Monday, October 18, 2010

Prospect Park

Here's a series of paintings I did recently in Prospect Park. I live a block away from the park, and in my opinion, it's definitely one of the greatest things in Brooklyn. I certainly couldn't have lived here as long as I have without it, and over the years I've come to know just about every part of it. Long walks by myself, with my wife, or my kids...it's given me a head space that everyone needs, especially living in the city. I also needed a break from doing paintings of the Gowanus area; more green and less garbage and filth.

I love the light at this time of year, with the sun getting low in the sky, causing those long, crisp shadows. I was also interested in painting these meandering paths which lead your eye through the space. Kind of funny that they're punctuated by garbage cans...can't really escape the trash, can you?! They're all 12" x 18" and relatively 'quick' paintings; about 4-5 hours and usually over a couple of days, which has been a nice break from the longer, more sustained paintings I have been doing.


I have a disturbing story which goes with this last painting. While I was out working one day, I had the one of the bandshell (below) leaning against a tree behind me. As I was painting (the first one, at the top of the post), I see off in the distance 4 kids (probably in high school, about 16 years old) coming towards me on the path. I could tell right away they were trouble; just loud and goofing around, pushing each other, cursing, etc... and not in school at about 2pm. So as they come up, one gets right up in my face..."Whatcha drawin?" Most of the time, painting in public can be really annoying, this being a perfect example. Just by his question, I could tell he wasn't really interested or serious, so I just pointed ahead of me and said "That" and kept working. They pull back behind me, and I can hear them whispering and snickering, and then the kid who asked me the question, runs towards my painting leaning against the tree, and boots it like a football. They start laughing, run ahead, and I'm left kind of speechless and really pissed. "Really cool, tough guy!" I say as I pull out my phone and call 911, just to see what would happen. They keep walking, the operator asks me if it's an emergency...which upon further reflection, I realize it isn't. I explain what happened, and she asks me if I'm willing to talk to a police officer. I figured by the time they got there, the kids would have been gone, and I really just wanted to keep painting. I say "Forget it" and hang up. Luckily he kicked the painting right on the frame's edge, so nothing happened to the painting, except some dirt and leaves got stuck in the paint when it landed face down. I let it dry for a few days, and washed it out with some water. Really made me mad and shook me up....what the hell is this world coming to? Now I have to watch out for some petty thugs who will kick my paintings around while I work? Let's just say I'm looking forward to working inside again as the weather gets cold.

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