Friday, October 24, 2014

John Thompson's Central Park Series, part 3

The Harlem Meer (named after the Dutch word for lake or small sea) is in the Northeast corner of Central Park, just above the Conservatory Garden. This eleven-acre lake wraps around a bluff from 106th  street along Fifth Avenue and 110th  street to Malcolm X Boulevard. This is a beautiful non-touristy part of the Park. It also is right across the street from my apartment.

Most of the people I encounter along the shores of the Meer live nearby. Locals greet each other while walking along the path at the edge the lake. Families and friends enjoy the view from the benches that surround the lake, or picnic in the grass along its banks. Catch and release fishing for bass, bluegill, pickerel and sunfish is very popular at the Meer. Some of the neighboring schools even bring their students here to learn to fish. While dog walking is very common, I did meet a man one day who was walking his pet turtle.

Painting along the Harlem Meer is always an enjoyable experience for me.  I’ve tried to explore each of the possible landscape opportunities that the Meer has to offer. The bluff has tree covered rocky cliffs, and the shores adjacent to 5th Avenue and 110th street offer glimpses of the East Harlem through American Elm, Oak, Bald Cypress, Gingko, Beech, and Chestnut trees. The edge of the Meer, which is lined with stands of pickerelweed and cattails, is home for turtles and a variety of waterfowl. Depending on the time of year and weather conditions, the Meer may be partially covered in algae. This creates some interesting patterns if you paint fast enough.  By now I have pretty much painted the whole lake, section by section. I also return to some areas of the Meer, over and over, exploring different times of day as well as different seasons of the year.

All of the Harlem Meer series are small watercolors (5 ½”x 8 ½”) painted in bound sketchbooks. Harlem Meer-10 is the corner of 110th street and 5th avenue. I have painted this subject multiple times. It will be the subject of Part 4, in the Central Park Series.

John Thompson

Harlem Meer 1, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 2, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 3, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 4, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 5, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 6, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 7, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 8, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 9, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 10, watercolor.

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