Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A study and a studio piece

Davis Gallery opens its Winter Group Show "Looking Out, Looking In" this Saturday night, Dec 7. I'll have six works from my New York series in it, and I thought I'd share one of my favorites and the plein air piece that was its genesis.

Even after painting in the city for six weeks, this view to the south of SoHo was pretty complicated for me. So many buildings, and layers of them! I never grew tired of the juxtaposition of the old look of the water towers backed by slick, modern skyscrapers. Atmospheric perspective lessons were rampant. Layers of buildings were in warmer, red and brown tones, at the next layers were grays and purples, and the furthest buildings on hazy days would be blues. Finding accurate hues to describe the light and shadow sides of the buildings within each layer (value range) was both challenging and fun.

plein air study, 8 x 10

As far as adjustments I made from the plein air to studio version, in the plein air piece above, I didn't think I accurately captured the intensity of the green in the plants on the rooftop in the foreground, so I made that adjustment in the larger studio version. I also wanted some of the water towers in the middle ground to be a little more defined, so I made adjustments to raise the value those slightly, while slightly lowering the value of the buildings just beyond them to make the towers more prominent.

I moved the placement of the ladder on the tower in the front, making it more visible, and playing on the contrast between the small lines of the steel ladder and the massive steel One World Trade Center just beyond.

SoHo Rooftop No 31, South
studio piece, 12 x 16 in., oil on panel, $1375

Hopefully this has been of interest! I always find it compelling to see what changes an artist makes when making a studio piece from a plein air piece. The studio version, SoHo Rooftop No 31, South, is available at Davis Gallery here in Austin. Stop by if you're in town this weekend--the opening is from 7-9 pm (837 W 12th St.). The works will be up through January 11.

-julie davis

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