Finding Inspiration for “Manhatten Mist” and Poem by Walt Whitman “Mannahatta”

"Manhatten Mist"
Fine Art Oil Painting by Daniel S. Dahlstrom–“Manhatten Mist”


Where does inspiration come from? What is inspiration: “one that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention”. (one of the definitions from Webster’s II dictionary). The artist is inspired to paint a particular subject and hopefully, someone is inspired by the art. What is the story and inspiration for “Manhatten Mist.”

It was a very early misty, December morning in Manhatten, and the city looked surreal, as if it was another world. And not too many people were around so it almost looked deserted, and it was presenting itself as if it wanted to be painted.

Dan was near Grand Central Station, New York, and was just walking around photographing the sights and streets. One of the streets that he was shooting on had depth of field–it disappeared into the mist (low lying fog). The flow of the street had some of the same similarities as the flow of a river, both can seem to disappear into the horizon.

There was a glow to the mist as the sunlight began to burn through it, and Dan wanted to capture this glow onto his canvas. The city reminded him of his landscape palettes–earth tones of browns and grays. His color palette was muted and monotone and his instrument was a brush to create straighter, geometric patterns. Many times he uses a palette knife to create his art, or a combination of both knife and brush.

The city was dismal and depressing that day (later in the afternoon, there was a huge snowstorm), but Dan captured beauty in that scene and made it mysterious and ethereal.

So many people have commented that they know where that street is, and have stood on the same spot that he decided to build the painting around. This was one painting that had to be completed in the studio–the street was no place to set up his easel.

Varnish was applied to the finished painting to give it a deeper, richer look.  Varnish, in some cases, enhances the painting and gives it a very old, world look.

Thought you would enjoy a poem about Manhatten by Walt Whitman: Walt_Whitman_-_George_Collins_Cox

by: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city,
Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.

Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, unruly,
musical, self-sufficient,
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays, superb,
Rich, hemm’d thick all around with sailships and steamships, an
island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, strong,
light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown,
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining
islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters, the
ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model’d,
The down-town streets, the jobbers’ houses of business, the houses
of business of the ship-merchants and money-brokers, the river-streets,
Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses, the
brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing clouds aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the river,
passing along up or down with the flood-tide or ebb-tide,
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form’d,
beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,
Trottoirs throng’d, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the shops and shows,
A million people–manners free and superb–open voices–hospitality–
the most courageous and friendly young men,
City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city!

Thought for today by Walt Whitman:



This oil painting, “Manhatten Mist” is on exhibit/for sale at the Gilded Lily Gallery in Milford, Connecticut…owned by Rosemary Celon-Gordon and Barry Gordon. Hope you get a chance to check it out…awesome gallery, great stuff and the owners are terrific to work with.

Comments are always welcome!

Wishing you a good one,


Nancy (the blogger) and Dan (the artist)
Proud Members of Middlesex Chamber of Commerce


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