New York City, Caught on Canvas | Painting Tips and Inspiration

About a year ago I went on a weekend trip with some friends to visit New York City, specifically to see a Broadway show. Coming from the rolling hills of Kentucky, I can only describe Manhattan as somewhat surreal. From my brief time there, I know now why so many are in love with it, including those of us who are living the creative life. It’s no wonder that it’s featured in so many films, so much literature, and so much art.

Painting New York City | Alexandra Pacula, ArtistsNetwork.com

Luminous Matrix (oil on canvas, 68×48) by Alexandra Pacula (PIN her art, as seen on the cover of The Artist’s Magazine!)

If you’ve been to NYC, you’ll find a special place in your heart for the May issue of The Artist’s Magazine, which is, officially, The New York Issue. And if you haven’t, you’ll want to check this issue out because there’s so much to learn–not just about the city, but also about the variety of ways that artists are re-creating it on canvas. Read about Alexandra Pacula (featured on the cover), whose paintings remind me of the sounds and movement of New York at night, which she can somehow capture without a single mortal form.

John A. Parks, on the other hand, shows the more human side of the city. His paintings are just as busy, but in a very different way. You’ll learn about how these artists and more create works of art that are interesting, historic and expressive. And with the About Town Drawing and Painting Pack, you’ll have an ever greater amount of knowledge at hand (scroll down or click here to learn more: this bundle includes The Artist’s Magazine (May 2016), Drawing (Spring 2016) and Cityscapes: Paint Urban Landscapes in Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor and Pastel.

For now, enjoy this sneak peek inside The Artist’s Magazine and read John’s tips for artists, which he has often shared with his students at the School of Visual Arts in New York throughout the past 25 or so years.

Painting New York | John A Parks, ArtistsNetwork.com

Union Square (oil on linen, 30×40) by John A. Parks (www.johnaparks.com)

Tips From John A. Parks

Most important!: Technique is the last thing you should worry about. In representational painting the most important thing to focus on is learning how to judge relative color and tonal values. You can do this only through the experience of painting while observing–continually measuring one value or hue against another and making corrections. It’s perceptual training, not the acquiring of a manual skill.

Break rules: If someone tells you there is an absolute rule for making a painting, make sure that you break it immediately.

Helpful tidbits: Having said that, here are some useful suggestions: Always mix plenty of paint. Always hold your brush as far back as possible. Always hold your head as far away from the painting as possible. Don’t begrudge time spent mixing on the palette. Paint every single day. None of these things require any extra talent, and all will make your work look a lot better.

Study artworks: Spend a lot of time looking at really good paintings and considering what sorts of things paintings actually do for the viewer and what sorts of things you might be able to imagine them doing.

Observe impartially: There’s a wide range of possible enterprises in painting, everything from social realism to lyrical abstraction. Don’t be quick to dismiss enterprises that you feel unsympathetic toward. You may yearn to be a super-realistic painter, but you’ll still learn a lot about how painting functions by looking at Picasso. Many great artists found inspiration in unlikely places. Vincent van Gogh admired the American illustrator Howard Pyle. Matisse trained under the symbolist Gustave Moreau. ~John

There’s so much more to learn, and you can easily start with the About Town Drawing and Painting Pack. It’s a special offer that you can only find at North Light Shop. In addition to the New York issue of The Artist’s Magazine, you’ll discover Drawing’s feature articles on drawing cities, streets and buildings and how to make your work look three-dimensional, as well as an entire eMagazine, Cityscapes, covering cities in so many styles.

Yours in art,
Cherie

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