Midday city bustle

Midday city bustle, 2011 by frankeber

Midday city bustle, 2011 ::: Watercolor on paper
Posted in the New York, USA gallery

This painting has caused quite a stir in the family, so to speak. My wife thinks it looks “photorealistic” which is, of course, the ultimate insult!

And here I was thinking I got the intense light just right and thought the figures on the left are loosely done and have just enough information to tell the story. Far from realistic. I think I know what she means, though. The car on the right may be a bit overworked.

There’s a taxi cab in this one as well, but it came out a little puny. Definitely not a Crown Victoria, this one… what can you do? 🙂

Midday city bustle detail, 2011 by frankeber

The palette for this painting was incredibly simple, just grays mixed from yellow ochre, cobalt blue, permanent rose, or, ultra blue and burnt sienna, respectively. In my opinion, it always comes down to primaries. If you think about the gray mixes, they are basically red, blue and yellow. The secret is not what kind of fancy color you use, but HOW you use it. Maybe I am old school? (yikes)

The line in the middle was done by lifting paint while still wet using  a stiff paintbrush.

That reminds me of a quote by the legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong: “It’s not about the bike.”

The man is so right!


10 thoughts on “Midday city bustle

    1. frankeber Post author

      thanks, Mimi – that’s good to hear as I am trying to get away from the realistic work! I always strive to preserve the white of the paper for highlights, whenever possible. thanks for your visit!

  1. lesliepaints

    On the contrary. I like this scene. I like the vertical format emulating the height of the people in the foreground. The red car on the right serves to catch my eye and draw me in…….and I go wow! there’s that yellow taxi chasing down the figures in the foreground searching for a rider. I love the light “pinging” of the tops of the vehicles and it is so tantalizing to try and figure out the people in the foreground with all the light pinging off their heads as well. The American flag is a wonderful addition to this scene, locating it for us as well as balncing the red car. I love it that you have included that bus and that truck shape with the deep dark window. I, actually, would be drawn to this scene if I saw it in a show. I have never seen a photo look like this……

    1. frankeber Post author

      Cool, Leslie! Thank you so much, you have certainly analyzed this piece and you are spot on! That red car has to be there for balance. My favorite is the bus, I don’t know why, maybe because it just came out well without putting much effort into it. Like one of my teachers always says, ‘if you can do it with one brushstroke or less, you should!’ hahaha
      I don’t think it’s photo realistic either…

    1. frankeber Post author

      No I had a photo of this one, although it looked quite different, David. Going to New York and painting in those streets is something I’d like to do in the near future
      Thanks for your visit and comment!

  2. Carol King

    I don’t want to get in the middle of you and your wife, but I must disagree with her. Another fabulous city scene!

    You have really managed to capture NYC. Do you work from photos? Your imagination?

    Since Leslie so carefully commented on the details of your painting and since I agree with what she said, I won’t repeat it. I will only tell you the following. The taxi looks right. There are no more crown vics in the taxi fleet anymore.

    And the cars should be just a little closer, as if they were going to run you down. (Which they probably would if you didn’t move fast enough.) 🙂

    1. frankeber Post author

      Hahaha, you’re so funny, Carol. Probably right, too…when I was in NYC last, I constantly had fear of being run over by taxi drivers. Somehow the rules of the road don’t apply to them! Thanks for your visit and comment, I appreciate you’re coming to my blog!
      To answer your question: I do work from photos, some are my own, others I get from free image sites like morguefile, or I just find some on the web and chance things around and make them my own. I wish I could go to NYC this year and do some on-site painting in the streets, just quick sketches..

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