I am constructing a "Coffee Shop" out of foam core board since I couldn't find a building suitable for this painting.

I am building it to a scale that works with the props I bought for this painting. I also wanted the people in my painting to be a certain size, so I envisioned the size I needed for the people riding in the coffee cups and made the building to that scale.

As you can see, I've purchased a commercial coffee warmer, serving pot, a vintage "Maxwell House" coffee can and some various other items. I have drawn out the sidewalk, and the street, complete with crosswalks, parking meters and stop sign.

Tomorrow, if the sun comes out (it is supposed to rain), I will carry this setup outside and photograph it with the best possible lighting. Then, I will pose models to fit the areas of the painting where they will be, photograph them and then draw all of the elements into place onto the canvas.

Well, the sun came out this morning and I succeeded in getting some good photos of the 'setup'.

Here's a close up of the neon sign. Notice the 'matching' menu.

I'll probably color coordinate the napkin holder and the syrup container in the painting. The lines drawn on the paper are going to be the crosswalk.

Well, the coffee's ready. Now I need to stretch a canvas for this painting. It will be 40" x 50" and will be a very fine linen canvas, stretched on heavy duty stretcher bars. Photos to come...

Here's a close-up of the canvas with some of the image sketched onto it in pencil. I have cut out a figure and placed it in the coffee cup to get an idea what I want for the human element in the painting.

The outline drawing on the canvas is simple. The detail will be put in with the oil paint.

Here is a view of the entire canvas. I have begun to 'block in' the image with a thin layer of paint.

I've blocked in more of the building and the objects on the roof.

Here is a close up. You can see the thin quality of the paint application, as I am thinning the oil with turpentine for these initial passages. I have been waiting days for the sun to come out to photograph my models for the painting. The foggy mornings have been turning into overcast afternoons. The sun is good from about 11 am to 1:30 pm for the proper angle of light. I have my fingers crossed for today although it is very foggy right now.

Here's Carol, my least expensive model and wife (also the only one available when the sun popped out for a few minutes today) posing for one of the 'coffee cup riders'.

And here's yours truly, sporting quite the ensemble (the Ugg boots with a shirt, tie and jacket will surely be this year's fashion craze), posing as the main character in this oil painting.

The sun is out today, and Laurie, one of our best friends and neighbor, poses for the coffee cup on the far left of the painting.

Here's Carol again. I needed an optional style of dress for the rider in the coffee cup to the far right.

I've blocked in the street, the cafe walls, and started the other objects on the counter top.

Here's Carol again with a 'pill box' style hat (made from paper). I will go with this style for the painting.

I've blocked in the coffee shop windows and entry and finished the rest of the coffee pot on the left as well as the 'Bunn' warmer it is sitting on. Remember, this is just the 'blocking in' stage. As soon as I complete this 'thin wash' passage on every part of the canvas, I will then make the final decisions on hue and value, and then apply a 'thick' layer of oil over the entire canvas. The second layer will take nearly a month to apply.

Here is the painting fully 'blocked in'. There will be some significant color changes and also some big swings in values (darkness/light) on the back wall and street as I apply the final layer of paint to all areas of the canvas.

I've begun to apply the 'heavier' final layer of paint. I've finished the street, crosswalks, sidewalks and most of the front of the building.

Here's a close-up detail of the neon sign.

Here's a detail of the store front. The awning and the windows are finished, giving a good strong backdrop to make the main figure 'pop' out.

A detail of the finished coffee can.

Here is a detail of a completely finished area.

The only areas left to paint are the four people. If you look closely, you can see that the surrounding areas and the coffee cup are finished with a 'heavier' layer of paint, where the man with the newspaper is still in his initial turpentine and oil wash. I will photograph this same detail when I am done so you can compare the two.

Man with newspaper is done!