Morewood + Ellsworth

I took my walk to the intersection of Morewood Ave. and Ellsworth Ave. on Tuesday, August 30th, at around 6pm. Then I took several pictures of the street surroundings.

At the first glance, all I could think of was; “how am I going to interpret this boring street that has nothing here.” Then I took some pictures anyways, and realized that there are quite a few things to talk about.

What I Saw

I saw a school — Winchester Thurston School, a church — First Unitarian Church, a bus stop, and a few residential houses.

It seemed like a pretty old town considering the age of the trees, poles, and the church. The construction of First Unitarian Church was completed in 1904. Winchester Thurston School is a private preparatory school built in 1967. I guess it’s an old, peaceful residential area.

There was a bike lane on the road and there were some people riding a bike. It seemed like they are commuting to work and home by bike. The age group of the pedestrians was between college students (probably CMU students) and office workers in their 40s. I think I was not able to see any high schoolers because I went there at around 6pm, which is not the ‘rush hour’ for the high school students to go home.

There is a ‘street cleaning no parking’ sign, so I guess it is a well taken cared area. Also, there were constructions going on. There was a house on construction; seemed liked the house was being remodelled. There was another small construction going on in front of the church.

How I Felt

It was a quiet residential area. I felt like it is such a place where ‘everyday life’ happens.

I saw a rainbow sign in front of the church, which indicates that it is a Welcoming Congregation for LGBT persons. I think it is a pretty open and welcoming community in the area.

The street seemed pretty clean and there should be a street cleaning happening by looking at the sign. However, the poles were little unclean and stapled a lot. There was a mixed impression of cleanliness on the street.

Sep 6.

Revisiting Morewood+Ellsworth

Few days after the first visit, I went back to the intersection of Morewood Ave. and Ellsworth Ave. The church, school, house on construction, trees, poles… all of them were still there in the same place. However, it wasn’t exactly the same scene as the picture of the intersection I took few days ago — different people, different car, different light on the intersection.

This time, I visited on Monday, the 5th of September, the labor day. There wasn’t any people on the street. Also, I went in the morning this time, so the atmosphere was a little differnet. There were few cars parked on the side of the street.

White on White Cut Out I

After observing and taking photos of the street in the different times of the day, we now translate the scenery of the street into a white on white cut out piece.

the original photo
white on white cut out translation

I chose the photo taken on a weekday afternoon around 5–6. It was a sunny day and I caught a guy riding a bicycle on the photo. I chose it because I liked the composition of the picture as a whole and thought the bike man was like a ‘cute’ point of the scene.

However, this did not turn into as nice piece as I expected. Due to my lack of skill to cut the paper out more exact, the bicycle wheel and the SUV car wheel ended up having a weird shape instead of a perfect circle.

Also, I realized that I could better this piece by putting more depth into it.

White on White Cut Out II

Then we had a ‘round 2’ of the white on white cut out.

This time, we had to create a composition which is either 8*6 or 7*7. I chose a new picture to trace and translate into a white on white piece. The photo was in the scale of 4:3, so I chose to create a 8*6 sized piece.

I changed the composition. I thought this scene would be a better representation of the street because of it gives calm, peaceful, and residential atmosphere.

This time, I chose to skip and merged some details together and made it a bigger chunk. I tried to keep this simple because the original photo shows some ‘boring’, ordinary setting of the street.

I had my clouds divided in the middle to put more shadow and natural setting. I tried to keep the two pedestrians to be a background setting, so that they don’t interrupt the whole view of the street.

Gray Scale on White

Now we took it to another level.

We got warm gray (not brown!) papers to create the next piece. To create a cut out piece which ‘makes sense’ in terms of distance and perspective, I chose to use the lighter colors for the further segments.

I traced the original picture and then numbered the each fragment. #1 the darkest and the #4 the lighest. This one is the very first sketch so the color matching is different from the final cut out piece

I kept my composition the same. I changed which piece comes in front for the house and the hill. Also, I increased the space between the house and the cloud.

Gray Scale with Color on White

The final composition!

We got to add a color into it. We could choose one color to substitue one of the gray scales.

The color choices

I chose to substitue the second lightest gray with the grayish blue color. I wanted to give a color to the clouds and I thought the grayish blue color would give the dull atmosphere the street has.

Gray Scale with Color on White — Final!

I thought the previous one was the final but…

I realized that the color choice was not the best. Because of the grayish blue cloud, it rather looks like a street where the factories are and the clouds are the smoke released from the factory. The street looked rather depressing than ordinary or dull.

So I chose to changed my color to orange and moved around the gray color choice.

I emphasized the house with the orange color. I thought the house gives the residential and ordinary atmosphere the most in this scene. To put the most emphasize on the house, I changed the cloud to the second lightest gray color. I think it now gives even better sense of distance and perspective with the color change.

As the final stage of the three cut outs, we mounted the compositions on the black mat board. Cutting the mat board straight was way more difficult than it looked. Also, keeping the right amount of spacing between the composition and the border was difficult.

the three cut out pieces on the black mat board

After working on this project, everytime I am waiting for the light at an intersection, I just start to think about things like which is foreground or how I would divide the sections into. I realized that any scene is fundamentally just made with shapes. Different shapes come together and blend in with each other to create a certain atmosphere, environment, and surroundings.

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