For the first few days in New York City, we walked around everywhere from the East Village to Central Park in order to get a sense of possible locations around Manhattan. Grand Central Terminal was the first location I settled upon, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013.
People are constantly streaming in and out of the station and it was exciting to be walking down 42nd Street with all the office workers at 9am, comparing my career to theirs.
The usual iconic view of Grand Central is from the inside and the spectacular main concourse. This outsider’s view, in a smoking area for office workers, is full of movement and colour, points of focus and different height levels.
Working within the tall avenues of skyscrapers meant their shadows were constantly shifting with the sun tracking round, giving short windows of opportunity to paint each section in full light. While the sun was on my side of the street I painted the people and yellow taxis in the foreground, then as it shifted over I’d paint the light catching the station.
Using an American brand of Indian yellow for the first time worked well with the reflected sunlight of the golden stonework of Grand Central Terminal.
This was the first time on this trip we had moved paintings around using public transport, as we had been based within walking distance of all subjects in San Francisco and Las Vegas.
I learned lots of techniques on how to transport wet paintings in crowds of people, standing in the flex area of New York’s bendy busses and sandwiching multiple canvases together with spacers.