Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gramercy's 19th Street

The Block Beautiful

"19th Street Block Beautiful"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Another new painting in the Gramcery - Flatiron series. Today's painting features 19th Street between 3rd Avenue and Irving Place. Known as "the Block Beautiful", there are varied and lovely brownstones, renovated carriage houses and small apartments lining the block. Looking up I often notice many north light facing windows, testament to the time this area was a hub for artists and their studios. I daydream that one day I might live in one of these apartments, but the prices being what they are, there's not much chance of that happening anytime soon. The Ashcan artist George Bellows former home is on the block and these days one can see the occasional rock musician or actor strolling by. I have several paintings planned of this block which I will be posting in the next several months. The building in the foreground of this painting, featuring the two jockey statues, currently has a "for sale" sign outside. If you'd like to live on "the Block Beautiful" it can be yours for several million dollars.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Metropolitan Museum turns 140!

A place like no other

"Sunday at the Met"
Oil on canvas
12 x 9 inches

When I read today that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating its 140 year anniversary, I just had to dig up this old slide of a very old painting that I did way back when of the Met. People are hanging out on the front steps of the Met on a Sunday afternoon, much as they still do today. To be lucky enough to live in a city where this museum is so easily accessible is truly a blessing for any artist or art-lover. My friend Lou used to work at the museum and he invited me to see some of the big blockbuster shows on Mondays when the museum is closed to the general public. What a rare treat to see a Van Gogh exhibit up close in an uncrowded gallery and not have to stand on my tippy-toes, craning my neck just to catch a glimpse. But, there is so much to see and many of the quiet nooks and crannies allow the visitor the opportunity to just soak it all in.

Photo of Met interior

As anyone who has followed this blog knows, I'm partial to the architecture of the Beaux Arts period in architecture and the Met is a prime example. This photo is a painting idea I have in mind. I love the graceful arches and contours of this truly elegant building. As the woman who bought the painting wrote to me, the Met is part of our bones and of our hearts. Awhile back I bought a watercolor of the reception area of the Met. I saw the painting and was totally entranced. So not only is there great art inside the Met, but it has inspired artists over the years as well. The Met is truly a work of art!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Cherry Blossoms, Roses and more...

"Botanical Path"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Spring has sprung. With all of the wonderful warm weather this past week I couldn't help but notice how quickly the trees are budding and blooming. A spot of particular beauty in this busy metropolis is the the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The famous Cherry Walk will be in full bloom in late April/early May and the Cranford Rose Garden follows soon after in June. I've spent many a happy hour wandering the BBG, taking photographs and painting all types of flora, fauna and the people who visit. As much as I love painting the architecture of New York, I always try to find some time to explore other subjects as well.

"Cranford Rose Garden"
Oil on canvas
18 x 24 inches

This painting of the rose garden is one of the first paintings that I exhibited publicly. A woman came up to me at the reception and told me that as a child she lived across the street from the Gardens. She also mentioned that it hadn't changed in 40 years. I did this painting way back in 1979 and I'm sure when I go this year to visit once again, the roses will look as beautiful and lush as they have for years.

Oil on canvas
10 x 8 inches

This painting is currently hanging in the room of a friend's young daughter. Perhaps she'll be inspired one day to pick up a paintbrush too. If you have a chance, hop the subway and head out to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this spring. Click this link to check out their website here.