The Challenge and the Glory of Painting NY Times Square

I was lucky enough to visit New York City earlier this year and, having been there, I can honestly say that the idea of painting a scene of Times Square is overwhelming. Just thinking of the area, I remember the energetic atmosphere. Everywhere I looked were lights, people and cars. The movement didn’t stop, and block by block it carried me, awestruck by both the physical enormity of the city and the realization that I was standing on an island filled with history. It was magnificent.

There’s such a massive amount of information for one to process when in the middle of Times Square, especially during one’s first time there. To crop out the excess and narrow the visuals down to something that can be recreated in an acrylic painting is quite the feat, and Patti Mollica of the Fast, Loose and Bold Acrylic Collection has accomplished it. Here’s what she has to say about her acrylic painting, TKTS/Times Square, as seen in The Artist’s Magazine.

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TKTS/Times Square (acrylic, 18×18) by Patti Mollica. Love NYC-inspired art? Then share this on Facebook!

Painting Times Square by Patti Mollica

Anyone who has ever been to Times Square in New York City knows that every angle of it is a painting waiting to happen. I was much more interested in capturing the vitality of the scene than trying to render it realistically. To accomplish this, I worked in an abstract, painterly style using quick, loose brushstrokes.

When I start a scene like this, I work from a black-and-white sketch with about five colors, painting big shapes and gradually breaking them down into smaller shapes. I keep turning the canvas clockwise as I work, so before I get into painting my subject matter, I have a nice design that works from whatever angle the painting’s positioned. If the underlying abstract shapes work compositionally, the painting on top of it will hold together.

After taking classes at Syracuse University, I developed a career in graphic design and illustration. I now teach workshops on how to paint fast and loose. Working with big brushes, rollers and cardboard, my students learn to get over their inhibitions by focusing just on the big shapes. I have the students paint so quickly that they don’t have time to sweat the details. It’s so gratifying to introduce people to the world of painting and share with them what was shared with me. ~Patti Mollica

This was originally published in 2010, and Mollica hasn’t skipped a beat since appearing in this article. It was a Competition Spotlight, which features finalists from The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition. Now you can learn Mollica’s acrylic painting techniques in the Fast, Loose and Bold Acrylic Collection. It includes too many resources to name here–DVDs, books and art supplies, which are sold together only at North Light Shop.

Yours in art,
Cherie

Cherie Haas, online editor
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