.
image, (left) was about half as dark as the image we had seen
projected throughout the demonstration. He suggested that it
was lighter than he would like, and that he would probably do
more work on it in the studio, darkening the foreground a bit
more. However, the finished product was very professional, very
and yet had a very credible realism to it as well. Considering
he had literally painted the entire work in the dark and in just
over one hour, it was nothing short of miraculous that he had an
image at all! The demonstration was a fascinating show of
professional skill and the result of years of practice and
were provided by the mother/daughter team of Mary Ann Gambitta
and Mary Ann Hagen, featuring delicious tiny pizza slices,
meatballs, vegetables with dip, taco chips with two dips, a
plate of grapes, melon, watermelon (ripe and sweet - very
tasty), and a plate of triangle-shape cookies, and small round
brownie treats. Everything was delicious. The table was
decorated with pots of colorful daisies, and a centerpiece of
bright apple blossoms accompanied by a pottery rabbit and big
blue bird. A nice touch of Spring for our meeting.