From Russia With Love

Friday, June 27, 2014
Last week I was feeling a little stir crazy so I decided to book myself a staycation by participating in this month's Virtual Paintout.

The Virtual Paintout is a blog created by artist, Bill Guffey, who in 2008 began traveling virtually through New York City using Google's Street View to find scenes and locations to paint. After his initial painting, he began looking for more Street View locations to paint and contacted Google to make sure it was okay to reference the Street Views in his work. Once he got the green light from Google, Guffy founded The Virtual Paintout blog in 2009 as a way for artists to get together virtually and create art from the same location. The paintout started from humble beginnings with just 6 participants initially, but has grown to average 100 artists per month. Each month highlights a new location around the world and in June 2014 The Virtual Paintout explored Vladivostok, Russia and the Primorsky Krai region.   

I've never been to Vladivostok or Russia before, so to begin my sketch I started exploring the streets of Vladivostok with Google's Street View. I was surprised to see that much of Vladivostok reminded me of the US and Europe: there were cafes, graffiti, billboards, and modern looking buildings. I think Google must have filmed their images around the time that the Olympic Games were taking place in Russia because I noticed an Olympic stadium and there appeared to be a carnival nearby with a Ferris wheel and food vendors nearby. Perhaps the weirdest things that I stumbled upon was a sculpture of Lenin and the Russian script in general (my Western eyes cannot begin to comprehend how read it). 

After a few hours of searching, I finally found my Street View inspiration. Here is my first ever contribution to the virtual paintout and the street view that inspired it:

'Wise Guys'
watercolor and watercolor pencil in a 6 x 6 in. sketchbook

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