Wednesday, June 08, 2016

New Plein Air Paintings

An Afternoon at Nellie's Lawn, 2016, oil on linen, 10 x 14 inches

Summer is here and plein air season is off to a good start.  As I had mentioned in a previous blog post, Prospect Park has become my painting playground and it has been an enjoyable place to work in.  Unlike Central Park, this place is not overflowing with tourists, which can make the park unbearable, especially when you become NYC entertainment for said tourists and they start to get in front of your view to take pictures, or worst yet, they stick their heads in between you and the painting without asking.  Once a I had a guy breathe on the back of my head, I had no clue he was there and when I turned around because I sensed something funny behind me I almost kissed him.  I was so startled that not only did I jump but I also let out a little scream.  With no apologies he walked away and continued with his friends to enjoy their tour of Central Park.  Perhaps the worst was when a group of little kids wanted to play and run all around me, and little by little they became more comfortable with me being there, realizing I was no harm to them one decided to attack my easel and shake it as I painted.  Their mother?  She was a few feet away watching the whole thing not caring for her offspring.  She was more worried about her picnic and engorging herself.     
Walking Path, Vale of Cashmere, 2016, oil on linen, 10 x 14 inches 

After an hour train ride south to Brooklyn, that's if MTA is cooperative, the experiences have been good so far.  I have been meeting my new friend and painting buddy Charles Basman at Prospect Park in the Vale of Cashmere, a place he is very familiar with.  This secluded European inspired garden is a great spot for anyone who needs a quite moment away from the craziness of New York City.  Whether if you are a painter, a bird watcher, a thinker, or someone who loves to stroll this area of the park can be ideal.  Not only is it tucked away from the main areas of the park where all the locals hang out, but it also can provide shade and coolness when the sun is strong.       

Vale of Cashmere, 2016, oil on linen, 10 x 14 inches 

According to the Prospect Park Alliance, "the story of the Vale of Cashmere, which occupies the northeast corner of the Park, actually started about 17,000 years ago when a buried chunk of the Wisconsin glacier began to melt, collapsing the soil and leaving a divot surrounded by steep walls of earth."  The original designers of Prospect Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert B. Vaux, created an area in this location where it was more kid friendly, with a pool where they could sail miniature boats.  In the 1890's the space was redesigned to what we see now, but over the years the Vale of Cashmere has fallen into disrepair.  The granite balustrade is not longer in place, the only hints of its existence are the end columns that stand alone as witnesses to a grander past.  The fountains have been turned off and nature has taken over by replacing water with overgrowth.  Regardless,  this little corner of the park retains a charm that is difficult to find in an ever changing city such as New York.  

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