I tend to hang the paintings I am working on up on the wall just like a finished painting. This way I  can scrutinize it from all angles, in all sort of light conditions and decide where to go with it next. This is exactly what I did with the painting I started for my uncle. After I took a photo for you I decided to add a subtle wash  of blue for the river and the sky and left it at that. And then I just looked at it.

The more I did, however, the more I felt something was missing. The sky seemed dark and gloomy as if a storm was approaching. The buildings had a darkness to them that I didn’t want to have. I know the picture I took had a similar tone, but this is not the city I have in my heart, not the one I wanted on the canvas.

The one I wanted to paint is the vibrant one you see in summer. The one which is bursting with life, one that is full with the bustle of the tourists, the music of the festivals, the taste of my favorite lemon ice cream. So I put on a Söndörgő (pronounced Shoendoergoe; a famous world music group from my city) record and started painting.

Szentendre
Szentendre
Szentendre Cathedral
detail – Belgrade cathedral

It is very interesting how a color can suddenly change an entire picture. While in the harbor painting the blue of the sea influenced everything else, in this one it was the yellow ochre that took this role. And as the rhythm of the tamburica increased, so did my enthusiasm to use this color. As soon as I started adding in the yellows suddenly the sky lit up, the river seemed more alive and each tone took its rightful place. Although the cathedral’s yellow and burgundy facade does tend to overpower the scenery, it blended in nicely with the city scape and did not take away the attention from the other parts of the painting.

Szendrendre St John church
detail – St John’s church

St. John’s church has become one of my favorite buildings in the picture. As this is located on the central hill in the middle of the city I’ve seen it many, many times. Never from this view though. It was strange to see it, yet so interesting to take it apart and see it in its tiniest details.

motor boat river

I know it was a little artistic liberty that put this motor boat on the river in the first place. (Thank heavens for photo editing programs!) At the end though I think it added such a nice movement and focus point to it. I really love it! To those that I showed the finished painting to keep asking me who they are. I’ll leave it up to you to decide!

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