Wednesday, July 20, 2016

En Plein Air: Side Door of Cathedral of St. John, the Divine (Oil, 12 x 9)

The weather wasn't that bad this morning, so I decided to paint one of the most famous and magnificent cathedrals in New York City, the Catholic Cathedral of St John, the Divine, located on Amsterdam Ave. back to the Morningside Park. It was in the vicinity of Columbia University. I didn't know anything about the church before i went there. What I knew was It was a church in Gothic Rouen style, somewhat like Dotre Dame, but, for some reason, there was only one tower instead of two. I walked around the church in an attempt to find a good perspective. Unfortunately, there was not a place in street where I could paint the main entrance. Most of the times, my vision was blocked by street trees, so I finally decided to paint its side door from a street corner across. Like many churches in New York City, it was right next to a modern office building.

I knew it was a difficult position. First of all, it was against the sun. However, the local color of the church material was stony light-gray, which complicated its value. The steps seemed to be white marble, even lighter in color. What was more, the Gothic decorations outside the building were blackened by the soot in polluted air over the years. Part of the stone had turned rusty, possibly for some acid rains in the past. Anyway, It was a good opportunity for practice. I guess next time I would not use the same approach to paint something like that in similar situation.

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