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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 13

One third of the way through this poster and now we are at the Public Market.  It has been at the same location now since 1905.  The outdoor pavillions are well over 50 years old but in great shape.  My wife and I go here often during the warm seasons. 

On the best days we get there very early in the morning to get some coffee, sit and relax at the cafe then hustle and bustle through the crowds.  Here I had to get down low to draw this - very uncomfortable but I liked the angle.  It is definately the place to go to get your flowers and plants and well as food.

In the background is the old indoor market that is busy all year round.  They just recently remodeled and expanded it so I will have to go and check it out this year.  I have also gone there just to draw and nothing more.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 12

Under the shadow of the Mercury Statue is the Aqueduct Park.  A sliver of green space just off Main st. on the west side of the Genesee river.  I had passed by it many times but never went in.  Too busy traveling to and fro.  However, one warm spring afternoon I had some time to kill so I wondered around the area taking it all in.

Plenty of different views presented themselves to me to be drawn but, a seagull caught my eye.  Or should I say he was eyeing me.  Obviously, they were used to people being there and being there with food.  I started talking to him and he let me get pretty close.  As I sidled up to him I noticed he was framed by the arch of the Main st. bridge.  So I took out my sketchpad and drew this.  I had to keep talking to him to keep his interest.  Which meant I got a great model for the drawing.

While I am drawn to the history of this city I am also an artist and when a image strikes my fancy for its beauty.  Whether it be a person, place or thing I will look for an opportunity to draw it.  Several of these drawings have nothing to do with a subject of importance.  Some are drawn just because the pattern or shape caught my eye.  Like this one. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 11

On that same visit to High Falls I drew this bridge.  Originally built in 1891 for horse and buggy crossing over the gorge the Platt st. Bridge continued till 1977 as a main traffic bridge for the city.  It was closed permanently to traffic at that point since the city decided to convert it to a pedestrian bridge. 

This is the bridge now, after the remodel.  A quite place to walk and sit and read or draw from.  And I have done it from there several times since this piece.  Even on a dark, rainy day it was a beautiful place.  In the distance is the Genesee building that I talked about yesterday.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Postcard Project Day 10

On one occasion I convinced my wife Juli to go with me downtown to check out High Falls.  The top end of the Genesee river before it plunged 3 times down to the level of Lake Ontario.  It is around this water falls that the city got its first major economic boost with many factories running off the flowing water.  It is this area that gave the city its' nick name "The Flour City" for its many flour mills that, at one point, provided the majority of the processed flour to Victorian England.  Between it and the Erie canal, that ran right through the city, Rochester became rich. 

Here is the only still working factory in the area.  The Genesee Brewing company.  This building was one of the oldest parts of the plant and was only yards away from the gorge of High Falls.  The day my wife and I walked around there it was raining.  It added to the feeling of that building.  It was majestically designed but, it was still part of a factory and actually no longer used from what I could tell.  So a bit run down and boarded up. 

A couple of years ago there was a big debate over what to do with it.  The company wanted to tear it down and other people wanted to renovate it as a combination museum and restaurant for the Brewery.  In the end it lost its fight and was torn down.  One small section of the wall was left standing and a new building was built to be the museum and restaurant.  I may still do a more formal piece of the building.  But, for now, here is the sketch I did of that day.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 9

Even the destroyed history of this city finds a place to thrive.  After a long day of trapesing all over the city to put in job applications I decided to walk around the Sibleys building.  I had seen this steeple from a distance and wanted to check it out.  As I got closer I saw that it was ONLY the steeple and nothing else.  It had been fenced off and turned into a garden.

As I walked around I saw some placards and from it learned that this had been Saint Josephs church and it had caught fire.  This steeple was all that remained standing.  But, instead of demolishing it, it was left standing.  Many years later the parishioners decided to turn it into a garden to honor the church.  From this view you can tell it was still early spring.  The beauty of what it had been is still apparent from what is left behind.  Even early on this city knew how important its' history was and did something to preserve it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 8

So I am a bit late with this one.  I was forced to re-digitize this one since I lost the last one somehow.  Anyway, Onward and upwards.  So this is the first one of the Warner Buildings I will be talking about.  The Powers Building.  This building would be considered the height of arrogance.  It was originally designed several stories smaller but, in a fit of vanity and pride two building owners kept wanting to one up the other and kept adding more floors to out do the other.  The winner was this building and it is a beut.

I had a bit a a hard time drawing all of those windows - yet - I just love this building and I took the time to re-draw it in a larger scale later.  It is one of the buildings designed by the Warners.  This city is dotted with their work from the 1850's on up to the 1930's.  The fact that so many of their work is still in use today is a testament to work.  Today the actual poster arrived and it was beautiful.  The front has a bit of a leathery feel to it and would make for a wonderful addition to the history of the city.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 7

On my walk about town I was interested to see the statue of Mercury on top of this smoke stack.  Over time I learned that way back in 1971 it was put back on the spot it had once stood.  Till 1951 it stood on top of the stack for a tobacco factory that was then demolished.  Someone had the foresight to save the statue in storage all that time and when they built the law offices that stand there today they rebuilt a fake smoke stack to put the statue back up. 

From this angle, seeing the old and the new together was a symbol of this city to me.  People here have always gone out of their way to preserve the history of this place even though there is progress.  And that makes me proud of this city

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 6

Spending so much time downtown during the cold months, looking for work, meant I hunted down any place I could get out of the cold and sit down to eat my lunch or read.  There weren't too many places to sit down without having to buy something to eat and I did not have the money to do that.  But I found it here.  At the Baush and Lomb tower.  They had an atrium.  It did have a cafe there but you did not have to buy anything to go there and sit in peace.  I had the added bonus of the sense of spring in the middle of winter.

It was all glass and girders with trees and bushes and flowers and grass growing there.  Quite a few times I went there just to enjoy the plants(and the 2 or three birds that always seemed to get in there.  The one thing they were strict about was taking pictures. No problem.  The mix of industrial with nature and the lines going every where made for an interesting scene.  I will go back some time and scope out other angles to draw.

Rochester Postcard Project Day 5

Between going to my state appointed work site and the job office I spent a lot of time down by the east end of main street near Goodman Ave.  Down at that end of main is the city Auditorium.  Many traveling Broadway shows come here.  There are more modern theaters in the city but this one has the ornate look to it. 

It is that "ornate" that drew me in.  From a distance they are small enough not to make an impact.  But I walked by it quite often and this one time I stopped to study just the external sconces.  They were made of bronze.  But, what drew me was how much detail was thrown into a small light.  While the more modern buildings seem to spend more on the "clean" lines, the older buildings have details and squiggles and swirls and business. 

I stood there drawing the basic shape of it along with just one section of the sconce and the background gate since it was close to freezing out there.  At home I finished it up.  It was about this time of year when it could be very cold or tolerable and the jacket I wore that day was too light.  Of course I was new to the city and did not know to be prepared for this weather.  As time went on here I did more sketches in the cold.  But, still the weather dictates how long I can work on it on site.  Thank God I started carrying around my digital camera for times like that.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 4

5 yrs ago My wife, Juli, and I drove into Rochester for the first time.  We were in a large Ryder truck following my parents to our new home.  We came through downtown on I 490.  As we passed over the Genesee river I glanced at the city skyline.  There were plenty of modern buildings and a smattering of turn of the century ones too but what drew my attention were these 4 giant wings thrust straight up into the sky.  It took me a second to say "Art Deco". 

It is called Times Square.  Not to be confused with the Times Square in New York City.  One of a dozen or so Deco skyscrapers that still exist.  At the time that I drew this that is all I knew.  But, 2 1/2 yrs after moving here I befriended the current owner of that building.  It was fantastic to get a tour of the building from the basement to the roof. 

It was built during the depression.  The Genesee Valley Trust, a bank.  When they where building the basement they had to install the vault door before they layed the first floor since the door was too big and too heavy to do it any other way.  It is still all there.  The current owner is slowly restoring the interior.  Sometime in its life its' grand entrance was cut in half to add a second floor.  That can never be reversed but most everything else is still there intact. 

But, of course, it is the great wings up top that grab the attention.  It is said that the banker had called the architect when they were designing it and told him he wanted to make his building stand out from the crowd.  The Architect was on vacation in the Caribbean when he got the call so while at the beach he picked up some sea shells and played around with them in the sand till he created the configuration we see now.  The architect called them the "Wings Of Progress" and they stand several stories high.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project Day 3

For my final scene at the Marina I wanted to reflect that it was a "working" marina as well as a pleasure craft marina.  I had plenty of slips for those but also workshops and working boats as well as plenty of older pleasure boats laying around.  Some on trailers some on their sides and lots of junk laying around.. 

When I came across this tug boat I was reminded of the city's past.  The port was a major port for industry for over a hundred years, but no longer.  This relic will probably never see work again.  Yet it still seems proud of its work.  Though hidden amongst other rusting boats, this one seemed to have its chest puffed up with the knowledge that he'd worked hard helping this city grow.  With that image in my head, of his pride, I chose to draw it,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Rochester Postercard Project Day 2

So here I am with the next scene.  And continuing with the theme I was still at this point at the Marina.  It was so peaceful and quiet.  It was so early in the spring and still a bit cold but the trees where starting to bud but, too cold for sailing.  The piers were all empty, with a little bit of stuff strewn around.  At this pier I found this canoe full to the top with water with a thin sheet of ice just under its surface. The people renting this spot would have a bit of cleanup to do but for now it was still a tiny bit frozen in time.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rochester Postcard Project

     During the first few months after moving to Rochester NY I was unemployed.  During that time the state had me going out and looking for work and sitting at a non-profit for 30 hours a week all to get $350 in food stamps a month and another $200 for everything else.  I was on the bus many hours a day going to a fro trying to find work.  As I did that I carried with me a tiny 3 x 5 sketchbook to capture scenes from around the city.
     Over time I filled it up.  Going back through them I picked out 39 of the best of them and created the above poster.  It is for sale at $20 each and it is 18 x 24 - so a pretty good size.  If you are interested in getting one of the posters let me know.  But, over the next 39 days I will place a post here about each of the postcards.
                                THE SPIRIT OF ROCHESTER

     One day in early spring I decided to check out one of the marinas near Charlotte.  It took me about 40 minutes to walk down to the area from my home and I had seen the boat tied up there.  The owner gave me permission to go anywhere I wanted as long as I did not go out on any of the piers or boats.  I had heard of the Spirit of Rochester long before coming down here.  And had known that it no longer ran.  But, while I was walking the grounds there I came across her.  I got up close enough to see through the windows and everything was still on the boat but in total disarray.  It was being held by the Marina owner as collateral by the boat's owner since it had been abandoned there.

     I felt depressed to see it laying there, rusting away and forgotten.  After walking around it for a while I found a spot and drew this scene.  To me, it was a clear reminder of how run down the city seemed to be.  Here I was in a city overflowing with history and everyone seemed to be ignoring it.  I did not know it at the time but seeing this ship would be my kick off to finding a way to celebrate and honor this new city I had moved to.