Contact me at:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More buildings of Rochester "Powers" Bldg

     So - going with a theme I now explain one of the most popular buildings in Rochester, the Powers bldg.  It is at the corner of State and Main.  And it was built in fits and starts.  What does that mean?  Well, the owner first had it built up to 4 floors.  Then, one of his rivals built a building across the street from him that was taller.  So, what does he do?  He hires a new architect and adds 3 more floors.  S, his rival made his taller. So, he added the tower - then more to it then the flag pole and with that he won.  Because it was built this way the styles from floor to floor changed and made for a strange mash but one beautiful bldg.
     I decided to go with the look of an old photo with this pen and ink above.  and gain I followed the same formula that has worked for me so well.  First, I took my own photo.
     This gave me the dramatic angle I needed.  Looking at this photo I may redo the pen and ink to also be in color.  When I do I will post it here.  Next I went online to find images to get the details I needed.  I didn't have to look far for this one.  It is a popular bldg and there were many images of it.  In the end I used this one below to get the details.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Anatomy of a building portrait

      As a follow up I wanted to talk about the process I use to create a portrait of a building.  This is the "Academy."  It was the first "Brick and Mortar" school in Rochester.  It did have other smaller buildings before this one.  The building you see above was built in 1873.  When I moved into town I was despondent to see its roof in disrepair and looking vacant.  I loved the gothic look to it.
     Last year I noticed that it was being fixed up.  I made a point of spending a day walking around and sketching bits and pieces.  I made friends with the Chef of the Cafe inside and as a result I met the building owner.  As a member of the Landmark Society I was pleased to see it featured as a model for remodeling and restoration.  This year when asked to offer a piece of work for the annual Gala I decided to do a watercolor painting of this building.  The Gala this year is called "The Art of Preservation" and will be held tomorrow at the Memorial Art Gallery.  So - for the first time in my life I will have a piece of my work on display in an Art Museum(at least for one day - lol). 
     For most building portraits I start with a photo that I have taken to get the dramatic angle that I want.  This gives me the basic layout for my painting or print.  Then, as with all these buildings built so long ago I go online and do some research to find images taken of the same building when it was new(if they exist).  This gives me the details that have changed or taken off.

     From these I gather as much of the details that I can.  Most buildings in New York that were built during the turn of the century have smoke stacks and as soon as they start renovating that is the first thing to go(state regulations).  The cast iron fencing on the roof line had to be added back in.  Here I had to make an educated guess.  And finally I chose to move the flag pole back to the top. 
     In the photo that I took there are trees and as you can see from the older ones there were none.  I did leave one in the painting to set an edge or frame the shot but the others I had to come up with something to block the view as it is in my photo.  So I went back to the archive photos from Rochester and chose the delivery wagon you see in the painting.  It was of a local store and as you can see in the older photo above they were using horse drawn wagons. 
     I started with a pencil sketch of the entire portrait, making sure all the details were drawn in. Then I painted in the base color without erasing the pencil drawing then I went over the entire piece with a pen to go over the pencil drawing.  After that I erased the pencil lines, touched up the color and went over the entire piece with a pencil to finish up the shadows and blend out any blemishes.

     In the end I finished up with a dramatic Image of one of Rochester's unique gems as seen during the pinnacle of our city's history


Friday, November 21, 2014

     So - I have been out of touch here for a few months.  My family has taken a big hit these past few months.  A cousin in law Brett(my age) had a stroke, brother in law Walt(my age) died, cousin George(my age) died then an Aunt and Uncle also died.  After my Uncles' passing my mom said out loud "Basta" or "Enough".  We've mourned plenty I know them all well and know that they would say move on, live your life.  So with that said I dive into my work.
     I will be doing a review of a lot of the landmarks in Rochester, since I love the old buildings around here.  I begin with this guy above.  It was originally built to be a clothing store for the National Clothing Company whose manufacturing was done here too.  I don't have the details as to when it was built but figure it was late 1800s' to early 1900s' just because of the detail included on it.  I did my best to represent most of the small details and I know I have missed a lot since some is inside. Thank God they are preserving that too.  It was for a while a bank then for years it sat vacant.  This past year I have watched as they have been gutting it and remodeling it into the Hilton Garden Inn.
     It has been attached to the Hilton Hotel ever since the hotel was built but they bought the property and are making some fancy suites out of it.  Another example of the SLOWLY reviving downtown here in Rochester.  I fretted for a little bit as I watched them demolish an adjacent building then the old smoke stack.  But, they seem to be sticking close to the original, beautiful detail that give this site its character.  I can't wait to see the inside once they finished.