“The waterfront is ever changing,” says the painter Janice McDonnell. “For an artist, it’s an amazing opportunity to work from a subject that is familiar yet promises discovery at every turn.”
When she arrived in Brooklyn more than a decade ago, setting up a studio in Dumbo, she was intrigued by her views of the East River, but they only resulted in the occasional sketches of the trestle of the Manhattan Bridge or the nearby barges. It wasn’t until she moved her studio to Red Hook in 2009 that the waterfront came into focus as a subject worth pursuing in her work.
In McDonnell’s paintings, industry and nature exist side by side, brought to life through impressionistic brush strokes. “I love the light, the low buildings, approximation to the New York Harbor, and the weather patterns that make the light so incredibly striking and ideal for a landscape painter,” McDonnell says. “It’s a unique place and I want to appreciate and make the most of it while I’m here.”
Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the Fall/Holiday 2017/18 issue of Brownstoner magazine.
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