New York, New York
‘Brooklyn Bridge’ (2018)
‘Brooklyn Bridge’ was painted in 2018, commissioned by a New York couple who are both friends and collectors of my work. It was a commission of great proportions in every sense of the word as this was one of my largest to date, of a very grand subject and one that made a huge impression on me.
In preparation for this painting, I took the three hour trip from Walton to New York City to take photos, to gather inspiration and to see what the 135 year old (at the time) bridge was going to offer. I walked across it twice that day, from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back again. It was a perfect day with the most beautiful bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds.
There are several viewpoints of the bridge that I could have used for this painting, just as the bridge provides a number of angles and panoramic views to the city and surrounding neighborhoods. However, as I walked back towards Manhattan, after stopping for a quick rest up and a coffee, I saw the exact angle I wanted to use.
The Brooklyn Bridge is that archetypal monument. It is a gateway between cultures, a pathway to opportunity and a public place that offers the shared needs of society. It is a symbol of strength. When you stand under those towering arches and hold the thick, solid steel bridge suspension cables that disappear into thin threads, you begin to feel the vitality of this structure. Technically, the bridge was built by hand and is the work of an engineer who was also a great artist. (John A. Roebling)
I decided on the symmetrical viewpoint, well known to the bridge walkers, of the tower with the city in the background. In reality, there are two identical towers but this painting is by no means a comprehensive study of scale, rather a rendition of a beautiful bridge. I wanted the bridge to be seen in perspective from a central position with the converging lines of the cables guiding you into the focal point, the tower. In the distance you see two sides to the city, ‘The Big Apple’, an amalgam of the impressive skyscrapers, juxtaposed against the neighbourhoods and divided by the towers. A nod to the disparity of wealth and the cultural and racial divides on this island of extremes. The Brooklyn Bridge has a spirit that captures everyone to one degree or another. It has moved artists, poets, sculptors and architects and I am just one amongst them.
The Work In Progress
Some interesting Brooklyn Bridge Facts!
Another interesting fact is that every cable is made of 19 separate strands, each of which has 278 separate wires. To install the cables, workers would splice wires together, then tie them to make the strands. It was truly built by hand.