Painting Rearview Mirror

rearview mirror - 2017 - full
Eduardo Suré; Rearview Mirror, 2017; Watercolor

In this painting, the observer is the driver of a truck looking into a rearview mirror. There are three images: the ground and the top and bottom views of a Class A mirror.

If I painted something like this again, I would make some changes. I would blur the ground to add depth. I would add a high horizon line as I did in the sketch. I would make the bottom mirror convex. I would also use a color pallet that matches the mood of the story.

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Sketching Rearview Mirror

sketch of rearview mirror - 2017 - 3x2
Eduardo Suré; Sketch of a Rearview Mirror, 2017; Graphite

In this preliminary sketch for a painting, I wanted to study how to have three perspectives in one image. I will only transfer the contour lines to watercolor paper.

The sketch illustrates a driver looking in a rearview mirror at an approaching vehicle. I want the vehicle in the painting to appear ominous.

Painting Caliginous

caliginous - 2017 - original
Eduardo Suré; Caliginous, 2017; Watercolor

This painting is very simple, but I actually tried to do a few things with it. I would judge its success based on the answers to the following questions.

  • Is the outstretched hand the first thing to catch the observer’s attention?
  • Does the observer feel like he or she is asked for something?
  • Does the observer’s gaze move from the outstretched hand to the void where the face should be?
  • Is the void where the face should be disturbing to the observer?
  • Do the complimentary colors contribute to whatever excitement the observer may feel?
  • Does the perspective help the observer feel like he or she is a part of the scene?

I always want to draw and paint something that looks good, but I’ve started focusing more on the reaction I want the viewer to have.

Finding the White Living Jewel

caliginous - 2017 - 3x2
Eduardo Suré; Caliginous, 2017; Watercolor

Melissa Taylor walked purposefully down Washington’s 14th Street North West wearing business attire to blend in with early morning commuters. Once she was across the street from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, she stopped walking and pretended to type out a message on her phone. Her true purpose for stopping was to become more familiar with the public facing security of the facility.

Melissa planned to steal items from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for a foreign collector. She planned to go in through a back door either exploiting a weakness in their physical security or personnel or both. She also planned to pick up some things for herself along the way to help maintain her very high standard of living.

As Melissa observed the building, she noticed a person staring at her from across the street. The person wore plain casual clothing: sneakers, jeans, and a hoodie that concealed a face in shadow. Yesterday’s word of the day, caliginous, came to her mind. Her best guess from the overall look of the person’s body was that the person was a male.

In Melissa’s mind, her only option was to confront him. She had a natural tendency to want to dominate others. She put her phone down and glared at him. His response was to raise his right arm from his side to bring forward his gloved hand with the palm up.

Melissa interpreted his gesture as a challenge. She made her posture even more defiant and exaggerated so he could see it from across the wide street. She placed her left hand on her hip, positioned her head above her right shoulder, and with her right hand extended dared him with her own gesture to go to her and get her.

He immediately began to walk toward Melissa. Without looking in either direction, he stepped off of the sidewalk and into the street. Automobile tires screeched to avoid hitting him. A van stopped too late. It rammed him and sent him flying forward onto the asphalt. He hit it with a thud and his body rolled to a stop. Melissa watched the accident in astonishment.

The driver of the van checked on his passengers. Then, he opened his door and stepped out to check on the man. The man stood up and began walking toward Melissa.

“Are you OK, sir?” the driver called out to him. “Don’t try to walk, sir. You may fall.” The man ignored the driver of the van.

Melissa realized she was not being threatened by an ordinary man. She pulled herself out of her shock and walked briskly up the street. She looked for options to get away. There were not enough pedestrians out for her to disappear into a crowd. She could run, try to catch a passing cab, or lose him in the subway.

Melissa looked behind her. The man continued to follow. There was no cab in sight. Around a corner about fifty yards ahead of her was a subway entrance. She was far enough ahead of him that she could turn the corner and descend into the subway without him seeing her do it. He would need to guess whether she went down the street and into an alley, into a building, or into the subway.

Melissa walked faster. She turned the corner and then walked quickly down the escalator to the subway tunnel. She had a monthly pass, so she went through the gate quickly as she heard a train approaching the platform. She had to travel another 25 yards and go down another set of escalators to catch that train. She took off her heels and began to run. At the top of the escalator, she heard the train’s warning chime that the doors were about to close. She descended as fast as she could; but, as she reached the bottom step, the doors closed and it departed.

Melissa looked back. The man was walking down the escalator and would surely intercept her if she tried to leave the station. The other end of the platform was a dead end for subway passengers, but she thought she might find a way to escape through the maintenance corridors.

Melissa looked back again as she ran. The man extended his gloved hand with its palm up. He asked her to give it to him. She realized what he wanted. The only thing that would interest such a creature was the white jewel. She was not going to give it to him.

When Melissa looked forward again, she ran into a pole that displayed subway maps. She hit it so hard she bounced back and fell to the ground. When she looked up, he stood over her. She could not see his face. ‘Caliginous,’ she thought. That is what she decided to name him.

Caliginous extended his gloved hand, and Melissa slapped it away. A black blade shot out from his wrist. He stabbed her with it. She had been stabbed before and had adapted to it. She screamed both from the pain and as a battle cry. She kicked Caliginous’ feet out from under him. The blade exited her as he fell to the ground face down. She moved quickly onto him as he was in a vulnerable position. Then, she placed him in a chokehold.

Instead of Caliginous, Melissa was the one who began to choke. There was no air in the tunnel. She let him go as she gasped for air. While he got up, her body adapted to the lack of oxygen, and she functioned as a facultative anaerobe. He attacked her as she recovered, but she was able to fight back. She dodged his blade and struck him. Her body burned from the buildup of lactic acid, but she defended herself as he assaulted her.

Caliginous stepped back and out of Melissa’s reach. She watched him to anticipate his next move, but her head began to hurt. It felt just like the first time she had been stabbed, lost a lot of blood, and her brain began to die. She felt the desperation of it again trying to keep itself alive. The pain intensified as she felt like the fluids were being squeezed out of her head.

Melissa could not stand what she felt. She grabbed a chain around her neck and pulled it until it broke. It was the necklace she used to keep the white jewel close. She threw it to Caliginous’ feet.

The pain stopped. Melissa gasped as the air returning to the tunnel filled her lungs. She kneeled on the floor as Caliginous walked away. She looked at her hands and watched as they aged. Her eyesight became blurry. She felt her lower back spasm.

Melissa was intelligent. She always figured out a way to get what she wanted. That time, Caliginous had caught her by surprise. In the future, she would be prepared for him. In fact; she planned to hunt him, get her jewel back, and make him pay for the pain she had felt.

© 2017 EDUARDO SURÉ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sketching Caliginous

caliginous - 2017 - 3x2
Eduardo Suré; Sketch of Caliginous, 2017; Graphite

The image above was my third attempt to illustrate my next short story. I didn’t use my first sketch because a van I drew in the scene looked too wide. I didn’t use the second sketch because the foreshortening of the hand was incorrect. I think the hand in this third sketch works.

Self Portrait Painting, 2017

self portrait painting - 2017 - original ratio
Eduardo Suré; Self Portrait Painting, 2017; Graphite

It’s been a year since I started teaching myself to draw and paint, so I thought I’d try a self portrait.

I used my sketch from my last post as the structural drawing. Then, I used a mirror to paint.

I think this painting looks like me. However, I don’t say much about who I am or about our time.

Still, it’s a lot better than the self portrait I painted last year!

Self Portrait Sketch, 2017

self portrait sketch - 2017 - 3x2
Eduardo Suré; Self Portrait Sketch, 2017; Graphite

It’s been one year since I started teaching myself to draw and paint, so I thought I’d try a self portrait. I looked in a mirror as I sketched this. It would have been easier to draw from a photo, but not as original. I found it challenging to use a mirror, but fun. I’ll use this sketch as the structure for the painting. I’ll post that next.

Painting Brian

Brian Throwing Rock - 2017 - 8x10
Eduardo Suré; Brian Throwing Rock, 2017; Watercolor

I painted Brian to illustrate Finding the Gray Living Jewel. I wanted to convey his pleasure about his newfound strength, but I don’t think I succeeded. His face is too serious. I don’t even remember how I messed up his right eye.

I was excited about creating this illustration. I thought I was going to enjoy drawing a muscular guy throwing a rock. I was going to make the action dramatic. Instead, I struggled through some sketches, got a little frustrated, and settled for this.

I think I was in too much of a hurry. I will try to slow down in the future. Perhaps taking a break from a project if I’m struggling will help me reset.

Thank you for stopping by. If you are interested in reading the Living Jewel Series, the hyperlink will take you to my short stories. You can also find the link to the Living Jewel Series under Categories.

Finding the Gray Living Jewel 

3x2
Eduardo Suré; Brian Throwing Rock, 2017; Watercolor

Pahrump, Nevada

At the neglected parking lot of an abandoned shopping center, one man handed a car key to another and said, “You have enough explosives in that trunk to collapse the entire opening to the mountain. Remember, all of the workers leave for lunch at the same time per their Union’s contract. Blow it then, and they’ll be too scared to come back to work. That’ll give you some breathing room to set up to tie the company up in court. No one will be putting radioactive waste in your backyard for a long time.”

 

Las Vegas, Nevada

“Look at this,” Brian Wilson said gesturing toward the beautiful art on display, the lavish food and drink being served, and the high-class guests conversing with each other. “It isn’t fair.”

“Your parents do love you, Brian,” Helen said.

“If they loved me, they would help me,” Brian said. He unbuttoned his suit jacket and leaned back in the chair. “They just invite me to these things so they can shove their wealth in my face.”

“Your parents hosted this party to support local artists,” Helen said. “I grew up with your parents, as you know, and they have never shoved their wealth in anyone’s face.”

“Well, they do in mine,” Brian said.

“They invited you because they wanted to see you,” Helen said.

“That’s not their only reason. They have a specific purpose for everything,” Brian said. “I bet they hoped I would network.”

“It is a good opportunity. Everyone here is interested in art, and you are a wonderful artist,” Helen said.

“I’m not an artist anymore,” Brian said. “I’m just an iron worker thanks to them.”

“Your parents want you to own your achievements. You must be both an artist and a businessman if you want wealth,” Helen said. “They want you to learn tenacity and build what you have from your own hard work.”

“Structural steel work is hard work,” Brian said. “And what has it gotten me? While they’re in museums having champagne, I’m sweating under a mountain. They’re building art collections as I’m building a waste storage facility.”

Helen leaned toward Brian. “Is the company you work for building the radioactive waste repository?” she asked.

“Yes,” Brian answered. “I’m not even contributing to anything anyone will ever see. After we’ve finished, they’ll fill it with waste. No human will go near it for hundreds of thousands of years.”

“Hundreds of thousands of years?” Helen whispered to herself. Brian stood up and buttoned his suit jacket.

“It was nice seeing you again, Helen,” Brian said as he leaned down to embrace her.

“Please wait for a moment, Brian,” Helen said. Brian sat back down at the edge of his seat and observed Helen’s face. She was the same age as his parents, but her face was younger. Her clothing and makeup encouraged observers to estimate her age to be nearer to that of his parents. “I need to ask something of you.”

“Anything I can do,” Brian said.

Helen looked around the room, lowered her voice, and said, “I need you to bury something in that facility for me.”

“What is it?” Brian asked after leaning closer to Helen.

“Nothing at all to anyone, but me,” Helen said. “It’s just something in a little jewelry box I don’t want anyone to find. Ever. I want you to bury it in that facility.”

“Certainly, Helen,” Brian said. “I can pick it up tomorrow on my way back to the valley.”

“No need for you to go out of your way,” Helen said. “I have it with me.” She opened her purse and took out a small jewelry box. She paused to look at it, took a deep breath, and offered it to Brian. He took the box from her and tried to open it. “I’ve sealed it shut. Kindly do not open it.” He watched her and waited for more information. “Allow an old woman her secrets, Brian. Would you please do this for me?”

“Consider it done,” Brian said.

 

Amargosa Valley, Nevada

On Monday, Brian took Helen’s jewelry box with him to work. He kept it in his pocket. All morning, he noted places where he might hide the box when his coworkers were not looking. His best idea was to tuck the box in a gap between the steel reinforcement he had installed and the wall. Later, it would be sealed in with concrete. No one would ever find it.

“C’mon, Brian. It’s lunchtime!” Brian’s coworker shouted.

“I’ll be out in a minute!” Brian shouted back.

“You better not be workin’ overtime!” the worker joked.

“Who, me?” Brian shouted. “I just need to put my tools away so I don’t lose them again!”

Brian gathered and arranged his tools as workers made their way out of the facility for their lunch break. Once everyone was out of sight, he took the jewelry box out of his pocket. He tried to shove it into the largest gap he had found, but the box was too wide. He pulled a knife out of his tool belt and tried to cut the glue that kept the box closed, but Helen had done a thorough job sealing it. He then tried to force the box open with a screwdriver. He broke the hinges, but opened the box.

Inside the box, there was a gray gemstone. It was the size and shape of a small piece of chocolate, but as smooth as glass. Brian tried to grasp it, but his work gloves were too thick. He tipped the box over so the jewel would fall out and into his hand, but it would not. So, he took his gloves off and grasped the stone with his fingers. It took a lot of finger force, but he was able to pinch it out.

As Brian looked closely at the stone, he heard an explosion at the entrance to the facility. He dropped to the ground and covered his face as a cloud of dust rushed toward him. He could not see, but he heard the side of the mountain crumble down.

Brian stayed on the ground until the rumbling sound stopped and the cloud of dust cleared. The generators near him worked, so he was able to see around him. Everything by the entrance was destroyed, so the front of the facility was obscured by darkness.

Brian stood up. He walked carefully toward the entrance. The further he was from the light, the slower he walked. He continued forward until he stepped on stone and debris. He saw the entrance collapsed. He was trapped.

“Help!” Brian yelled. The sound of his voice was swallowed by the rubble and a faint echo mocked him from the deeper parts of the cavernous facility. He growled and kicked a nearby boulder with his steel toed boot. The stone flew as if was hit by a sledgehammer. He wrinkled his brow, tucked his head back, and asked himself, “What?”

Brian looked into his hand as if he did not remember what he was clutching. He saw that he had held the jewel since the explosion. He put it in his pocket to free his hands. Then, he scanned the rubble until he found a stone similar in size to the one he had kicked. He bent down to pick up the stone, and found that it was quite heavy. He dropped it on the ground, wrinkled his brow, and stared at it.

After a minute, Brian pulled the jewel out of his pocket. He transferred it from his right hand to his left hand and held it. Then, he bent down and picked up the rock he had dropped. It was much lighter. He studied it, and then crushed it with his hand like it was just a cracker. He picked up another large stone and threw it as if it weighed nothing. Then he picked up and threw another and another and another. He began to laugh as he did it.

Brian walked up to a boulder larger than the grasp of his hand. He looked at the jewel in his hand and, after some hesitation, put it into his mouth. He bent down to pick up a boulder the size of a backpack. As he applied force to lift it, the muscles in his arms and core grew larger. He dropped the rock and examined his muscles. After the shock diminished, he approached a boulder that was the size of a large suitcase. When he applied force to lift it, the muscles he used grew. His clothing ripped around his arms and other places where the muscles grew. He picked up the boulder and threw it easily.

Brian cheered and began to dig his way out of the cave. Then, he stopped. He spit the jewel out of his mouth and into his hand. When he placed it in his pocket, his muscles became normal. He walked back to the light. As he walked, he picked up tools and other things that would be useful if someone were going to wait a long time to be rescued.

© 2017 EDUARDO SURÉ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sketching Brian

Sketch of Brian Throwing Rock - 2017 - 3x2
Eduardo Suré; Sketch of Brian Throwing Rock, 2017; Graphite

I sketched Brian for my next short story, Finding the Gray Living Jewel. He is a steelworker in his 20s and is standing in front of a pile of rocks. He is easily lifting a heavy stone above his head. His expression should convey surprise at how easily he can carry the stone, and his muscles should appear unusually large.

Thank you for stopping by. If you are interested in reading the Living Jewel Series, the hyperlink will take you to my short stories. You can also find the link to the Living Jewel Series under Categories.