In Portugal, there are some unique things you take notice.  How the homes sparkle with hand-painted tiles, the abundance of lemon and orange trees, and the popularity of pastelerias, or bakeries in English.

But if you’re living in a small town such as Sao Joao Da Madeira, what is quite noticeable are the roundabouts.  Yes, the little circles that makes the cars go round and round.  There are more roundabouts in this town than any others in Portugal.  Because of the abundance of these man-made wonders, there are maybe one or two stoplights in the entire town.

My studio window faces one, and believe me it’s always action-packed.  There’s a poetry in motion of watching cars going around these circles.  Many cars don’t slow down.  They can’t go too fast though because of the pedestrian crosswalks.  Not by law, but by honor the drivers must stop whenever someone crosses the street.  It’s one of those things that just makes you go “I don’t ever see that in the USA”.

Which brings me to painting two different “Roundabouts” paintings.  Two different perspectives.  The centerpiece is the oval-size water fountain in the middle of the circle.  But I wanted to try different things with both works.  The sunlight on the streets, the shadows, the depths of the trees.  “12pm” was done a few days before “6pm”.  Rather than usually explaining, I would like for you to observe and see the difference and make your own conclusions with both paintings.  The only intentional plan I had in mind was to keep the brushstrokes simple in a complex composition.  I also saved the cars for last, as I wanted to add a little life to the roads.  If you ever get to Portugal, you’ll see what I mean.  What do you think?

 

Portugal Roundabout 6pm

Portugal Roundabout 12pm