Tag Archives: armillary

Sketching Skylines

sketch of Empire State building

“Empire State”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

I’ve never given much thought to skylines before, unless they involved volcanic peaks, or more recently, dragons.  But being in New York, the skylines simply demand to be sketched.  From up close, like here, it makes my neck hurt.  I sat for an hour in the window of Starbucks, just a few blocks from the Empire State Building, and tried really hard to show that feeling of touching the sky.  I wouldn’t have found this perspective if not for the Very Nice Doorman at the Hotel Metro down the street, who heard me talking about sketches and sent me down the block to the coffee shop, “Second or third table in the window if you can get it!”  One of precious few coffee shops in this city, I might add… apart from two other Starbucks, I think these people are caffeine-deprived.   Or maybe the shops are just hidden on the 20th floors.  But they sure aren’t on street level.

sketch of Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Promenade

“Renewal”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

This perspective is much easier, from the Brooklyn Promenade you can see Forever.  Also known as Manahattan.  The Very Tall building-in-progress at the center is the replacement for the ill-fated Twin Towers.  It struck me as odd that docked directly below this new monumental edifice were two “Tall Ships” bobbing up and down – we seem to be re-defining “tall”.  The leaf buds are just beginning to add a little spring green to the palette, and the armillary sun dial added that “circle of life” air to the place.  I could spend every day for the next several months moving from bench to bench down this promenade, sketching a different skyline each time, past the old docks that are being transformed into ballparks and lawns, past the Statue of Liberty out in the harbor, until I finally reached the new docks, and the end of the iron fence.   Maybe by then I would be quick enough with my pen to capture the characters who appear and disappear, with their goofy little dogs or wide-eyed babies or fruits on a stick.