June 23rd, 2014

The Head House at Copley Square

The entrance to the Copley Square subway station (“head house”) is one of a kind, a structure of filigree flowers and curlicues in cast iron, much like the Art Nouveau kiosks of the Metro in Paris. Constructed in 1912, the head house endured decades of neglect and then was beautifully restored in 2009. Laura Sfiat captures this in her drawing along with the following report:

“This drawing of the station at Copley was particularly challenging. It took me two tries to understand the complexity of the metal works. The impact of the black mass is stunning in real life, and it is so both because of its striking presence in the urban space of Boston, and the exquisite, intricate craftsmanship that went to its construction. The elaborate design of this ornate wrought-iron head house next to the Boston Public Library at Copley Square was designed by the firm Fox, Jenny & Gale.

To approach the drawing, I started by devising a way to simplify. The surface has no highlights or reflections, just different degrees of black, not even gray. I had to incorporate a Payne’s Gray wash to give an impression and create volume without losing the detail.

If I were to draw every detail it wouldn’t be a sketch but an illustration. I wanted it to remain accurate but loose. At the end I wanted to balance the coolness of the gray mass with a warming color. In reality the wall is off-white toward the warm side. I added a person that was walking by to give it scale without being distracting to the whole.” See more of Laura Sfiat’s artwork at her blog City Sketcher – Boston

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

Head House (1024x738)


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