Manhattan Island by Edmond S. Oliveros | Splash 11: New Directions

This week we are featuring Manhattan Island by Edmond S. Oliveros from our Splash Watercolor art competition.

Splash: Best of Watercolor | Manhattan Island

Transparent watercolor and Chinese White on illustration board | 19″ x 22 3/4″ (48cm x 58cm)

What Edmond says about his artwork:
This painting was based on a photograph I saw in 1985 by the world-famous photographer Jake Rajs. My boss at the time said that I was crazy to try to paint it in watercolor and suggested gouache to make it a little easier. The challenge became more intense, and it took me more than 200 hours to finish it. Manhattan Island was not made public until the summer of 2000, the year I joined the Toledo Artists Club. When the disaster of September 11, 2001, happened, many of my friends who had seen the artwork on display at the club gallery suggested that I flood the market with prints of the painting. At first, I got excited about the possibility, but after watching the repeated TV coverage of that fateful day—the heroism of the rescuers and the suffering of the victims’ families—I could not see myself benefiting from it. Because of September 11, the painting went from one exhibit to another, and the viewers looking at the World Trade Center spoke about where they had been when the towers collapsed. For me the painting has become a reminder of the brave men and women of New York City who came together and united in a time of great tribulation. I have not seen Americans draw together as closely as we did in those days.

As far as the technique is concerned, the larger buildings received washes of solid colors first, and then I applied masking fluid with a rolling pen to outline the windows. I painted in refl ections and rubbed off the masking to reveal the solid parts of the buildings. I used tiny lines of tinted Chinese White for the mullions of the World Trade Center. I chose to give the finished painting a cooler feel than the original photograph.

Earlier in my career, my technique was on the rough side, similar to that of John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer. I switched to my new direction because I wanted my paintings to look like photographs and my photographs to look like paintings.

Edmond S. Oliveros’s piece Manhattan Island appeared in Splash 11: New Directions, published by North Light Books in 2010. Enter the art competition here for your chance to appear in Splash 15 and win other prizes!

The Best of Watercolor, Splash 11: New Directions



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