This site was a private commission, for friends who got engaged on Gapstow Bridge. The Pond is lovely, full of terrapins and surrounded by greenery, the park holds back a wall of old buildings and is one of the most recognisable views of New York.
To see old, attractive skyscrapers like this is a delight because Britain never built as high as this during this period. Art deco buildings set off newer glass buildings and this mix is pleasing.
The design of Central Park works very well, with the sudden change from Manhattan’s grid format; the curvy paths are disorientating, meandering and this encourages relaxation. During the time of producing this piece we staged an impromptu painting class with some friends that had flown over to visit, and we achieved an enjoyable sense of escapism from a potentially intense citybreak.
I condensed the view slightly to bring the bridge into the same image, which leaves people at the very left hand side looking at the view with us.
This painting has been left in a looser state than the majority from this trip as it reached an unexpected state of satisfaction for me, after two short sessions. I had been looking at the landscapes of Paul Cezanne in the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and have been enjoying how he can summarise the majority of a landscape in a patchwork of patterned brushstrokes, and only give a different treatment to the point of focus. I am attempting a similar treatment with this piece, directing our eyes quickly past all the framing foliage of the park by representing it with broad repetitous pattern, and holding our interest in the very different, vertical treatment of the city and pond.