Good Vibrations

“Good Vibrations” drawn with Neocolor and Luminance. 35 x 29 cm. October 2020

It is early evening on via Fiori Oscuri in the Brera district of Milan – lights, colours, action. I’m picking up good vibrations.

Neocolor 2 undercoat.

It had been a leaden grey November day and freezing cold (2 to 3 degrees). (European cities can be so unrelentingly monochrome when it is cloudy.) I shivered around the Brera district until the lights came on. Artificial light changed sad grey to a kaleidoscope of beautiful colours. I heard a sound of bells. In the distance I could see a man pushing a red trolley. He was covered in bells! I waited until he was JUST in the right position and then I got my source photo. Mission completed, I hot-footed it back to my warm apartment.

8 thoughts on “Good Vibrations

  1. lauraslittlecorner

    Your portrait of Brera is perfectly as Brera looks like. There in Northern Italy, you’re right, the dull monochrome can be illuminated like that, while the lights turn on. And the subtle air, the atmosphere, that freezing cold that makes you shiver. All the vibrant lights, lamps and colours make the grey alive, filled with yellow-green, till its shades vanish to cobalt blue, in transparency. Poesy. Another travel through time and places, you are giving us. Beautiful.You’re bringing me back in Miilan. Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a photo of many cats and I couldn’t help to think of you and your cat-portraits from Venice.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I am so glad to read your comment, Laura. I love to know that you think my drawing is authentically Milanese.
      I was not in a good mood that evening as I was so cold and more than ready to go back to Australia as it was the last bit of our trip. I felt homesick. It is good to know that inspiration is possible even when one is not feeling mentally peaceful.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Ah well, all the building blocks are all in place in the underpainting. The colours are set as well as the balance of the composition. So even as an underpainting it already works.

  2. anna warren portfolio

    This feels like a moment in time – blink and you miss it, open your eyes and the moment is saved for ever. I guess that is the softness of the focus, it gives that sense of the information you gather from a quick glance, just a sense of place, time, atmosphere, all those things that don’t necessarily come with sharp focus.

    I found myself looking from the base drawing to the finished piece and am fascinated that you made many changes between the two. Your mind is clearly evolving the image as you work, you are not beholden to the underpainting except in its structure. This gives the final piece its life – mindlessly ‘filling in’ would strip the life from it. Beautiful.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I always make a lot of changes as I work. One of the things I do is disguise what I’m not very good at. For instance in the underpainting if you look at the perspective lines on the left building you’ll see that they aren’t quite right. How to fix it? Obliterate them completely. And of course I make an effort to make the viewers’ eyes go where I want them to go…in this case…along the lane. I also decided the little man pushing the trolley could have black gloves on because I wanted him not to have too much detail so you’d look beyond him.
      I had originally put a lot of the Christmas fairy lights in but ended up taking them out as the drawing was way too fussy and busy.
      This drawing was close to being ripped up on Sunday and Monday but getting rid of the extraneous matter fixed it. I was glad because it would have been three weeks of work down the drain.

      1. anna warren portfolio

        I’m so glad this drawing survived, its definitely worth it. I think it is testament to your skill as an artist that you do keep re-assessing and making changes as you go, not just trusting that what was initially put down is the final truth.

  3. juliepodstolski Post author

    Nope, no final truth until a work is completed. I’m sure all the decisions and problem-solving we engage in when making art must be very good for our aging brains.


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