Tim Saternow takes his NYC watercolor cityscapes to new heights. In his urban scenes, the grit and weight of masonry and steel are so enveloped in light that they threaten to dissolve into the air around them. His paintings deploy highly adventurous watercolor handling to break up the image, melt away edges, and create a light-filled atmosphere built from blooms, drips and floods of paint.
The NYC watercolor cityscapes show a dramatic dialogue between the control of clear draftsmanship and the chaotic energy of watercolor. The drama is depicted by its large scale and powerful geometric compositions. Horizontals and verticals oppose each other in dynamic fashion. “I’m a painter of contrasts—value contrast, location contrast and directional contrast,” he says. “It’s all to create drama and interest—and to keep people looking.”
Saternow’s Advice for Beginners
Learn all the techniques you can by simply looking at and copying the work of great painters you love. Copying? Yes, this is an old-fashioned way of learning another painter’s techniques. It’s invaluable information for you that can’t be learned any other way. The secret is to steal what you like and discard the rest. You’ll develop your own personal painting style and your way of looking at the world.
Be strong and bold. Tell great stories with your paintings and know what you want to say with your work. As the great watercolorist Henry Fukuhara (American, 1913-2010) said: “Don’t be a reporter; be an entertainer.”
To see more of Saternow’s cityscapes, and to learn more about his process, check out the April 2017 issue of Watercolor Artist, available in print or as a download, at northlightshop.com. Also available on newsstands February 14.
Learn how to deepen watercolor values: