Sunday, May 19, 2013

Greenwood Gardens

Greenwood Gardens, Milburn, NJ, base art, copr William Cook, 2013

The very first thing co-director Matt Gundy  and I discussed long before anything 
visual was developed was the ultimate purpose to be accomplished in this piece.  
The answer was legibility.  We established that a viewer of this piece would need 
to be able to wander around the grounds by eye and know exactly where everything 
was.  The word is wayfinding.  This necessitates very judicious sizing of anything 
that would obscure the pathways etc., in this case trees.  The tall trees are all there 
(for the most part) but are pictured a third of their actual height, almost as they might 
have been at a younger age--perfectly acceptable given the objective.  It's not 
noticeable to where it disturbs the piece.

Another concern was showing the topography, since the primary areas are terraces 
going down the side of a hill.  This needs to be clear not only for aesthetics, but for 
those who get down to the bottom of all this, being able to get back up.  There is a 
lot of height to deal with here, so anyone with walking constraints might want to know 
this. The topography actually shows up here.  I started with a contour map in 
perspective and actually cut out the terraces and arranged each a little higher than 
the next.  I am particularly pleased at how well this worked.

The size of the original is an important consideration.  The image is 16" across.  I 
selected that size to limit the detail so that I could accomplish the objective in a timely 
manner, and so that the piece could be reduced to a usable size and still look good.  
When one reduces a pen and ink piece, the width of the pen lines are also reduced.  
You can only go down so far before things fall apart.

This is the final art in its base state.  It is designed to work with colored pencil in its 
final state, hence the duotone pen and ink work--brown and black.   I tried coloring 
black ink drawings but found the technique awkward and boring in appearance.  
The addition of brown ink in an intermediate sense seemed more natural
and workable.  It took five days to get to this point, working with the reference
photos for each little passage drawn.  It will take another four days to color this
 piece, and several hours in the computer to complete.

Here is the final.  Greenwood just had it's grand opening last week after ten years of
restoration.  Truly a wonderful, magical place to visit.  Stop by for a stroll
[and some oxygen] if you're in the New York area.  

Greenwood Gardens, Milburn, NJ, copr William Cook, 2013



Linda Roth said...

Hours and hours and hours. Drawing that eventually demands cataract surgery--but oh so gorgeous in its precision.

William Cook said...

I sincerely hope not, Linda, but I'm not doing this work constantly, and I am serious about those dental loupes. All I can do is keep eating the Lutien and hope for the best. Like my old mother in law would say, "Gettin old's the pits." Oh well. Thanks for checking in. I was starting to hear crickets.