Monday, April 4, 2011

The city at night

Manhattan Evening 6x6 oil, copyright 2011

I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone on this one.  Cityscapes are rare for me and looking back, I don't think I've ever done a night painting.  Just for fun, I went into this one not thinking about having a nice finished piece, but trying to capture the mood, the idea of the city at night.  Getting each and every window would have been difficult on such a small scale and I don't have the patience for such things anyway so keeping it loose seemed the only way to go.

In trying to work it out, I looked a couple of other artists to see how they tackle such things.  One of them, Karen Jurick, also rarely paints cityscapes, but does often work quite small.  I like her take on Lower Manhattan.  Another artist I looked at is David Cheifetz, who often does paint cityscapes.  I love his combination of loose and traditional, and when you sign up for his newsletter, you get to see his works in progress.

The hardest part about this one was photographing it.  The strong contrasts did all sorts of funky things in the camera, as did the very visible brushstrokes - it looks too yellow and not purple enough on my monitor.  One of these days I will get or make myself a light box which should help immensely.


  1. This really is quite different. I cannot understand how you can paint so small, my sketchbook is larger ;) and get such amazing results. Well done!

  2. My sketchbook is bigger too, Sue! Actually, I've come to depend much more heavily on my sketchbook when I do these little ones. I have found that working out the composition before hand with a series of sketches helps a lot. And since I've been working mostly from reference photos, I can crop them to size and enlarge. I'm discovering that the trick is to simplify - the small scale forces me to get it down to the basics.