different cities, different art?

This is a quick watercolor sketch I did last week of the Chicago skyline from the north side of Belmont Harbor.

this view is always interesting early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is shining on either the left or right side of the buildings.  The distant view is possible because of the distance that the harbor entrance creates, making a layer of Lincoln Park trees run along below the layer of tall buildings.

Different cities inspire people in different creative mediums.  I think of New York as a writer’s town.  By far the most sketching I have ever done was a two-year stint working in Boston.

Maybe the picturesque plazas and squares in Boston establish those views for sketching in a way that the grid of streets in New York and Chicago doesn’t allow.

The watercolor above  is a bit unusual in that most of my looking around Chicago has been done with a camera.  The hard, straight rationality of Chicago’s grid of streets and the regularity of office windows may lend itself more to the shifting light and perspective best captured on film.

I’ve now lived in Boulder longer than I did in Chicago.  And so, Boulder’s medium of expression?  I guess I’m still working on that.



interior design, Boulder

In my practice I spend about equal amounts of time working on interiors as exteriors.  What I mean by that is that the ideas that we are working through on a project are usually not formal ones, but rather more narrative.  So, neither interior or exterior form drives the project.  A successful project is one where there is a dialogue between the two – sometimes reinforcing each other, other times a complimentary juxtaposition.  Each component of the project adds to that, from the overall building form to the roof material through the interior finishes, light fixtures, etc.

Le Corbusier, Roche-Jeaneret house


a very quick watercolor of the gallery in the Roche-Jeanneret house by Le Corbusier in Paris.

This is an endlessly fascinating house for me, spatially rich and complex without being fussy or didactic.  A challenging program of public and private spaces is deftly handled with a series of unfolding levels.  The circulation is a bit overly dramatic, maybe even monumental, but the overall effect of the house is very interesting.

watercolor sketch by Mark Gerwing, 1995

architecture at Yale, 1993


This is a quick sketch of Yale’s campus from Paul Rudolph’s A+A Building, the top floor cafe. A recent renovation has made the former low-rent cafe on the top floor back into a visiting scholar’s residence.  As a financially-strapped grad student, I’m afraid I ate a lot of egg salad sandwiches and bagels up there, the cheapest, if not freshest, things on the menu.  Most of my two years there you could look down on the campus and see the continuous repairing of slate roofs – 6 guys standing on a roof with one guy working.

I believe the builidng in the center here is Sterling Library, a hybrid of cathedral and warehouse.

Sketch by Mark Gerwing, 1993 or so.