Southern California landscape

A photorealist painting of BMX racers Christophe LeVeque and John Purse

Photrealist painting - Southern California Landscape
Click on image to see full size

My very first photorealst painting; this is where it all started. I was never happy to just paint what I saw – I would modify the source material to suit my needs. The idea from the very beginning of my painting ‘career’ was to take visually and conceptually interesting source material and comment on them using the genre of photorealism.

  • That ide of being a commentator is made quite clear. I painted me in there, holding up a microphone as I called the action.
  • BMX is a subject I have painted many times. I plan to return to it one day.


Dimensions: 61x91cm.
Painted: 1999.
Materials: Acrylic on canvas board.
Availability: For sale $700.

The story behind Southern California Landscape

My first photorealist painting’s source photo was taken from Snap, an American BMX magazine. I realised that a grid would enable a detailed drawing to be made; so I took the magazine pages, stuck them together and drew a grid over the top with a biro.

The picture features two riders prominently – Christophe LeVeque and John Purse, who at the time was dominating the sport of BMX. This race was called the So. Cal. Nationals and this became the basis for the title of the painting – ‘Southern California landscape’.

There was a smaller image on the left which was overlayed onto the main image, which was a problem. My solution was to use whiteout to cover it and interpret how the shadows would form. Just as I was finishing the painting, I needed reassurance that I had got it right. So I e-mailed the magazine, explained my situation, and they e-mailed the original image back. I was thankfully spot on!

Southern California Landscape - Detail 1
Southern California Landscape – Detail 1
Southern California Landscape - Source image
Southern California Landscape – Source image
Photorealist painting - Southern California landscape - Wall mockup
Photorealist painting – Southern California landscape – Wall mockup

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