Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day in New York City. I decided it would be a good day to go down to Wall Street and bring my paint box. With all the momentum gaining more media attention with Occupy Wall Street I thought this would be a good time to try to capture something in an oil sketch.
In a situation like this I don’t have a set plan. As an artist I walk around and look at everything until something captures my attention and I want to paint it. I walked around the entire perimeter of Zuccotti Park with my oldest son. The protesters were welcoming and outreaching.
Construction workers in bright yellow hats and orange vests were hanging out in groups while on their lunch breaks. Policemen and women circled the park at various points. Well dressed business men in expensive suits and tourists galore could be seen in the mix.
There were other artists painting, people singing and playing the drums, some were dancing and others were holding signs and talking to the media.
Speaking of the media, just about every tv station you can think of was there. The CNN van was open and you could see inside. It reminded me of my brother Timmy’s Federal Agent spy van. It was filled with cameras, videos, flashing buttons and a swivel chair for the person inside monitoring all the equipment.
I’m more of a – behind the scenes – kind of person so I decided to take pictures here and then walked down Broadway a few blocks until I reached the Bull.
As for bringing my son and taking him out of school I didn’t think twice. This is the kind of social studies or civic lesson that has more impact live than reading about it in an article or a book months later. The thing about teenagers is that they don’t say much, especially to their mothers, but the looks on their faces say everything.
I’ve always wanted to paint the bull but the handful of times that I was on Broadway it was constantly flooded with dozens and dozens of tourists taking pictures. Yesterday the police had it partitioned off. Because of this the tourists were limited to the sides of the Bull with their picture taking.
I asked the two police officers guarding the larger than life brass bull if I could set up my easel just inside. They said no. Then I asked them if I could set up my easel just outside the partition. They said no you will be in the street.
I crossed the street and sat with my son on a concrete block next to the steps of a building. Then it hit me. This is big enough to set up my easel on. I’m not on the sidewalk and I can see the Bull when the people and the buses aren’t in the way!
For the next hour and a half hours I painted as quickly as I could. I want to thank all the passers-by who stopped to take a look. I’m looking forward to the photographer from Australia to send me a link to his work. And I want to thank my 16 year old for coming along and being my helper and for his patience. Going through the subway tunnels with a wet painting to get to the car in Brooklyn takes s little bit of patience!