Monday, November 10, 2014

Art Deco and Rockefeller Center

On Saturday my friend, Susan and I headed into Manhattan on the subway. There are always some models if the train isn't too crowded. The woman on the left got off at the first stop (the nerve of her) so I moved on to sketch the second woman.

This woman was directly across from me. She alternated between being half asleep with her head all the way back, looking straight ahead, or putting on makeup.

The NYC Urban Sketchers had planned a day at Rockefeller Center to sketch the art deco in the buildings, decorations, etc. But we got there and the Christmas tree was standing up behind the skating rink and the workmen were putting scaffolding around the tree so that it could be decorated. We just HAD to do a sketch of that! Now you may be thinking to yourself...this is just the start of November...but this tree is BIG and it takes an extremely long time to put all the lights on it. When you see it finally lit ( the lighting is on Dec 3) you will see what I mean. I still don't understand how they keep the tree from now until the beginning of January without it losing it's needles. When we had fresh Christmas trees as a kid the needles started falling off the tree as we were bringing it home. lol

I found a spot in the middle of the promenade that leads from 5th Avenue all the way to the skating rink. There were art deco designs over the doorway, but I was interested in sketching the workers who were planting the tall trees that would be decorated and will stand in the middle of all the lit angels that will also be put up. By this time I was starting to get cold. My body was warm enough in my down jacket, but my feet and hands were cold. I did have fingerless (and regular) gloves that helped my hands but I couldn't do anything about my feet.

Then I walked down 49th Street a half a block and sketched the NBC Studio marquis. It had some art deco elements too. Then it was time for lunch...and we were able to warm up indoors. Yay!!!

After lunch I sat on 5th Avenue right in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral facing across 5th Ave where  the bronze Atlas is supporting on his shoulders, not the earth, but a representation of the heavens (or so says the brochure about Rockefeller Center). This is the largest sculpture in the Center...he stands 15 feet tall on a 9 foot high pedestal. I happen to have worked in this building when I was in college and passed this statue just about every day.

Since it now gets dark so early we headed indoors to share our sketches with the other members before most of them headed home. A few of us hung out a bit longer at a local restaurant bar, but only Mark sketched there. It was a good day...but a bit too cold to be sitting around. lol


  1. A productive day despite the cold! How cool that you got to sketch the tree decorations starting... I bet you'll do it again once it's all lighted!

  2. Oh what a fabulous day this sounds to have been. I would love to see NYC putting on its Christmas finery! Your sketches are wonderful, Joan!

  3. Tina, thanks. I hope to get back there to sketch it again.

    Sherry, thanks. It gets crazy around there once the tree is up.

  4. A great post Joan! Would love to see that tree and skate on that rink one year!