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| Research |
Sketch | Changes
| Base Drawing
| Finished Painting |
The Concept "The
Road To Boston"
Donna Macleod, project designer, suggested
that a painting encompassing all the towns the Boston Marathon runs
through would make a memorable poster. That would involve eight
towns, Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton,
Brookline and Boston. A landmark from each town would be painted
and combined with the others to form a montage.
On January 2, 1998 I traveled to the
Boston Athletic Association's offices in Boston to comb through
their files for suitable images to use as reference for my painting.
The BAA has great shots of the start at Hopkinton, Heartbreak Hill
in Newton and the finish, but during the other sections of the course
their photographers focus on the runners, not the surrounding landmarks!
I came away with some excellent slides, but I would have to make
a second trip to take my own photographs.
A week later, after waiting for a sunny
day, I shot additional photographs at other memorable spots on the
marathon course. I scheduled my visit to each town so the time of
day would be similar to the time the runners would pass through
on April 20th.
Here are a few of my photographs that
were used as reference for the final painting. Click on a photo
for a large view.
| The old Framingham train station,
now Ebenezer's Restaurant.
| The church across from
the Natick town green.
| Wellesley College.
I produced this sketch at 1/2
the size of the final printed poster size.
It's painted in watercolor, roughly done. The sketch was sent
the designer in Illinois who approved it and shipped it to
the BAA for their review.
Click on the sketch to see a larger view.
The were only a few minor changes suggested
for the final version. The BAA asked that the overall winner be
shown breaking the tape instead of generic runners at the finish.
Since so many runners were to be included throughout the painting,
I was happy to include only one at the finish line! I did add the
second place finisher, just to make it a close race. Here's a detail
from the finished painting.
To help identify each section of the
painting, it was suggested that road signs be added with the town
names. To avoid a repetitive look, I tried to find a unique ways
to incorporate the town names. I used a homemade banner in Hopkinton,
I added a "Framingham" sign to the old train station, a Wellesley
College sign in Wellesley, and I put a "Brookline" sign on the train
Now that I had approval of my sketch,
I created a detailed base-drawing on a sheet of 300 lb cold press
watercolor paper. The final painting will be done at 150%
of the printed poster size. Doing this causes the painting to look
very detailed and "tight" when it is printed in the final reduced
size. The watercolors were painted directly over the drawing
and then the pencil drawing was erased.
Here you see a detail of the painting,
the First Congregational Church in Hopkinton, in the base drawing
and the finished version. The graphics here do not display the refined
and detailed nature of the actual painting.
The final watercolor painting
took approximately 120 hours to complete. I made a few additional
departures from the approved sketch for compositional reasons.
I reduced the number of runners throughout the painting
because my intention was to focus on the landmarks of the
towns, and the sketch had become a little too cluttered.
I think a cleaner look was achieved by providing more space
around each vignette.
Lastly, I eliminated the overhanging
tree in the upper right corner of the sketch. It would have
been too prominent an element, throwing off the balance
of my design.
Click for large image.
Here are a few details from the finished
The Brookline Train
The poster and signed and numbered
limited edition lithographs
are available from the Art of Running International 1-800-521-7959
Other running related paintings by
Andrew Yelenak available online: