The artists’ boards were stamped at 3 PM on Friday, since rain was threatening on Saturday morning. Daisy and I gathered our boards and lunches and headed to the Playland boardwalk. Playland was built in 1927 and is the only Art Deco amusement park left in the United States; it’s a National Historic Landmark. The part on which we painted is a public beach. (To learn more about Playland, see here.)
Many people pointed out that the section I chose to paint was
used in a scene in Tom Hanks’ Big. Does this look familiar?
The boardwalk and bathhouse are set on a long curve, which makes for some intriguing arcs. I stood within a stucco arch and focused on the long curving sweep of the roof. Even though the subject of the painting was the bathhouse with its two towers I knew the picture depended on the sweep of the blue roof.
By the time I committed my drawing to canvas, the light was gone. It was a beautiful evening, with lights twinkling along the boardwalk, but useless for painting.
The next morning I arrived in Rye shortly after 6 AM.
No box easel! I can never find anything in them.
My set-up under an arch was a good idea, for it was rainy, cold and dark.
My first task was to refine my drawing in charcoal. Normally, I don’t do much charcoal drawing, but the buildings are complex and I was working fast.
Daisy scoping out the scene…
It was hard to choose among the architectural gems in this place…
I concentrated on painting the orange beams first because I needed them to be believable.
Note that I got rid of the man peering into the Museum windows. I think that was a mistake—he lent good foreground interest. I replaced him with a couple walking a dog—ubiquitous on the boardwalk, but too far away to lend any depth to the scene.
The finished painting:
“Where Big was Filmed”
16X20, oil on Ray-Mar canvas board, sold, Rye, September 15, 2007