Scribblings in New York

Sorry, I was kayaking on Monday so I forgot to post this then. Better late than never though! From the 11th-13th of July, we were in New York City, being tourists. Here are some scribbles…

Day 1

New York: a city of juxtaposition.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral  rises from the sidewalk, growing spires and intricate archways like vines sprawling up a wall. It sits, wedged between glass skyscrapers, its ornate marble walls that have lasted hundreds of years contrasts with the impermanence of the glass that shatters with one blow.

Central Park, stretches of grass inside a concrete jungle. Juxtaposition of nature and synthetics, industry and free growth.


The skyscrapers reflect the clouds in the sky on their glass walls.

Day 2

New York: fleeting impressions.

Everyone who passes you on the street is completely different from the last and then you never see their completely unique face again because it’s impossible in a city like this to see the same face twice by chance when it’s teeming with new people.

Remembering Central Park yesterday;

There are stretches of green and ancient trees and great boulders protruding next to a still pond, its surface like glass, that reflects the sun that sprays its rays over the people spread on the grass and sitting on benches. It’s all so real and natural and pure in the midst of a city notorious for being man-made and synthetic. Having a haven in the centre gives us a place to reflect on the hustle and bustle of the city. It is quiet and peaceful. It’s funny because as soon as you walk in, the sounds of the cries of cars and sirens and the pounding and rushing of feet become muffled into the silence of nature.

In Washington Square Park;

An old man sketches a jazz band and presents the players with their own personal portrait.

The bustle of the city doesn’t always make it impersonal. Right now, I see that New York isn’t impersonal because its people make it personal.

At the 9/11 memorial;

It’s chilling to think how many people’s lives fell apart here 15 years ago. How many people’s lives were suddenly cut short. How many people whose families and friends were ripped from them and the pain of trying to accept that their loved one doesn’t exist any more. It is eerie how unchanged and oblivious it appears now that new buildings have been built and damaged ones redone. Life goes on. All that is left are the holes in the ground – the empty foundations with the carved names of those lost and the water running to the bottom of the footprint, symbolic of the tears that run to the ground every day because of this loss.


On the Staten Island Ferry;

Day 3

New York: so much art

We went to the Museum of Modern Art and it was so amazing, I was too absorbed by the different paintings and sculptures to even write! I’m going to write my thoughts on various paintings that I saw though…

Artist: John Baldessari

I just thought this was a very thought-provoking painting/statement. It wasn’t exactly art, or was it? I just think that it made me look at other pantings in a different way. I guess that’s what art is, something that provokes you into looking at things in a different way. This did just that but with words on a canvas. Maybe I can be an artist with words?

Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth

I loved this painting because it encouraged empathy. Wyeth painted a woman with polio, Christina, crawling across the field picking berries. He wanted to show everyone what she was going through, having to drag herself across the grass. I like how he has painted it so meticulously with every detail painted with care, to show how every detail of life is difficult for her. I think all kinds of art should encourage empathy.

The Japanese Footbridge by Monet

I just love how he takes all of these colours from reality and creates something new and with emotion. The reds are warm but also loud and that reflects the balance and variety of nature. I like the way he used lots of obvious brushstrokes and has only suggested a bridge, it leaves a lot to the imagination which allows the viewer to find out more about themselves by seeing what they imagine and what they actually perceive.

Girl before a Mirror by Picasso

I just love how there’s a story in this. The way Picasso takes reality and turns it into something entirely different in terms of what the eye sees but taking the truth and portraying it in a new way. In this painting he shows how what we see of ourselves is different from what we are actually like. And there is a lot of symbolism with the various shapes and colours he has decided to use but I’m not going to get into that.

Goldfish and Palette by Matisse

This was a painting I analysed in art in school – it was so cool seeing it in real life.

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

It was so amazing to see such a famous painting in real life, and being able to see each individual brushstroke put on with care. Seeing paintings in person helps you to appreciate the amount of work that goes into painting.

Apparently he was in a mental hospital at the time and painted from his mind. You can see the almost hallucinogenic quality to it and the swirling emotion with the blues. I don’t know how you can paint something like that from your imagination. It astounds me.


Still Life with Apples by Cezanne

This was another one that I had studied in school. In fact, Cezanne was one of my 2 main influences for my final painting in art this year. And remembering the difficulty of finding the right shades and colours to create a realistic form, I appreciated Cezanne even more looking at it in real life. I could see each decisive brushstroke and the way they followed the contours of the forms, just like I had tried to do in mine.

My art folio (final painting on bottom)


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