Urban Sketching at the Tip of the Triangle
Do you think you need to visit New York City or Philadelphia to do urban sketching? Think again. I have found inspiration within a short walk of my home. One could define urban sketching as visual storytelling with a notebook and pens, pencils, paints, or any other artistic media.
Highland Park has an area called The Triangle. It is mostly residential, but it does host a large elementary school. I live by the tip, which holds a small statue of a Doughboy. The Doughboy, a slang term for a U.S. infantryman, is a symbol of veterans who fought in wars. The initial name came from World War I. It was erected in 1921. A new version of the Doughboy statue went up in Spring 2022, after a car or a truck supposedly ran it over. There were theories that it actually was hidden by the good guys when the bad guys were taking down historic statues.
I did this painting of the Doughboy almost two years ago. It is not easy to paint a statue. There are no local hues other than off-whites. And there is a lot going on at the bottom: legs, a rifle, a big rock. After a few early attempts, the main thing I learned was to slow down while doing the drawing. Get the proportions right, and leave ample white space.
The incentive for doing Rainbow Cleaners is that the store got a new owner. The store is right down the block, so it is an easy “commute” to work on this subject. I like all the signs on the building. There are oranges courtesy of the Bargain Shop and a bright green parking sign. Our family lawyer has his office upstairs.
I haven’t done much with Lukoil yet. It has that lovely shade of red in its logo. I often fill my car with gas here. One day one of the gas attendants told me I dropped my gloves after I finished sketching. His kindness gives me a warm feeling about a gas station!
This is a sketch that I did as part of a class called Sketching Now Sketchbook. It has a map of the tip of the Triangle and the positions of the Doughboy statue, Rainbow Cleaners, and the Lukoil gas station. Each one is down the block from my home, so good spots for me to visit when I feel like doing some local urban sketching.
Visit the leoraw store
If you made it this far in reading this blog post, please check out my new store. You can purchase a Highland Park High School sketch on a clock, dinner at the Bridge Turkish restaurant on a mug, a t-shirt of peaches at the Farmers Market, and more.
Still in the planning stages: a database of my paintings and sketches, so it will be easier for potential clients to look up works of mine that they like. For example, if you type in ‘doughboy’ you will get a listing with images and links of my paintings or drawings of the Highland Park Doughboy.