Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Latte Under the Golden Trees

Cup of the Day #40
Midtown Grid by Gwyneth Leech, 2009
Colored ink on white paper coffee cup

Here's the thing about New York - this big beautiful city stretches away in every direction, a vast candy box of delights - new sights and sounds to be had by walking just a little or taking a short subway ride to a new place. Yet, we run like hamsters on our usual routes until we don't see the exrtraordinary ordinary any more.

Kimon Nicoliades, in the Natural Way to Draw, sets the advanced student on a quest to train the eye - go out and look, come back and draw. My mother was a great adherent and did some of her most marvelous travel paintings after she got home again.

Julia Cameron, in the Artist's Way makes the Artist's Date a central tennat of her work book. Go forth to do anything that pleases you once a week, but keep your eyes and ears open. Once back in the studio the ideas will flow.

Well, my Artist's Date right now is a twice weekly trip to Columbus Circle for physical therapy on the left (drawing hand) elbow - now finally on the mend months after the grocery-carrying tendon strain. Here in the offices of Professional PT, deep in the bowels of the Time Warner building below Whole Foods, I submit to the strecthing, pummeling, weight ligfting and icing by a team of therapists and assistants.

Then aching and exhausted from supination and pronation wrist exercises and biceps curls with giant weights (OK, 1 lb in each hand) I stagger across Columbus Circle to buy a croissant and a latte from Café Ferrara's kiosk outpost at the entrance to Central Park. Then I wander with eyes lifted up to the magnificant trees and across the green lawns carpeted with golden leaves where figures seated on rocks and benches give a great feeling of depth and distance.

30 minutes later, brimful of ideas, I am ready to take the subway down to the painting studio for a day in front of the canvas.

October Day on the Mall
Central Park, 2010
Photo by Gwyneth Leech


  1. Gwyneth, You have given me "cream" with my coffee today. I have taken in your landscape and have bern enriched by it.
    Stephanie Brody-Lederman

  2. Stephanie and Rowen,

    Thank you both for the "sugar"!