Pearl and the Oyster

Oyster 151124 blog

Oyster (A4, ink and watercolour, 2015)

This weekend I’ll fly to Rochester NY with a brief stopover in New York City to visit a colleague there.

A favourite stop in the city is the Pearl Oyster Bar. After a seven hour flight and another hour or so negotiating the Saturday night subway system with my suitcase, I’ll make my way over to Cornelia Street for a lobster roll.

Pearl is owned by the sister of a dear friend whose guitar-playing skills I’ve mentioned below. Not only is the restaurant a delight and the food superb, it’s a wonderful way to acclimatise.

After a while, seated at the bar with a glass of something white and crisp, surrounded by New Yorkers sharing plates of oysters or scallops, the tensions of intercontinental travel start to fall away. Slowly you begin to feel part of it all – the hot metallic smell of the subway, the sounds of the streets, the unique quality of the city night – rather than just another  traveler superimposed on the landscape. You’re no longer a seat number or someone waiting in line at immigration or hurtling under the city in a subway train. You melt into the city and it gently enfolds you. You are there.

This ink and watercolour painting of an oyster should be seen as semi-abstract. Rebecca Charles would never serve something coloured like this at Pearl’s – it’s an excuse to use pigment and ink and masking fluid to create an oyster-like shape rather than a realistic depiction. The three little capers look rather Japanese, don’t you think? I was rather proud of those!

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