City Girl

Do you prefer the hustle and bustle of a busy city or are you more of a country dweller?

While I love the fresh air of the country, I’ve always chosen to live in the heart of downtown. I never have to worry about parking, or commuting, or city traffic since I can walk or bike just about anywhere I need to go.

Progression of the painting
Progression of the painting

I end up living in teeny tiny places for ridiculous amounts of money, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. At this point in my life, I value location above all else. Maybe one day, if/when I have kids/pets I’ll make my way into suburbia or the country, but for now, no way! I’m lucky in that the city I live in (Ottawa, ON) also has a giant park nearby (Gatineau Park) which has extensive biking and hiking trails, beaches, as well as downhill and cross-country skiing trails so if I ever want to get away from the downtown hustle and bustle, I just hop on my bike.

Except when it rains or snows. Then I tend to hibernate, but that would happen if I lived in the country too.

12x12" - Acrylic on Canvas
City Girl – 12×12″ – Acrylic on Canvas

This painting is a portrayal of the reflecting city lights on a rainy night in the heart of downtown. As miserable as it may feel being stuck out in the rain at night, there is something so beautiful about the way the light reflects off the rain. Have you ever tried capturing such a moment with a camera? I’ve never been successful with it, so attempted it with this painting.

Zoomed in View
Zoomed in View

Interestingly, this painting made me realize how much I miss using oil paints. Since I live in a tiny downtown apartment, oil paints just aren’t feasible for me. I work on too many paintings at once to have room for them to lay out and dry (which can take weeks to months!), and there’s the issue of toxicity of the paint. The acrylic paint dries so fast that I had a very tough time blending the background in the way that I wanted to.


So maybe one day when I move out into the burbs and have a painting studio with proper ventilation, I’ll reattempt this painting with oil paint. Isn’t it ironic that I need to escape city living to properly portray it in a painting?


My original intent with this painting was to do a time-lapse video of the painting process of it. I have about 45 minutes of footage that I was hoping to make into a 2-3 minute video, however I’m terrible with technology so that didn’t happen.

Some issues I experienced:
– Movie Maker won’t work on my PC for whatever reason (after downloading it from Microsoft)
– the file size of each video is too large to edit in an online video editor

If any of you lovely folks out there have any recommendations how to fix theses issues, I’d LOVE to hear from you 🙂

Like this painting City Girl? It is now SOLD, but check out my other original paintings available in my online store here.

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10 thoughts on “City Girl

  • August 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

    With regard to acrylics drying out quickly have you tried the wet palette method ?

    Its something I did this summer when my acrylics were drying out faster than I could paint my models – I know something different to painting a picture but might be a source of something that might help. I also note that as some of my models are made from a very ‘thirsty’ resin which might be similar to artists card/paper there might be some more options.

    Also try Colour Mix – I have the product made by Revel a model manufacturer which can be picked up in model railway stores etc. This is designed to water down acrylics without using water..can smell a bit…but is very good. there are probably similar products by other manufacturers.


    Nice painting by the way.

    …a country dweller, when not in the Lost City of Carcosa.

    • August 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Thanks for the tip! I had never heard of that method before, but I will definitely try it, especially now in the summer months when the paint dries in what feels like seconds. I’m also curious to give some of those mediums a try.

  • August 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Great painting! A time lapse would be wonderful, sorry I can’t help you with the tech aspects. Have you tried to reduce the file size? Have you checked that your operating system is up to date including drivers?

    • August 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks John,
      I don’t know how to reduce the file size although I’m sure there’s a way… I’ll have to do a little Google search when I get a moment.
      And I did update everything and made sure I downloaded the correct version for my operating system so I am completely stumped with why that didn’t work.
      I’m sure I’ll eventually figure it out, and I plan on borrowing my dads tripod this weekend so can actually make a video that isn’t an eye sore…

  • August 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I left the city about 7 years ago and moved to a country town 4 hours west of Sydney (Australia). I couldn’t return to city life but there are some things I miss.

    If I hadn’t made the move my interest in painting would never have developed.

    You captured the mood of a wet city evening/night very well in a way that could never be caught in a photograph.

    I love the light reflection in the lower right, and the image of the girl seems to convey much more detail than is actually there in paint.
    Wonderful painting!

    In Australia we have a brand of acrylic paint, “atelier interactive” that allows a longer time for potential blending.

    • August 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks for your comment Tim. Sounds like moving out into the country was the right move for you 🙂

      I actually lived in Melbourne back in 2007 and absolutely loved it there. One of my favorite paintings is one that I did (with oils) of Lake Mackenzie on Fraser Island. Such a beautiful place!

      I picked up some “acrylic retarder” today that promises to extend the drying time of acrylic paint so I’m going to give that a try soon and hopefully it’s similar to the “atelier interactive” paint.

  • August 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I very much like your paintings. Have you tried water soluble oils? These wash up with soap and warm water but otherwise have all the characteristics of oils. I’ve been having fun with them.

    • August 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      No I have not but they sound great! How long do they typically take to dry?

      • August 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

        To fully dry it’s a week or two. They remain wet for a few days and then get a bit tacky which lasts until they really begin to dry. I’ve been using some different mediums made specifically for water soluble oils and they can either extend the drying time or shorten it…just like real oils.

  • August 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    I love how well you have captured the mood in this one Agata! I also really like the abstract lighting elements as well.


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