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.
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.