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Botanical Rain: the enduring Endico image



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Updated August 08, 2017 | By Bob Fugett ©2017

360° of Aggregation

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I found the scene above only after days of searching with my iPod, but I knew immediately it was the location of the fabled much recognized bus stop from Botanical Rain.


The reason I kept missing the correct stop was because a commuter bus, just one frame view west, was obscuring it.


When I finally found it, I was "punched in the stomach"  by the almost perfect viewing angle, "Just like I remembered it!" (see: Splash Dash); but it wasn't until I took a closer look, pulling together elements for my compositing example further below, that I fully realized how truly astonishing Mary's plein air by memory had been.


Compare the street view above with the painting below; look closely at the background noticing left to right: the awning, the car, the brick building windows, then in the foreground the straight horizontal bar over the stop; all are in almost perfect compositional proportion to what is found in the painting; don't forget, everything was painted from memory by a budding young artist after only the briefest drive-by glimpse ... amazing!



Furthermore, in order to celebrate the human interest, the attractive woman with umbrella under the traffic light was actually found a mile closer to the Garden entrance, where she was approaching a totally different bus stop (shown above); Mary saw her on the return trip from class; apparently that corner is also the source of the fire hydrant.


The screen grab above gives a feeling for the cavernous space below the train trestle, adjacent to the central focus bus stop, and you can see how the arc of the lamp post closely repeats the trestle arch corners, thus the powerful space reinforces inclusion of the curvature as a cohesive but repurposed shape in the painting.


Here is a fire hydrant found a block away that is close in color; but no hydrant in the world matches the shape of the one in the painting


Turning directly west, in front of the bus stop that is central to Botanical Rain, it is easy to imagine how Mary melded the traffic light under the bridge with the street lamp pole to the right, and how the straight line at the top of the bus stop came together with the straight lines of the trestle girders to create a totally unique traffic light support.


Botanical Rain - Mary Endico ©1979
(9" x 10" original watercolor)


But even if one were to smoosh together bits and pieces from a bunch of location photos, grabbing and pulling various elements larger or smaller, it would still be overwhelmingly tempting to take the easy way out and add some quick and dirty human interest by giving Mary a cameo.

Botanical Rainless - Bob Fugett ©2017
(composited digital rendering from Google street views
plus photo of Mary ©02/11/2007)

I composited the photo above to show how otherwise disconnected elements in the area around the New York Botanical Garden were stitched together for the Botanical Rain watercolor.

I aligned the background awning to match the painting, then enlarged and shifted left the background car (behind the light), enlarged and shifted left the brick building with windows, pasted in the lamp post from the westerly view while adding a secondary copy of the top bar from the shelter a few degrees higher, then I grabbed and enlarged the traffic light from under the trestle, did the same with the fire hydrant from a block away.

When I got to the main figure of the woman with the umbrella, I was at a loss until I thought, "Hmm, that umbrella woman is pretty sexy ... I know sexy, and I have a great old photo of Mary to use."

Did I mention that Mary did all these things for Botanical Rain off-handedly in real time (by memory in a moment), while seemingly distracted talking to her mother?

I'm sure I did.

Does "god given talent" mean anything to you?



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