Black Ice or Studies for an Encaustic Painting / by greg brophy

A beautiful light fluffy snowfall in Central Park

I love the snow. I know it's been a terrible winter, but I am not talking about the kind of snow we have gotten during this winter vortex. I mean snow like you see int he movies. Big, fluffy snowflakes that gently fall and cover the city of New York, usually gray and dirty in the winter, with a cloud of pure white.

Instead what we have gotten here in NYC is this glacial snow that never melts and turns into black ice. Typically in New York City we get snow it looks nice for a day or two, then turns ugly. In past winters the snow would melt in a few days and the city would be back to normal. This winter it has been so cold the snow has not melted in months. It has just been slowly building up and trapping everything in it's wake. The last time I experienced this kind of weather was when I went to college in Syracuse where it snowed in May on my graduation day. Now the city has seen a few warm days (above 40 degrees) and the snow has started to retreat, slowly revealing months worth of dirt, scum and trash that has turned black.

Like the mummified remains of an ancient New Yorker


Last week I started to investigate using Encaustic wax paint with my photos to create some mixed media work. What draws me to encaustic wax is the ability to obscure, mix and collage various elements in different ways ion the same piece. At the same time I was finally able to get out and take some photos in the City again. I noticed the black ice had a very similar texture to encaustic painting and that it also created it's own natural collage with the trash that it swallowed up over time. Today I could see a definite line in the sidewalk from where the ice has receded slowly like a glacier.

The Flat Line of Winters Heart...I Hope

Here is a collection of photos I have taken of Black Ice around the city and if I hear one more person deny climate change because it is cold I am going to go nuts. I know New York is big and it may seem like to some people the center of the world, but the average worldwide temperature has increased. You can also see them in my portfolio.