Midtown Manhattan

I was in New York the week before last for a conference.  It was a short and busy trip, but on my way to lunch, I walked by my favorite building in the city, the GE Building in Rockefeller Center.  I didn’t take any photos of the GE Building this time, but I used my Blackberry to snap a few pictures of some nearby sites.

I used a photo of St. Patrick’s Cathedral as a guide for the sketch below.  I am intimidated by fine detail, so I decided to draw this one quickly, focusing on the basic shapes and values (light and dark areas) of the Cathedral.  I added a touch of color for the sky and for where the trees entered my frame.  I sketched this one on the plane ride home.

I also took a photo of the statue of Atlas, facing Fifth Avenue.  When I got home, I saw that my photo did not turn out well.  Instead, I used an image from Google Images as the basis for the sketch below, so I can’t take credit for the composition.  I have continued playing with the markers that I used in the Joplin sketches in my previous post, and I like how this one turned out.

Rule #1 of the Urban Sketchers manifesto is, “We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.”  With a young family and a full-time job, I don’t have much time to draw on location, so I don’t follow the USK manifesto.  I just enjoy sketching and drawing.  But I appreciate the other rules, particularly, “Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel,” and, “We show the world, one drawing at a time.”  You can see the rest of the manifesto and a description of Urban Sketchers here.  It’s a great blog – check it out.

4 responses to “Midtown Manhattan

  1. HahI I have to admit, I’m with you on that photography comment! If I can hijack your blog to rant for a second 🙂 I think it’s very strange that so much of the drawing and painting community spends so much time and energy being against the use of photographs in art. It’s very strange. Sure, any artist who invests more than a little time will tell you, photographs are a poor replacement for reality. Lack of true color, lack of the ability to change viewpoints. All sorts of shortcomings. But if an artist can use a tool to make good work they enjoy, what is the problem with that? If you’re skilled enough to use a photo right, why should another artists opinion stop you? Is it because photos make some aspects faster/easier? A sable brush holds more water and has a better point than a less expensive synthetic. Does that make it morally wrong to use the better tool? Photography is great at documenting detail quickly. The web is awesome at getting us images of places we can’t physically go. Why pretend the option isn’t there. I’ll never understand it.

    • Thanks for your comments, Marc. I appreciate that I am missing something by not painting / drawing plein air, but I intend to do so when I have the time. In the meantime, I find it helps to create from photos. As you said, I use the tools at my disposal to practice and improve. But I look forward to getting out there and dealing with the changing conditions, multiple perspectives, and stares from strangers. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I look forward to following yours. Cheers!

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