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