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Bryant Park: Day 1

Finally getting around to blogging about my Bryant Park Residency! The first day was one of my favorites. By coincidence, it was the day of the solar eclipse! They were also doing a movie night in the park that day, so I shifted my hours later so I could start with the eclipse and stick around to paint the movie.

First painting of the eclipse! I was swapping back and forth, using my glasses to look at the sun, looking away, taking them off, and then (obviously) painting without them. This first one has some water marks because the park was PACKED (hindsight: they really should have opened the lawn!) and someone ran into my easel, and water spilled all over my finished painting! It's actually much more noticeable in the scan than in real life. This first one depicts the cloud cover coming over the eclipse, which most people were mad about but I thought was more fun to paint!

One from the height of the eclipse...

And one as the moon was slowly (SLOWLY!) sliding out of view.

And here's a peek at the crowd observing the event! It was really neat to be able to see it with so many people. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I'd definitely recommend Bryant Park for future eclipse-viewing!

Between the eclipse and the movie, I stopped for lunch and also drew the statue of Bryant himself (that was painted on another day and will be in another post).

As soon as the lawn opened at 5:30, there was already a crowd ready and waiting to swarm in with blankets to stake out their territory. I pulled up a chair in the north east corner of the lawn, set up my easel, and started drawing. When it comes to painting live, I don't always have a very specific idea of what I want a painting to be before I start, but this was one I really thought about in advance. I knew the colors I wanted to use and how I wanted the lighting to look. I had a nice, long time to work on this since the movie itself started at 8:30. I was done drawing long before the movie started, so I began putting in some washes as the sun was setting. I set myself up with three book lights clipped onto my easel that I could switch on as I began losing light. And then I REALLY lost light as the movie began and they switched off the floodlights that keep the park mostly lit in the evening. This was the first movie I watched in any of the city's parks, and I have to say: I'm a fan! The crowd was very vocal from the beginning, cheering when Patrick Swayze comes onto the screen and laughing, booing and whistling at opportune moments. Even singing along with the music! Basically I had the best office for a few hours. Though most of this was true urban sketching, I do confess that I cheated a bit and took a couple of photos during the movie to get the screenshot right. I wanted it to be a bit blurry and I painted it quickly, but could never have painted quickly enough to capture a movie still! I think it's a reasonable cheat. I finished and began packing up just a little before the movie was over (and was proud of myself for my time management skills, I finished just before my official end time for the day!), but I stayed to watch the end (and so the painting could dry). Naturally, everyone got up and danced at the end. This was definitely one of my top paintings (perhaps at the end of my Bryant Park posts I'll do a definitive listing of my five favorites!) of the experience, and I'm excited to finally share the full view!

Overall, a great first day in the park. As I sort through my paintings (and sometimes, cobble multiple scans together of larger paintings) I look forward to sharing more!

*All images in this post belong to Bryant Park. All of the paintings are theirs and they will not be for sale on my etsy, nor will I be selling prints. I'm hoping the park might sell prints in the future, and if they do I'll be sure to post about it!




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