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Tag Archives: Empire State Building

blackwhitecity

I posted this painting in an earlier post. It was a black and white sketch of an image that I wanted to eventually paint in color.

Since that time, we have discussed composition in our landscape class.  I realized I had not payed particular attention to where I had placed my center of interest which I wanted to be the Empire State building and the lit space that separated it from the other buildings that I took to be a street.

Knowing there are “sweet spots” located in each quadrant of my format I went back to the original reference photo and cropped it so as to place the Empire State building where I wanted it.

Image showing "sweet spots"

Image showing “sweet spots”

I divided my paper into three sections vertically and horizontally and circled where the lines crossed.  These areas are called “sweet spots” and are good places for a center of interest to be located in a painting.

The painting, in color, came out like this.

newyorktransition

There were other considerations that went into this final painting, as well. I chose the sweet spot that ran from the lower left quadrant because the rays from the sun seemed to lead to that area and  created a rather nice pathway for the eye to follow. I was also intrigued with the long pathway of artificial light running across the dark back drop of buildings that curved around and led to the street running next to the Empire State building. The strong diagonal lines in the water in the foreground led the eye to the city, also. Prior to having studied composition, I would just select pretty photo references I wanted to paint and paint them as they were. I really had little understanding of creating a pathway for the viewer’s eye.  This is but one element of composition to consider but has made quite a difference, for me. I always examine my reference material for the best placement of a center of interest.

Other considerations for this painting were a primary color scheme and accentuating contrast (to enhance depth).

My techniques were use of liquid frisket, color washes, and using the primary colors to render black through wet-in-wet applications.

This was painted on Lanaquerelle 140 lb rough watercolor paper.

Thank you to Wet Canvas reference library for the photo used as reference for this painting.

A New Year brought me a new adventure, already!

I read an article about the artist, Kathleen Conover,  in my February copy of Watercolor artist, February 2012. I was so taken with her work that I decided to try this “gesso juice” mixture she spoke of to surface her paper with. The recipe for “gesso juice” is 1/2 part white acrylic gesso, 1/4 part clear acrylic matte medium and 1/4 part water.  After mixing this up, I poured some on my taped down watercolor paper and spread it with a credit card, making slashes and dashes and all kinds of shapes on the surface.

I waited for the gesso juice to dry and painted in my initial washes. The surface is very much like painting on gesso. The paint does not sink down into the surface of the paper and mingles differently on this surface. It required more pigment to achieve the above effect.  I had to paint quickly so the side-by-side colors mixed without a hard edge. I waited for the above washes to dry and the surface go flat again.

I drew my composition on the surface and began painting the varied shapes in, being mindful of my values.  This was probably the most difficult phase for me. On this surface, I found, the darks had to be painted with strong dark colors as dark lights just appeared light still, unlike painting directly onrto watercolor paper. So, I learned a lot about my palette through this exercise. I, now, am getting a better feel for their properties.  Value is all important while painting on this surface.

I finished blocking in my composition of shapes and buildings.

In this step, I changed a few colors of the buildings and lifted paint in a lot of areas to show the different patterns, especially on or around the Empire State Building. I darkened a few of the darker value areas and put in a few details on the smokestacks and the antennae on the tops of a couple buildings. I lifted out a lot of the blue on the point of the Empire State so it would show up more.

   final painting

To finish, I splattered some darks I’d used and lifted lights out around the buildings by scumbling some water in those areas and dabbing with a paper towel.

I want to do more of these and explore and explore!