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A Work in Progress

Maybe you'd like to watch one of my drawings as it evolves.

I've always loved two neo-classical bank buildings in my neighborhood--at Fourteenth Street and Eighth Avenue. Last month I decided to draw them.

I started with this one, The New York County National Bank Building, once Manufacturers' Hanover Trust Company, built 1906 to 1907. It's not a bank anymore; for a while it was a spa for men, now it's the Museum of Illusion.

a classic bank building, the Museum of Illusion

Here's my first draft. I originally wanted it to look pretty much like the original--with beige stones.

Work in Progress, Bank building

Then I pulled this elephant out of my files where's he's been for years--I never knew what to do with him, but I like the way he looks here.

Work in Progress, Bank building, Elephant added

In the third stage, I started to add color. I love the combination of turquoise and coral, but this turns out to be more red and blue and it looks more circus-y than I intended.

Work in Progress, Bank building,Elephant and color added

I forgot to photograph a few stages so there's a big difference now. Disaster struck when I spilled scarlet ink, luckily mostly on the stones, so I blotted up as much as I could and then did a pale orange wash to blend in the mistake. So the stones are darker than I intended. Also, I smudged some Daler-Rowney Indian Yellow inside the arch. It's one of my favorite inks, but it takes a long time to dry. I'm always eager to erase my pencil lines and this time I paid for my impatience.

Work in Progress, Bank building, elephant and color added, almost finished

I covered up the smudge. just a few more lines and I'm almost done.

Work in Progress, Bank building, elephant and color added, almost finished, close-up

Now I've done the interior wall. I still don't know what to put in the doorway--blue sky, like it's the back door? Another elephant? I may have to leave it until I get an idea.

Work in Progress, Bank building, elephant and color added, almost finished

I thought I'd finish this today but I'm afraid that won't happen. I don't know what to put in that interior white spot, but it needs to be darker so it doesn't compete with the elephant's tusks. I don't know what color to make the door frame, and I need to put a lot more little dark blue dots in the background.

Across the street, 8th avenue and 14th Street, NYC

Here's my next project. This lovely building, across Fourteenth Street, was a bank, then it was a Balducci's grocery store, now it's a CVS. New York is like what they say about Vermont weather; "If you don't like it, wait a minute and it'll change."

One more!

Three graceful trees, pen & Ink

I did this a few years ago--the trees on my block are so pretty in the winter--they remind me of calligraphy. But the picture's a little dull so I put it away. This fall I've been in love with the yellow leaves, especially in the playground at Bleecker Street where there's one with no leaves in front of one in all its glory--I should look them up and learn the names--but I thought of this drawing and decided to fill the background with golden leaves--the ground too. As I said, I'll keep you posted.

Do you feel like you've watched sausage being made?

November 17, 2020

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