54. Manhattan Energy

New York City (especially Manhattan) has an electricity you can feel. It’s as if the city is wired to a higher voltage than wherever you came from. New Yorkers talk fast. Walk fast. You wait a half second at a changing traffic light, be prepared for the horn blast. Yet, this isn’t a nervous, neurotic energy. There’s creativity in the air. Murals on buildings. Jazz clubs. Buskers in the subway stations. Art galleries. Theaters. Restaurants. This city is alive with creative ideas. So when I snapped a photo from the bow of the Staten Island Ferry (October 2019) capturing the amazing skyline of lower Manhattan, I mused about what such a creative cloud would look like if it were visible. Not numbers, not letters, not musical notes – I think it would be something “sub-atomic”, particles of creativity. Like fragments of letters, bound by nested parentheses, clustered in clouds that constantly bounce off each other.


Cityscapes don’t have the same geometries as a living landscape. Except for the trees and the bay, man-made objects dominate the image. Yet, I didn’t want to get caught up in reproducing every building, story, window. I wanted to draw the viewer’s attention to this imaginary (made visual) cloud of ideas, like a mountain brooding over the city. I used a thin paint brush to sketch the lines within the clouds, rather than trying to hold an edge on the pastel.


This piece belongs to my #ArtForGood project, where all proceeds are donated to a suitable nonprofit. I’m dedicating this piece to NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund, created to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus. It will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city.


  • Medium Sennelier oil pastels on Arches Oil Paper, 140lb.
  • Dimensions 8″ x 10″, mounted, double-matte (in colors, as shown), 11″ x 14″, unframed, cello-bagged
  • Donation US$150
  • Status Available, inquiries email contact@onehundredpaintings.art

~ by Delfino on 2020/02/16.

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