Live Painting at The Armory Show NYC – 3/5/11 – Process and Video

March 7, 2011  |  Featured, In The News, New Painting

Last Saturday the mercury was high enough to officially begin the outdoor painting season.  I decided to set up my easel in front of The Armory Show.  I figured this would provide entertainment for the people waiting in line and an opportune chance for some interesting conversations with art folk.


The scenary near the piers is pretty drab, so when I got there I decided not to paint a representational landscape.  I felt like starting with pink.

More yellow inspired by the warm sunlight on my skin.  The frenzied energy of the visitors to the fair, and the crowded pedestrian highway inspired a denser composition.

Some Flyer orange to cover the white ground.  This anchors the central image.

Around this time I started to get questions from visitors to the show.  One of the staff members from far away came up to me twice saying they really liked the painting.  The viewer interaction while working on the street is an energy that can’t be matched in the studio.

Covering up the black to give the image some atmosphere.

I found the white a little jarring, so lets cover it with some translucent deep pink.

The elements at the top of the image were interesting but I found their relation to the central image distracting.  A healthy layer of pink turns them into yesterday’s news.

Working with the pink, and now adding blue to activate a new idea of light within the image.  In a painting, the idea of light can be represented infinitely.

Less blue and more pink.  I pull the black down to the bottom edge of the canvas.  Notice how that little change in the composition changes everything.

Pushing the black back, I decide I want to keep the shape in the middle away from the edges of the canvas.

What sort of space is this?

An opening to a chasm.

There is life growing from deep below.  There is life reaching across the surface.

A fleshy form connects the long cylinders and the painting is complete. It was getting dark so the color is a little off on this final image.  I will update this with a better picture soon.

Painting outside of the The Armory Show was a lot of fun and my first time painting an abstract image on location in the street.  Considering the high percentage of art people around I was a little surprised by the number of people who came up to talk to me.   I think people are more inclined to talk about the work when its representational of the landscape.  I did get a lot of people standing behind me and watching, some passing comments of praise, and a few interesting conversations. One of the highlights was when a small boy walked by with his mother as they were leaving the show.  She sped by without looking when he yanked on her sleave and said to his mom “Thats a good painting, right?”  She pulled him along without looking, and he continued to look back until they rounded the corner.

I didn’t get any photos of me working.  Please email me if you have any.

Big shout out to Peg, Salem Krieger, Steve Shane, Kate, Robert Rohr, the lovely mother and daughter from Dresden, and the mystery girl who gave me a bathroom break!


  1. Perhaps my favorite painting of yours. Perhaps it is the sexulaity, sensuality of the pink, fleshy folds… Bravo to you for setting up in front of the show 😉

  2. Hey Brandy, Thanks for the praise. I’m hoping someone sends a photo of me working out there. I like Desert Grove Eden, Keep up the great work!


  1. Back from Vegas – NYC Armory II Painting Process and Video | ARI LANKIN

Leave a Reply