At the start of the fall ’22 semester, craving a creative experience outside the classroom, Grace Elmore ’25 sat on the Slope and sketched the buildings of West Campus—playfully, a bit mindlessly, and (as she admits with a laugh) “really inaccurately.”
When Elmore shared her work on Instagram, it garnered an overwhelming positive response—along with a slew of requests for her to draw other Cornell buildings.
“It made me stop and think: people enjoy this,” says Elmore, a double major in English and religious studies in Arts & Sciences. “Like, really enjoy it.”
The reaction prompted her to explore more potential locations, leading to what she calls the first real piece she did of campus: a playful rendition of Goldwin Smith Hall.
In it, the building’s signature pillars are askew, the texture of trees is expressed through black squiggles, and the footpaths that crisscross the grass are presented more like gently flowing gray rivers than concrete walkways.
Using a technique known as line-and-wash, Elmore sketches in pencil, then goes over the lines in pen and fills in with watercolor.
The process (which takes her about two hours for an eight-by-10-inch work) produces what she calls a “lighter and happier feel” than one might find in acrylic or oil paintings.