It goes without saying that a late night drive in the fog has an otherworldly, ethereal atmosphere. If you've watched enough horror movies it may seem as though a shambling figure might burst through the shifting mists, arms outstretched, clothed in shredded garments from the grave. Add an empty carnival in a parking lot and you begin to feel a little post-apocalyptic.
This isn't a tutorial but I wanted to show how experiences and viewing other works of art can act as inspiration, over time, as I started a foggy painting back on that night over a year ago but I never filled it in until recently.
"Carnival in the Fog" is available as a 9 x 12 original acrylic painting on Etsy
or by request as a print
There is something unspeakably haunting about an empty carnival at night. Countless horror films, and a few video games (I'm thinking of Silent Hill 3, since I haven't played any new games in the last 10 years) use this as a stage for creeping, lurking characters and creatures to stagger and slink from out of the fog.
In other words, it all puts me in the mood of a film like 1962's "Carnival of Souls," which speaks to this same surreal, nightmarish mindset, and captures a solitary, drifting journey through the horrific wonders of the abandoned pavilion.
Sometimes a shadowy figure merely lurks in the doorway or at the edge of vision, and you can't be sure if it is friend, foe or a reflection.
I think I had my carousel in the fog looking at me for months as I wondered what to place around it. I thought about the photographs of abandoned amusement parks around the world, that I've come across online over the years, such as this one in Pripyat, Ukraine, that has been well-documented:
Photo from Wikipedia, public domain
While images of shattered carousel horses, grimacing clown faces, broken bumper cars and forgotten snack stands, festooned with popcorn garlands and tiny colorful flags and lights, were all appealing features to consider, at the end I just wanted a few balloons, and a couple of ambiguous figures. Like the shadows I see outside at night, moving around in the March fog, they could simply be fellow wanderers, or perhaps they are something much worse.
I hope your own experiences and viewing habits help to inform your personal expression and creativity, as we look around and within for inspiration in all manner of places, but strange and familiar.