“The Third Time’s the Charm”

I am experimenting with sketches telling a message visually. According to Oliver Hoeller, my instructor, a way to do this is to contrast subjects, like big or small, tall or short, wide or skinny, etc… So I took on the Upper Landing park in St. Paul as a sketch subject. This park has many scenes along the Mississippi river, and I chose the Municipal grain elevator. My first impression of it was: “That’s tall!” I decided to visually show that adjective, while contrasting it with a shorter apartment complex. Here is a photo of the scene…

tall #4

I sketched this first sketch on location:

tall #1

I kept lines wobbly and had fun with shapes and line weights. The elevator certainly looks tall. A man was standing near a railing and a woman sat on a bench, so I included them. After I got home, I decided that the building I was trying to contrast (elevator) was just not tall enough, it had to be more exaggerated. So I did a second sketch, using the first sketch as a reference:

tall #2

I feel like this sketch captured my adjective of “tall” much better. Using a little 3-point perspective, I stretched the building up to the heavens and shortened the red apartments. However, I was not happy with the windows on the face of the elevator, they were too large. When a building is very tall, the windows look tiny at the top. So, on to round #3. I did a third sketch, using the first one as reference, and made the tower even taller. I paid attention to windows and other details and shorted the apartments even more.

tall #3

The old saying, “The third time’s the charm!” I think can apply here. I met all my expectations. There is no question now that I was emphasizing a tall building. It took 3 sketches to get there. However, I still like the original first sketch the best. It looks more spontaneous, free, loose, and wonky. Doing sketches on location helps with that. The later sketches look a little tighter. But I accomplished what I set out to do, and that was an important learning experience!

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