I just finished packing this painting up for an exhibition in Florida to be held in January. It’s a good example of how a day that is overcast or cloudy can be just as interesting as one with full sun and lots of strong shadows. The key is capturing a wide range of values, something that is necessary no matter what you are painting, but even more so when the value changes are more subtle. It is the contrast between the darkness of the shadows on the roadway and the bright lights that give the illusion of a wet road. The gradual light to dark of the sky imparts a sense of perspective as well as gives the illusion of a foggy atmosphere.
I often have students ask if the photos they have of overcast days are good to use for paintings. As always, when working from a photo, treat it as a reference that you will interpret rather than something to copy, to me that is first and foremost. Look for the values and establish a broad range from dark to light in your under painting, this will give you a structure to work from and allow you to be more free in your experimentation with color as you move through the remaining layers. In other words, think about value first, then move into color–it is much easier to focus on one thing at a time.
Note: This painting is available for sale through Trudy Labell Fine Art, Naples, FL.