‘Lives lived here’ – progression of a painting

Last weekend we wandered the quiet winter streets  of Porto stealing photographs of street art, old doors, old windows, strings of washing, lived in windows with decorative lace curtains and watched as birds circled in the sky above us.

This post shows the progression of my current work in progress, a large canvas depicting an old door and integrating motifs based on memories of the city. I’m calling the painting ‘Lives lived here’ as so much of this city has buildings that are unoccupied but which speak of their history in subtle ways.


First layer with outline composition painted onto wet canvas                                                                                                                  ©Mary Price 2016


Second layer introduces dark tones and a variety of marks scratched into the surface with sharp bamboo skewers                   ©Mary Price 2016


Third layer and more colours added and elements and motifs to bring meaning into the work are added, symbols, arrows, birds and the washing line strings ©Mary Price 2016


Memories of the street art by Hazul Luzah are introduced into the bottom right corner in the figurative form and the diamond shapes that appear on many of his works; the words ‘lives lived here’ are etched into white paint reinforcing the history of people who inhabited the crumbling buildings that abound in this wonderful city. A lace curtain with a finely stitched bird is a stolen image from a window on the waterfront. I signed the painting thinking it finished but I think I was a little premature. There is more to do. ©Mary Price 2016


The street art image becomes more defined looking like a huddled ghost whilst the swifts are brought into sharper focus against pale backgrounds. Maybe the figure gives a sense of the past lives lived, a symbol guarding memory. Notice the padlock and chain on the door sealing in the memories. I have since added a heart to the padlock – it may remain or it may be taken away! ©Mary Price 2016


4 thoughts on “‘Lives lived here’ – progression of a painting

  1. Dear Mary, wonderful to see your Work in progress here – I found your sweet comment on my blog (thank you so much for the encouragement!) and went on to visit your place. Even though you have your very own wonderful style, I immediately thought we must be fellow Flora Bowley students and indeed! Read also your wonderful post about getting her e-course from your loved ones, wow! (I took a 3 day workshop with Flora on a retreat in UK back in 2011 😊😊). Wishing you much inspiration! Xx Lise

  2. I absolutely love your layering of memories, symbols, textures and shapes. Thank you for sharing your progression – it’s a privilege to see the expression of your internal process.

  3. Dear Mary. Firstly thanks for finding me on Instagram. …..because I’ve now found you. Absolutely love your work and look forward to following you. Very good luck with your sales and look forward to seeing your shop emerge. My inspiration comes from a similar place, travel but is a very different style.
    Thanks again
    Carrie Swinburne. Floramorauk_art Instagram.

    • Thankyou Carrie. I found you under the bloomtrue hashtag I think! I like looking at art on instagram and always follow people who do interesting work. Thanks for following the blog – I will be adding a post when I finally get round to opening a print and small originals shop. 💜 Mary

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