Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Glen Theater Project

This is the Glen Theater in a suburban village of Chicago known as Glen Ellyn.  The Glen Art Theatre first opened its doors in the early 1920's and quickly became a staple of downtown Glen Ellyn. After passing through several hands the 1,000 seat theatre was acquired by its current owners in the early 1980's. The new owners seeing into the future of today's megaplexs had the theatre divided in half and then in half again into the four 200 seat auditoriums it currently has.
In its over 80 years of operation the Glen Art Theatre has had its share of moments in the sun. One of which occurred when the 1986 film Lucas starring Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, & Kerri Green was filmed on location in Glen Ellyn. The theatre was featured in the film when the main characters went to the movies and some of the employees were even used as extras. The films midwest premier was even shown at the theatre with all of Glen Ellyn showing up in their finest for the occasion.

It seems like every year some lucky girl gets invited to the prom or some other school dance from the marquee of the Glen Art Theatre. One couple even had some wedding photos taken under the marquee. 

And today the Glen Art Theatre continues its grand tradition by regularly drawing customers from all over Chicagoland to see some of the finest films from all over the world.

I have been trying to sketch this iconic theater for over a year. The first two attempts had some positive energy but I just wasn't as happy about it as I have been on other sketches.
This is my first attempt where I tried to include the apartments above the theater. This first version did not have the upper levels darkened in until I shared this sketch with my sketch group and received some good feedback. By darkening the upper levels, it put the emphasis on the entrance and, therefore, gave the sensation that this was illuminated for evening movie showings. Some of the other feedback was to leave the marquee blank since any movie titles that I put in there would influence the viewer and permanently solidify this sketch to a certain time period.

This second version cut out some of the upper levels in order to keep the focus on the entrance. I still think it needs to have the addition of people to give scale and a much needed human element.

In this third version, I got away from the earlier sketches altogether and approached this building from a different point of view. By backing away, I was able to get more of the architecture that attracted me in the first place. There is less emphasis on the entrance, of course, but I am more happy with the composition.

Sketched with a Uniball Vision Micro gel pen on a 7" x 10" sketchbook from Green Design Works. ©2016 Wesley E Douglas. 

History reference source: http://www.glenarttheatre.com/History.htm