NADA, Tysons Corner, and Old San Juan

Yesterday I attended a fascinating talk about the future of Tysons Corner that gave me a new appreciation of the town I work in.

I had always thought of Tysons as pretty soulless–the land of office buildings and car dealerships, and of course the mall. Only 17,000 people live there, while about 100,000 people, including me, work there. Other than shopping, there are not cultural draws. One can eat outside at restaurants, and view a strip mall parking lot or a traffic jam. All that will change. It is supposed to become Fairfax County’s downtown. It’s pretty exciting. It has also made me more interested in what’s there now. Today, I ate outside at Panera, probably because my Pandora station thinks I am always hungry, and won’t stop telling me to go to Panera or Firehouse Subs. Something about my choice in music says sandwiches. This was my view, the NADA building and the Best Western across the new Silver Line tracks.

I was not too thrilled at first over what I had available to sketch, but once I started that changed. It’s fun to realize how a quick little sketch can help me appreciate a place so much more. I am starting to get a new understanding of the area, and hope to showcase it more through these micro sketches, and probably some bigger ones as well.

On another note, I got some more work done on the Old San Juan painting tonight. Slow going but it’s really coming together. Here it is:



4 thoughts on “NADA, Tysons Corner, and Old San Juan

  1. lesliepaints August 6, 2013 / 6:29 pm

    I can hardly wait to see this painting finished, Corey. Ahhh, the color. Beautiful!

    • coreyaber August 8, 2013 / 8:54 pm

      You’re not the only one! I can’t wait to work on this a few nights in a row and finish it off. I have learned a lot from this one, not just about my own painting, but about other artists I admire. Even though this is just one painting, it feels like many.

      I am glad to hear you like this. I like your work, and I am very pleased that my attempts here resonate with you.

  2. davidtripp August 9, 2013 / 4:02 pm

    Wow, Corey, this is looking fabulous! You’ve got something really “special” working for you here, that I still cannot understand. The building on the left (to me) is reminiscent of some of Edward Hopper’s early watercolors. Very fresh, loose, warm in color, direct and authentic. I still struggle with that stuff. When I use a straight-edge, my buildings look like illustrations; when I draft them freehand, they look like loaves of bread. I never quite understood how Hopper (and now you) can make these buildings look so authentic and lively,and not crude. Excellent work! Can’t wait to see your next endeavor.

    • coreyaber August 9, 2013 / 9:57 pm

      What a compliment! Thank you David.
      I got a laugh out of your loaf of bread comment, which I don’t see in your freehand buildings. It’s funny how we see our own work versus how others see it. I have aspired to paint buildings like you do, I just come up short. I lack brush control, or use a round when a bright would suit the task better, and the result is these rougher wavy lines. After I “messed up” like that at the start on this one I just went with it and tried to be like John Singer Sargent, but couldn’t be that loose, so it ended up in the middle. This painting for me has been about getting comfortable with that middle ground between precision and looseness. I am hoping that doing more direct ink sketching on the side will help me get to the middle ground directly without wondering as much if I am on the right track. As I keep working at it, I keep looking at your buildings for help.

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