Of course, we all know about landscapes. Popular for as long as anyone can remember and always will be. But urbanscapes are increasing in popularity. Many artists are taking on the challenge of capturing urban living, a continuous ebb and flow of life and movement, and constantly changing.

It is a change of perspective from nature and all its beauty and serenity to the awareness of the urban surroundings many of us live in, with the hustle and bustle of daily life in a city being the norm for a lot of people. With a lot of movement, architecture and the wonderful way the light plays on and around buildings, reflecting off both still and moving surfaces, and drawing the eye to highlighted aspects, we may never have stopped to notice before.

I stumbled across this image and instantly knew I wanted to paint it. From the vibrant red canopy to the autumn foliage softening the edges of the building and the way the light plays across the tops of heads of the people sitting and enjoying their time at this café. And of course the waiter, the star attraction amongst the seated guests. For me this painting captures the simplicity of spending time in a café, enjoying a moment to stop.

I love the way I am transported into my painting as it progresses, stirring emotions and longing. And in the case of this scene, a longing I will get to experience in real life when I travel to Paris next June on my Painting Trip that will take in Amsterdam, Paris and Provence.

So you could say I am only just warming up! I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like to be there in person painting beside the canals in Amsterdam, the sights of Paris and then the Lavender Fields of Provence. Heaven for an artist!


Painting a Cafe Scene

When painting urbanscapes there are certain elements you need to be aware of and keep in mind as you work through the painting.

Of course, these elements are relevant in most paintings but here are the most crucial elements to consider particularly when attempting to paint a café scene.


5 Points to Painting a Café Scene

  1. Identify perspective of buildings using directional lines. Note how these lines have a vanishing point by placing a ruler onto your image.


  1. I loosely follow these lines when drawing up. Draw up in a minimalist way. Let the paint do the work. Note how sections of the image i.e. windows and doors of buildings appear larger in the foreground but smaller in the distance.


  1. Note the light side of the image, and also the warm and cool side of the reference image, and follow this when painting.


  1. Paint in light tones first then add darker warm or cool tones to create form. Paint the shadows, not the object.


  1. Choosing good reference photos are essential to a good painting. I take many photos and carefully cull until I find the right one with good composition and the correct light against shadows. When taking photos I have these in mind, taking photos with the painting in mind.


I’m very happy with how this painting turned out. It really does sum up the feeling I was hoping to portray and stirring up my excitement of painting scenes like this in real life. I can’t wait!

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