Chinatown, San Francisco

By Rob Pointon

Chinatown, San Francisco

Grant Street in Chinatown is one of the busiest pavements in San Francisco. It’s never quiet in Chinatown, with 24hr bustle. The deliberately ‘over the top’ oriental architecture, the masses of lanterns, signage and packed street level shops culminate in an intense jigsaw of colour that translates well into oils.

There seems to be a lot of large street furniture in the US that can be useful to a street painter. An easel can be tucked in-between dust bins, newspaper stands, seats and benches, keeping hazardous easel legs, turpentine and oil paint out of the crowds.

I seemed to attract a large number of older generation Chinese men to really intensely study my painting process and spoke with a few fellow painters despite a language barrier. I think there must be an enormous appreciation of craft in this group.

I wanted this composition to have the majority of the picture plane filled with Grant Street’s cacophony of colour. Just as you need dark around light to know that it is light, I have brought quite a plain, spacious sunlit wall on the right into the frame as a contrast that highlights the depth and the attack on the senses of the main street.

Painting detail

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