Broad Street Puddles
Three people wander down Broad Street in Oxford, each set on their own individual journey. The two women on the left initially appear to be a couple, but a closer look at their body positions immediately questions to this assumption. They are both masked, which dates the image to the COVID area era and the focus is differ. I feel one is passing the other although which one is moving the fastest is pure speculation.
The scene plays out along one of the widest streets in Oxford, open to traffic, but heavily pedestrianised with pavement cafes near the retail end of the street, an optimistic proposition in the UK. The scene plays out on one of the widest streets in Oxford, open to traffic but heavily pedestrianised with pavement cafes near the retail end of the street. An optimistic proposition in the UK with its usually soggy weather.
Broad Street is home to many famous landmarks the Sheldonian Theatre, Balliol College, Blackwells to name but a few. The architecture, predominantly stone, and far too yellow in this painting than I had initially planned. But sometimes you have to go with it and see what emerges. Most of Oxford University architecture is stone, and if not actually mediaeval in construction is at least inspired by the mediaeval architecture already present, when the building was constructed.
It’s a contradiction how a modern city can look so old, and its narrow streets, are a source of frustration to anyone who needs to travel. One of the reasons cycling is so ubiquitous, I would say attractive but anyone who has cycled in Oxford knows the dangers such pursuits hold. But I digress, we have no bicycles here. Although they’re easily could be.
Post a shower of rain, the puddles are quite still and reflect the roofs of the buildings at the back of the scene. Deep and dark with abstract shapes which are barely recognisable compared with the origins of the reflections. A paved area have differing slabs and cobbled areas which form geometric shapes, dividing the painting into zones. These take us from left to right, leading to the long low shallow steps ascending to the Clarendon Building, and then further upwards along the columns. These stop abruptly at the top of the painting and we are momentarily lost before a quick search leads us to the gap and a tiny patch of blue sky behind a squat, ornate spire. Lingering for a while, we cannot resist the draw of yet more yellow stone and the facade of the Oxford Martin School on the left.