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Stephen Crooks

From The Painter 7 Wow! book, by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis

"My goal from the outset was to create these works as a gift of consolation and of healing," says Stephen Crooks, a New York-based freelance illustrator and designer, when speaking of the series of paintings he created in memory of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. All three works depict the same view of New York City, envisioned at different times in the morning.

5:00 AM, captures Manhattan in the pre-dawn hours, and symbolizes the mysterious spirit Crook finds inherent in the people who dwell there.

7:00 AM, captures the time of day when fragmented sunlight first spills over the city and symbolizes the diversity of New York.

In 10:00 AM, the sun rises high over New York, bathing the skyline in a heavenly glow, that symbolizes the spirit of the people of New York, undiminished by tragedy.

Crooks created the basis for the rows of buildings, the figures and water in separate source files. Then he imported the elements into a final layout file as separate layers, so they could be repositioned until he was satisfied with the composition.

With each painting, he began with the sky to establish the light source and color theme. Then he worked from background to foreground on each layer of buildings, using a favorite painting technique of diffusing and toning down the color of each receding layer. This method helped to enhance the illusion of atmosphere. To add to the atmospheric perspective, Crooks also decreased the saturation of the colors of the distant buildings using Effects, Tonal Controls, Adjust Colors.

In all three paintings, Crooks combined loose brush work with hard-edged areas using the Brushes variants from the Ver 5 library. (To load the Ver 5 brush library, choose Load Library from the Brush pop-up menu on the Brushes palette, navigate to the Painter 7 application folder and choose Ver 5.) He blocked in large areas of color using the Loaded Oils, Coarse Hairs and Big Wet Ink variants of Brushes. Then, to move color around, he used the Brushy variant of Brushes (also from the Ver 5 library).

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