New York City during better days

City views, web by frankeber 2012     City views, detail web, by frankeber 2012

My heart goes out to the people of  this amazing city and the hardship they have to go through right now on the East coast. Let’s hope it’ll all be part of the past soon and people can continue with their lives.

Being just an artist, I sometimes feel I am not contributing enough to society like, say, a fire fighter or a police officer. On the other hand, I can paint the beautiful and exciting things that life holds for all of us and make people aware of them, maybe even make them feel better when they look at a painting. Quite a lofty goal, but really the only thing I can try doing, even in light of disaster.

One of my favorite sights in NY is the Chrysler building. I just love the shape of it! It is not the first time I have painted this scene, but I never get sick of painting  it. Every time you go there, it’ll look different, yielding a new version of the same subject matter.

One of the most important things to remember when painting scenes like this, is the fact that we’re really painting a street scene, *not* the Chrysler building as a focal point. The activities on the street are what attracts the eye, the building are just a backdrop. A pretty one, but still, in the end it’s all background noise.
Another important aspect is the fact that in representational painting, at least 60 percent is actually abstract painting! Maybe even more than that! I put the detail view there for that reason. If you look closely, there’s lots of nondescript, nonsensical squiggly lines and such, only making sense once we move back far enough. The secret is to let the eyes do the work,  piecing the scene together, so to speak. Not a big secret, really, but one that’s often overlooked.

Watercolor paintings always look better when painted spontaneous, loose and with no more that three layered washes. If a mistake happens while painting, it is always better to leave it wrong than to correct it. 90 percent of the time, no one will even notice that you made a ‘mistake’. The earlier you let go of that notion, the earlier you’ll paint freely and unencumbered, not caring about the outcome and ironically produce much better work!

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8 thoughts on “New York City during better days

  1. Debbie Lewis

    Frank! You are not “just” an artist…. an artist is responsible for creating tomorrow’s future. Because you can imagine and create, you make
    images that uplift people’s spirits and give them new ideals to strive for. All major advances in our civilization were first dreamed by artists! Splurge on it!

    1. frankeber Post author

      Debbie, great comment. Something all artists need to hear from time to time. I like how you said that and you’re right. I should splurge on it!
      Thank you for your visit!!

  2. Melissa

    Also, Frank, think about what “legacy” means. Consider that if you had painted New Orleans pre-Katrina (or Atlantic City pre-Sandy), those pictures would now represent the memory of what it looked like then and resembles no longer. It’s a powerful gift to be a representational artist.

    1. frankeber Post author

      Good point, Melissa! Maybe we artists have more power than we think we do. Thank you for coming to this blog and leaving a wonderful comment!

    1. frankeber Post author

      haha, well – *it is* still warm here, we don’t really get winter which has its advantages, but also disadvantages. Thanks, Tomas!

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