Art Deco by Charlie O'Shields

Kansas City is ranked as one of the ten best cities with examples of Art Deco architecture. This doodlewash is of the top of the Kansas City Power & Light building, which is a treasured landmark and an Art Deco structure that held the title of the tallest habitable building in Missouri for 45 years. No idea what the tallest uninhabitable building was like, but it sounds scary.

Art Deco is an influential visual arts design style that first appeared in France after World War I and began flourishing internationally in the 1920s, 30s and 40s before its popularity waned after World War II.  According to Wikipedia, it is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. The style is often characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation. In other words… a lot of lines in a sketch!

I tried this one with just Raw Umber, Cobalt Blue, and Cobalt Turquoise for a very limited palette. There were so many lines and various levels that I sort of got lost trying to sketch all, but it generally looks like the subject, so I’m pretty happy with the result.

Sketching Kansas City has been a fun exercise as I’m learning more and more about the place I call home as I go! I used to work in this building for 5 years, and never really knew about its heritage and design. I had an office on the 14th floor. At night different colors of light project onto this top portion, giving it a reddish glow you can see easily from a distance. (I won’t share the name we gave it as kids!) I’m happy to be a native of KC and I hope you are enjoying this little tour!

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

28 replies on “Art Deco

    1. Thanks!! ❤️😃For this one I started with a photo as you can’t quite see all the detail from the ground. Then I just tried to fast sketch it getting the basic contours (but wow…soooo many contours! Lol) Then I went back to add some darks and shading with ink. Last step was watercolor and I just sort of splashed some on this one. There were so many lines already that I didn’t do as much with color as I normally would. But don’t be I intimidated!! I just started choosing complex subjects on purpose! Once you do a few, it gets much less intimidating! 😉 Just go for it, Kari! You’ll be surprised at what you can do! 😃😃

      Liked by 5 people

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