A Tall Tale

November 16th, 2014 / No Comments »

This blog post is about the evolution of my painting “Dominion”.

DominionMy idea was to show a massive skyscraper towering over a vast city stretching to the horizon.  I was envisioning a point in time when the growing disparity between the rich and poor would result with the wealthy living in a citadel of luxury, while everyone else would live crowded in squalor below.

I began my project by doing some small color studies.

Dominion studyThe tower was to extend past the top of the frame.   I wanted it to catch the sun while the city would be lost in shadow below.  I also made a study in colored pencil.

Dominion studyAt this point I hadn’t decided what my final color palette for the painting would be but I knew I wanted it to have some golden undertones, so I began by blocking out my scene with some washes of gold and yellow.

DominionI then decided to reverse the gradation of my sky so that it became brighter at the top instead of near the horizon.  This gave a “lift” to the sky so that it flowed upwards.  The tower would now need to become darker than the sky in order for it to be distinct.  After making these changes I began working on the sprawling city along the bottom.

Dominion wip 2I decided to leave certain portions of the city “open” so that the gold under-painting would show through.  I liked how this created a dynamic feeling to the light.   The only thing that troubled me was the horizon line.  I didn’t like the way the city seemed to end so abruptly.  I decided to taper the horizon gradually so that the buildings seemed to fade off into the distance.

Dominion wip 3 Next I needed to resolve the tower.  Up till now I hadn’t determined how I was going to paint this structure, but I knew it needed to feel immense.  I studied some photos of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as reference.  Rather than driving myself insane painting every single window, I decided to paint the tower very loosely, with hints of detail.  Below is a close-up view of the final work.  I’m pretty happy with the result.



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