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Central Park

View from a window on the West Side of NYC

When I first met Phillipe Monaco I was working on a painting commission of Broadway and 21 st. Street. He was passing by in his van and stopped to take a closer look at the canvas.

He wanted a painting of Central Park, something which I’d often thought of doing. I had envisioned it as being done from within the park, but he and Josie

( couple by the grey van on the right hand side) persuaded me not to do it until

I had seen the view from their window, and one Sunday afternoon I went up to see this.

They were right. It was a breath-taking view. When the trees were bare and the hills and shrubbery were visible, I began.

What a way in which to see winter in New York! On Sundays when I worked there, I would sit by their large window and watch the horses and the joggers, the buses and the taxis go by. On days when the sleet sliced through the trees and the joggers ran by in shorts and light jackets, and when the pigeons swooped past the window, I felt as if I were a part of them.

Those were such beautiful Sundays. I would get there early in the mornings when the city was still asleep. Craig, aged 7, and Kim aged 6, (both are next to Phillipe and Josie in the painting) would already have put paper on a stool on which to put my palette, and placed a chair next to the window for me. They would help me move the giant potted plant from the window, and tell me what they had seen from there during the week.

Later Josie would bring coffee and Phillipe would turn on the stereo. All my other paintings had been done from the street. This was pure luxury, and perhaps that is what made the canvas look so peaceful.

I had known Central Park in so many different ways. I had walked through it, drawn parts of it, we had taken our children through its zoo, to the skating ring and the playgrounds. Once we had driven from Long Island with our bicycles in the car and spent the day riding through its winding roads. But I had never seen it from the height of a sixth floor window before and felt its full magic.

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