In a city as bustling and overbuilt as New York, it’s easy to forget this metropolis’ roots as a port city, and that all boroughs but the Bronx are islands. The timeless beauty of NYC’s watery surroundings are not lost on artist Janice McDonnell, who has produced a series of paintings of the Brooklyn waterfront. “It started out as just documenting to enjoy myself,” McDonell said. That’s how it started, but the more she got into it from her Dumbo studio, the more the combination of buildings near the broad harbor and their contrast to the sky began to resonate with her. Ahead, see Janice’s paintings and hear all about her inspiration and process.
Before the series, McDonnell would simply get distracted by the water from her Dumbo studio. “I didn’t really do anything with landscape but I would stare out my window and watch the tugboats go by on the East River. It was a great procrastination thing, but it was also very peaceful,” she said in an interview. It wasn’t until one day when she was biking through Red Hook, where her current studio is, that she realized how inspiring she found the landscape on the borough’s edge. She was struck by “the nature of New York and being an artist in New York – you just know that you’re going to have to move on eventually,” and decided she “should start painting here before it’s changed or I’m gone.”
I think the industrial part that’s kind of appealing to me is the swarms and shapes, and just that mankind ingenuity. It’s usually in these areas that are not overly populated, because it’s usually somewhat dangerous, that there’s this nature and man, and these things are becoming no longer relevant. The nature’s kind of creeping back in and taking it back over.
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