Urban Sounds – New York by Shaun Burgess


‘Urban Sounds – New York’ by Shaun Burgess is a captivating artwork that depicts a bustling street scene in the heart of New York City. The contemporary impressionist style of the painting captures the essence of the city, with its monochrome colour palette blending seamlessly from blue to grey.

The painting depicts a rainy day, with the street slick and shining in the wetness. Despite the gloominess of the weather, the painting exudes energy and movement, with people hurrying along the busy street, clutching their umbrellas to keep themselves dry. The use of monochrome colours creates a sense of unity throughout the painting, emphasising the hustle and bustle of the city, while also highlighting the contrasts and reflections in the wet streets.

One of the striking features of the painting is the presence of car headlight reflections on the road, suggesting that even though it is still daytime, the city is constantly moving and bustling with activity. The reflections add a touch of vibrancy to the painting, and the blurred effect of the headlights creates a sense of motion and speed, further emphasising the energy of the city.

The painting comes framed in a sleek black tray frame, which complements the monochrome colour palette of the painting and gives it a modern, contemporary feel. The overall effect is an artwork that captures the essence of New York City, with its energy, movement, and constant activity, even on a rainy day.

The painting is a beautiful and captivating artwork that captures the energy and movement of one of the world’s most iconic cities. The use of monochrome colours and the presence of car headlight reflections on the wet road create a sense of vibrancy and motion, while the sleek black tray frame gives the painting a modern, contemporary feel. It is a must-see for anyone who loves contemporary impressionist art or has a passion for New York City.





Questions to the artist about the artwork


What inspired you to paint ‘Urban Sounds – New York’, and what do you hope viewers take away from the painting?

I love the dynamic of cityscape paintings, the energy and mood can be an exciting thing to try and capture for an artist. I want the viewer to feel this energy, I want the viewer to hear the sound of the splashing rain, car engines and a distant siren. If I can get the viewer to use their imagination and  senses to transport themselves within the scene then, for me, it is a success.


Can you describe your artistic process when creating this painting, from the initial idea to the final brushstroke?

Once I have sourced my reference image the process begins electronically on an ipad. I look at what can be improved on. Where can I digitally move things and create a better composition and passages of light. I don’t want to just copy what’s there, I want to take it to the next level. Traditionally, small thumbnail sketches were used for this process. The digital world offers me a shortcut, like the painting, nothing stands still! I sketch in the large shapes then begin to block in patches of light and dark shadows with thinned oil paint. I’m not concerned with detail at all at this point.

As each layer goes on I ‘build’ the painting. I focus on colour interactions and use lost and found

edges to push the viewers eyes and focus to where I want them. Gradually the painting takes shape, adding detail where required, everything is building towards the final brightest hues and highlights. These final touches bring everything to life, a reward for the patience shown in the under layers.


The monochrome colour palette of the painting adds a sense of unity and movement to the scene. Can you tell us more about your choice of colours and how you achieved this effect?

As with all my work, colour theory and relationships are integral to the piece. Here, cool blues dominate and bring the complimentary warm hues to life. I know that getting the correct balance is so important here as it doesn’t take much to overdo it!


The reflections of car headlights on the wet road create a sense of motion and energy. What inspired you to include this element in the painting, and how did you create this effect?

The effect is achieved through the layering technique employed and, again, colour theory. Colour value and hue is also vital here to create the effect. It needs to balance well with the brightness of the reflected sky.

It is really the reflections of natural and man-made light against the deep shadows that hold the piece together. The vehicle lights were needed to enhance the overall effect.


The black tray frame enhances the contemporary feel of the painting. How important is framing to you as an artist, and what do you consider when choosing a frame for your work?

Mmmmm! Framing, sometimes it is very easy to choose, as here, and sometimes it can be as difficult as the painting process itself.

As a professional artist there is an ever present dilemma going on when it comes to framing work. Frames are expensive, probably more so than many people realise, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an unframed painting that couldn’t be enhanced with the addition of a frame.

Personally, I like the less is more approach when it comes to colour and type. As such I find tray frames often fit the bill very well indeed. They look great with contemporary art and, should the buyer wish to make a change, you haven’t lost a small fortune!





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