Night view looking southeast of Midtown Manhattan from the top of Times Square’s Marriott Marquis Hotel, in the Summer of 1987. The 45-story Interchem Building (Emery Roth & Sons, 1969) are at left, and the 40-story New York Telephone Building (Kahn & Jacobs, 1974) with the 102-story Empire State Building (Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, 1931) are visible at center.
Source: Michael George “New York Today” (New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1988)
Construction of the 59-story Pan Am Building (Walter Gropius-Emery Roth & Sons-Pietro Belluschi, 1963), atop Grand Central Terminal. View looking north from Lincoln Building, in Spring, 1962, with the 52-story Union Carbide Building (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1960) at background, at left.
Source: Marc Saporta, Georges Soria. “Los Dos Colosos. Enciclopedia Comparada USA-URSS” Vol. 1. (Barcelona, España, Argos, 1969).
I wanted to share some work in progress shots from one of my paintings (sorry for terrible cell phone quality). This is ‘View from the High Line - 26th Street’, completed late last year.
The painting is based on photos I took from the High Line park, which is a repurposed elevated railroad track that runs through parts of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea on the west side of Manhattan. I love the High Line because it is covered in lots of interesting plants, but the views are pretty great as well. From this vantage point, you can see the Hudson River and Jersey City at the end of the street in the far distance. The large building at the end of the street with the horizontal bands of windows is the Starrett-Lehigh Building. Built 1930-31, it is an interesting early example of International-Style Modern architecture in an industrial building. This was historically a very industrial area, but it is now the heart of the Chelsea gallery district. The buildings on the left and right foreground, along with most of this block, are home to several high-end galleries.
For the painting, I worked on Arches Hot Press 300lb watercolor paper. The size of the art is roughly
18 x 26 inches. I start with a detailed perspective drawing of the entire scene in pencil. As you can see from the progress photos, I worked from left to right, nearly finishing each section of the painting as I go - but always going back and polishing previous sections as needed. This strategy of moving across the painting helps me keep track of how much progress I have made, but i do not focus in on each little section and mechanically copy inch by inch from the photo. As with all watercolor, the painting generally starts light and the darkest colors and finest details are added last by necessity. I use a mix of watercolor tubes, most of which are Winsor Newton brand. I didn’t use any gouache or opaque white. I usually use a small amount of masking fluid and masking tape but I don’t think I needed much for this painting.
From start of the drawing to finish, this painting took about one month to complete - working on average a few hours a day.
I approach the overall process of a painting like this as if it were a traditional landscape painting. I am most concerned with balancing lights and darks, color vibrancy, warm/cool, etc. throughout the whole painting so that the final product is harmonious and compostionally pleasing. Balance was incredibly important in a composition like this one, which is so dramatically split down the middle.
Sorry for rambling on, hopefully someone finds this interesting!
Night view looking east of Midtown Manhattan skyline from Weehawken, New Jersey. Christmas, 1968. Avenue of the Americas skyscrapers and Rockefeller Center are visibles at left. Pan Am and Chrysler Building are at center, and the Empire State Building are at right, dominating the glittering skyline.
Source: Thomas Page. “New York”. Genéve. Minerva, 1976.