This series of colored pencil drawings was created during a summer spent in Pittsburgh, my hometown. Parkway East references the highway that leads out to the area that I grew up in, east of the city, within the first ring of suburbs. At the beginning of the pandemic I was painting purely abstractions, but over time, during many walks outdoors around the various neighborhoods in which I had been living, I became interested in representing the scenes I was observing. I spent a lot of time photographing the interplay of light and shadow, and the drawings that result from those photographs are a record of my desire to share fleeting impressions of the world around me.
Many of these works are from a neighborhood in Pittsburgh called Regent Square, which was where we spent the summer, and was also the place where I created all of the pieces in this show. This neighborhood is similar to those in Boston that have old houses constructed before or during the turn of the century. There are brick streets and brick sidewalks that have become very wobbly and distorted by time and tree roots. I love the lace shadows caused by the foliage, and the wild landscaping in peoples' front yards. Usually it's easier to walk in the streets in this neighborhood because the trees and bushes and other plants have so aggressively taken over most of the sidewalks.
I have played around a great deal with these color palettes, which is a large part of where I get my enjoyment out of recreating these photographs. My interest in manipulating the color palettes of these works is partially inspired from the other artists I study regularly, like Fairfield Porter and Lois Dodd. The other portion of inspiration comes from a book I have read many times over, White Noise, by Don DeLillo. In this novel, set in a small geographically ambiguous college town, the residents must reckon with the aftermath of an industrial disaster that released chemicals into the atmosphere near town. This disaster has unknown implications for the town, but one result is that the sunsets have become irresistibly beautiful.
McCool's colored pencil drawings are currently on view at our new location
313 Main Street –– Wellfleet, Cape Cod, MA