Today’s watercolor experiment:
During my wanderings around New York City in the 1990s, when I lived there, I would sometimes find scenes that had a combination of image and information that mirrored my inner thoughts. Perhaps such themes are omnipresent but require just the right frame of mind to see, understand and photograph.
I remember the building whose ripped posters and iron fence attracted me, as PS 1, a school that was converted to an art space. My narrative of the image I photographed reads from top to bottom. At the top, a poster that looks like a woodcut, pictures a couple engaging in a romantic moonlit kiss. Immediately below are three posters entitled ‘STUNT’; below that are spikes of the wrought iron fence.
At that time in my life, I was feeling lonely and the prospects of finding someone seemed slim. It seemed to me, the very idea of romance was nothing but a stunt, possibly a dangerous one at that (as indicated by the iron spikes).
In the shaded area, I used a combination of white and earth-colored conte chalk, to bring out the shadow details. I started drawing the wrought iron fence with a dip-ink pen, but ran into problems. I completed the fence with a .5mm fine-tip india ink pen, re-inking after painting the building facade.
There is a significant difference between the reference photograph and my watercolor sketch. In the photo, the spikes of the fence are covered by a horizontal rail, providing protection from the spikes. This is not how I remember the scene. It seemed a lot more dangerous.
Sometimes a subconscious idea seeking a perfect set of narrative icons, ignores a detail or two that doesn’t fit. A street photographer has a modicum of control, but not total control. For total control, one must paint.