Central Park News

My obsession with newsstands began with an oil painting that my Mom and I bought together. It is a wonderful piece that shows a scene, probably from the 1940s, where a man is buying a paper at a newspaper stand. I like that it inspires a nostalgic sense of time – the time of my mother and father – and that the newsstand represents an information portal, connecting that spot to the rest of the world. Although there are still newsstands today, their purpose is not as important as it used to be, given the information portals that everyone now carries around in their pockets.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

My parents would often take my younger brother and me into Manhattan to go to the Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium. One of my fondest memories, oddly enough, is of the sidewalk around these wonderful buildings. It was built to accommodate crowds of people; it was wide enough for the craft-fair booths on Columbus Avenue, set up in the spring and autumn. But what impressed me as a kid was the sidewalk tiles. They were hexagonal tiles made from asphalt. They still remind me of oyster crackers.

I was delighted when I discovered these tiles in the foreground of my photo of an old-style newsstand that I took in the early 1990s.

Photograph: Newsstand at Central Park and Columbus Circle

Central Park News – Reference Photo

It might be hard to see, but they are there, a physical link to the past of my own childhood.

As with many of the photographs that I have been scanning into my computer, I did not get the chance to color-correct the picture above. I like the yellowed look.

I like my small-format (4×6), smooth paper. After a quick pencil drawing, to sketch out the correct proportions, I inked-in my lines.  The last stage of the process was to apply the color and the final part of that was a yellow wash to mimic the aged look of the photograph.

Watercolor: Newsstand at Central Park and Columbus Circle

Central Park News
4″x6″ 140# Mixed Media Paper


12 thoughts on “Central Park News

  1. I must say I like the reversion to photo first, Jack 🙂 In England we don’t make much of our newsstands. They are architecturally uninteresting – pop up boxes really.


  2. Sorry – the wordpress Reader interface seems to have changed and I’m struggling with the comment box – that sent too quickly. So I was going to say that I love this NYC newsstand and your comment about their changing role. Your drawing seems to be much less flat than the phot0 – the scene seems to curve around as if through a fish-eyed lens. I love your balloons, which seem a little unsure of themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Liz. Yes, the balloons… as the traffic light in the Guggenheim sketch, I didn’t finish the balloons. Also, I wonder if the photo I took of my newsstand sketch was flattened out when I took it. In its natural state, it is curved! I normally flatten out my pix when I shoot them for my blog…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was so sad when that newsstand closed! I recognized it right away from the painting. Now they rent bikes there. Or at least they did the last time I went into the subway at 59th street…it’s been awhile, so who knows?


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