I was asked to paint a brand new Versa Bus for Trent Barton for the relaunch of their Rainbow One route, the same route that my Ripley Rattlers Travelled 101 years ago, they wanted both the tram and bus on the same painting set in a background. Below are the photos I worked from.
Ripleys Last Tram 1932
Brand New Versa Bus in the Langley Mill Depot.
Photo taken during my research for the Ripley Rattlers and not previously used.
I had to combine all three images into a believeable painting not an easy task so I spent alot of time looking for background scenes that havent changed to much in 100 years, the Coop Building now Boyes was the terminus for the tram and looking at the photos I could easily combine the two.
First of all for a painting like this I draw it out with a charcoal pencil after I have gessoed the board and pre-painted a sky, there was some burnt sienna in the gesso to give warmth. I saw how the tram lines worked from the old photo and I was happy that they could be used to draw and divide the scene between old and new.
For the next stage I kind of ignored that either side of the painting was from different times and treated it as a whole not looking much at the photos but concentrating on it all together, by thinking which direction the light was falling because after all the sun has been around longer!
Next was the bus and tram and I have done much research on the colour of the tram as all photos are black and white! The bus was easier although its tricky working from two photos as you have to make it believable that this bus is actually here so its paying attention to the shadows again.
After all the blocking in and thinking the last part is all about the details making sure all the logos are painted on the bus correctly as its a commision for Trent Barton that bit had to be right! I used the figures and the road markings to merge the scene so we have the tram conductor looking in disbelief towards the new bus and the man at the bus stop slightly confused as to what he is waiting for!
The finished piece all the shadows are in and details modern and old are there, I used everything I could to draw the eyes back and forth across the scene. It was an interesting challenge and below you can see where I presented the painting.
I handed over the painting to the marketing director during the relaunch of the brand new bus, it was a wonderful day with the voice of the X Factor Peter Dixon entertaining us he is also the voice of the bus a considerable career move he said!
Its been a wonderful experience painting the Ripley Rattlers and to be recognised for it with this commission from Trent Barton has been fantastic! I am waiting for news as to what they plan to do with the painting in the future but for now for this little artist to have traveled from single idea all the way up to a castle to drink blue champagne I couldn't be happier with the outcome!