The Road Ahead

February 14th, 2017 - Write a comment »

I used to feel self-conscious if I told someone I was a painter.  Compared to professions like teaching or medicine, pursuing art seemed self-indulgent as everything revolved around my interests, or what I wanted to make.  Why would anyone care about something I made?  What benefit did my art offer them?  It seemed selfish to want people to see my work.  But with time, I came to understand my art does have merit.  In fact, it now seems selfish if I were to make art and never share it with people.

I believe all art has something to offer.  It allows us to experience new things, and expands our awareness of the world, and each other.  It’s a means to communicate thoughts and emotions that simply can’t be conveyed through verbal language.  Art can bring us closer together, and more importantly, show us what it is to be human.

I think the role of the artist is to create work that encapsulates their respective time, and reveal what they see happening in the world.  Because they are so attuned to their surroundings, artists can see “a bit further down the road”, and perceive where things may be headed.  In other words, artists can be oracles.

When I look around today, I see some things that concern me.  Modern society seems to have an insatiable appetite to consume everything in sight.  It’s not clear what will be the ultimate consequence of this activity, but the planet is already showing signs of the negative impact.  I believe man-made climate change to possibly be the most important issue we face today.  And yet we aren’t sufficiently changing our current ways of being.  Instead we appear to be addicted to this non-sustainable paradigm, and it is leading us towards a dark, uncertain future.

How would this look as a painting?  I decided to make a few visual studies to develop my concept.  I envisioned a vast metropolis, with towering skyscrapers interwoven with roads and tunnels.  The scale of this city would be so immense as to dwarf its inhabitants.  The main focus of my painting would be an enormous boulevard full of traffic flowing though a deep, urban canyon.  The overall perspective would recede towards a central point far in the distance.  This vanishing point would be the future that awaits us.

After deciding on a composition for my painting, I began preparing a large canvas.  I wanted it to be big enough to engulf the viewer.  My intention was to have the viewer feel as if they stood within a wide abyss, with skyscrapers looming overhead, and a river of traffic below their feet.  The scene would feel unsettling and sublime.

I imagined a somber palette for this piece.  I started by applying a wash of warm gray onto the bare canvas.  I then began sketching out my composition with a black grease pencil.  Normally I use charcoal or a graphite pencil for my underdrawing.  But in this circumstance, I found the grease pencil smeared nicely with solvent to produce a wonderful, moody sfumato.  It made the metropolis feel mysterious and engulfed in a dense smog.

It was at this point that I wavered.  I had intended to infuse my painting with a lot of intricate detail.  But I discovered I liked the looseness of my underpainting, as it captured the mood I was after.  I decided to put my painting aside for awhile, so I could figure out what to do next.

I began working on an ink drawing.  I wanted to see how much detail I should inject into my painting.  As the drawing progressed, it became increasingly complex.  I added more and more detail, until it became tiresome to work on.  Rendering every window of every building, and the vehicular traffic was burdensome.  I eventually had to force myself to complete the drawing, but in the end, this process was worthwhile.  It helped me recognize how some detail could be beneficial for conveying scale, and a sense of awe.  But too much detail would become stifling.

I resumed working on the large canvas I had previously put aside.  Referencing the drawing I had just completed, I began to solidify the shapes of the buildings and roadways in my painting.  I tried to refrain from becoming overly illustrative.  I wanted my painting to have a balance of looseness and delineation.  I introduced some details, like flagpoles and water towers on the buildings, and different shaped vehicles on the roads.  I even added a few tiny people.

Throughout the city I scattered billboards saying “MORE”.  I intended this bit of dark humor to alleviate the bleakness of the painting, and make it more approachable.  I wanted these signs to resemble an incessant mantra of an insatiable society.

Here is the finished painting.  I call it “Course of Empire”.

Disappearing Act

May 22nd, 2016 - Write a comment »

The process of creating a painting requires sincere focus from an artist.  It’s like a dance of adding and subtracting, where the artist determines what a painting needs, and what should be taken out.  Of course a work of art can be ruined by making poor decisions, or from overworking the image, but this needn’t hinder the artist.  They just need to be willing to fail.  If the artist can remain attentive, then the process can continue until the painting develops into the artwork it was meant to become.

8"x12", oil on paper
Not long ago I decided to make a painting of a massive glacier meeting the sea.   I don’t recall what initially compelled me to take on this subject, but as I had never painted anything like this before, it presented an interesting challenge.  It was certainly a departure from the urban subject matter normally found in my work.

22.5"x30", watercolor & gouache on paper
My initial idea was to have this glacier span the width of the painting, with icebergs breaking free and falling into the ocean.  As the glacier melted, various large things like tractor trailer trucks, cargo ships, and jumbo jets would materialize out of the ice.  These manmade objects would symbolize modern society and its ongoing reliance on fossil fuels, which has resulted in changing the earth’s climate.  In other words, the devices responsible for warming the planet would be emerging from the ice, like actors onto a stage.

IntroDetail

I created some initial studies to develop my composition.  Although this was helpful, I quickly realized the immense size of a glacier would make even the largest container ship appear like a minuscule blip.  I was apprehensive these elements would become lost in my painting, unless the canvas was over 15 or 20 feet across.  This scale intimidated me, however.  I didn’t know if I could successfully pull off such a large painting.  As it happened, I had an adequately proportioned canvas, that was 6 feet wide, ready in my studio.  It had been made for a different project, but was never used.  This felt like a more manageable size.  I thought by using this canvas, I could later scale up my image to a larger-sized painting.

8.5"x4.5", oil on paper
After making a few small color studies to evaluate color options for the ice, water, and sky, I began working on the prepared canvas.  I made the upper edge of my glacier curve in a swooping arc.  I wanted the shape to convey a sense of looming over the viewer, and wrapping around them slightly, as if it were giving a hug.  I thought this could be interesting as it would make the glacier appear inviting, yet slightly menacing.

Intro3

At first this was to be a dark and moody image.  I imagined a strange light falling across the glacier, as if it were lit from within, revealing the shadowy forms of ships, planes, and other objects frozen within the translucent ice.  However the gold color I had used for my underpainting had me rethink this direction.  I liked how the warm yellow paired so well with the teal blue of my glacier.  It dawned on me that, if I made the sky feel warm and tropical, I could allude to the issue of climate change without needing to incorporate all of the vehicles in the ice.

Intro4

After some further work I saw that I needed to make some changes.  Although the salmon pink I had introduced to the sky looked nice, it just didn’t feel right.  The colors were too reserved, so I changed the sky to an intense vermillion sunset.  The profile of the glacier was also problematic.  Its symmetry and uniform shape undermined the drama I wanted, so I gave the glacier a more ragged edge.

Intro5

By this point I really loved how vibrant the painting had become.  It felt almost electric.  I knew I was getting close to completion, but something was missing.  I couldn’t tell what was needed, so I stopped working on the piece for a while.  After a hiatus of a few months, I revisited the painting and determined the glacier was lit too evenly.  It needed more variety in tonal values, so I added some additional highlights and shadows to pump up the drama.  I also finessed the ice to appear more translucent.

38"x70", oil on canvas

Here is the final painting.  I call it Introductions.  I like how this alludes to both the icebergs falling into the sea, and the uncharacteristic sky above the glacier, both of which hint at the issue of climate change.  As with many of my paintings, this one evolved significantly over the course of its creation.  I had abandoned using the manmade vehicles in the ice for the more subtle narrative device of a tropical sunset.  I also altered the colors and composition to amplify the drama.

IntroFinalDetail

I’ve found that being receptive to changing a painting can often lead to interesting results.  By not staying attached to an initial concept, there is room to discover new ideas as a painting develops.  Often these ideas prove effective at producing a stronger piece of art.  If the artist can be a flexible in this creative dance, then their art will always surprise and delight them.

The Shape of Things

April 2nd, 2016 - Write a comment »

As do many artists, I have certain stylistic preferences when I create art.  For example, I frequently have symmetrically balanced compositions.  I tend to favor making objects appear centered in my image.   I also like piling things  into mounds.  I’ve never understood why I do this, but I’ve come to accept it as genuine to my vision.

pile1

A few years ago I started working on a painting consisting of a massive pile of cars.  I think I must have been reminiscing about my childhood passion for Matchbox toys.  My “five-year-old” self would probably have considered a stash of these toy cars to be the ultimate treasure trove.

matchboxcars

My painting portrayed a vibrant mass of vehicles piled into an insanely towering shape.  I was rather obsessed to paint all these cars.  Even though it became rather tiresome to create, the image intrigued me.  I actually found it quite funny.

acrylic on canvas, 54"x36"

I continued working on the painting until the overall shape resolved into a symmetrical column of automobiles clinging together.  I was surprised to discover my image felt more “alive” when I turned the painting upside down.  What had previously seemed a towering pile of cars now looked like a enormous hanging beehive.  I decided to call my painting Hive.

acrylic on canvas, 54"x36" SOLD $2600 April 2012 to Paul Gibson

Hive marked the beginning of a new direction in my work.  For years I had been seeking ways to address important issues like climate change and environmental degradation in my art.  I now saw the automobile as an apt metaphor to talk about these issues, as cars are indicative of our society and its dependence on oil.

Even after completing Hive, the idea of portraying a towering pile of cars remained in my head.  It was a compulsive image.  I soon had an idea to paint a pile of cars as a reef or island in the middle of the ocean.  I would show the car pile from both above and below the waterline, in sort of a split-level view.

My concept for this image was that, at some point in the future, climate change had melted the polar ice to form partially submerged islands of automobiles.  The cars, which were responsible for this transformation, were now in turn bearing the brunt of the consequences.  In other words, my painting would be about cause and effect, or the repercussions from our poor choices.

Castaways1

My initial composition was problematic.  It wasn’t immediately obvious this was a submerged pile of cars.  So I adjusted the vantage point slightly to reveal more of the water surface.  I then decreased the height of the pile above the waterline and introduced more color to the cars.  I also added clouds to the sky which helped to clarify the scale of the scene.

24" x 18", oil on canvas

Even though I had considered this painting to be a study, it was quickly purchased by a collector.  Therefore I decided to paint a new version for a show I was preparing for.  The new painting happened to be larger which allowed me to show more details.  But as I was working from imagination, I wrestled with how the cars would reflect in the water.

oil on canvas, 40"x30"

I call this painting Castaways.  The image is humorous, and yet somewhat poignant to me.  I like that it has lots of room for interpretation.  It’s interesting to note how similar this image looks to the initial stages for my painting Hive.  Obviously there was an image in my head that needed to be expressed.

oil on canvas, 40"x30"

Looking Backward, Moving Forward

January 3rd, 2016 - Write a comment »

As I write this, 2015 has ended and 2016 has just begun.  The conclusion of the year and the beginning of another is sort of like the cycle of life.  One thing ends and something else is born.   This transition sometimes occurs in my art as well.  When a painting I’m working on doesn’t pan out, I may decide to not throw the canvas away.  Instead, I’ll paint another image over it.  Essentially the earlier work will cease to exist, and will be replaced by something new.

Martin

John Martin

Danby

Francis Danby

About seven years ago I painted a series of images inspired by the work of two 19th century artists, John Martin and Francis Danby.  These Romantic era painters created large, sublime works depicting dramatic, and often violent, events like epic floods or terrible earthquakes.  They often showed scenes from the Bible, portraying the wrath of God.  The work functions a lot like Hollywood’s disaster movies seen today.  As a matter of fact, Martin and Danby are said to have influenced the artistic vision of many well-known filmmakers and writers over the years.

FrancisDanby_Deluge“The Deluge” by Francis Danby, 1839

JohnMartin_Wrath“The Great Day of His Wrath” by John Martin, 1853

JohnMartin_Deluge“The Deluge” by John Martin, 1834

Inspired by these three works, I painted my own versions with the same compositional arrangements and color palette.  But instead of the Biblical scenes portrayed by Danby and Martin, I painted modern skyscrapers and cities being destroyed.  This was around the time of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, when the world’s economy was crumbling and on the verge of becoming a global disaster.  I suppose I was reveling in the darkness of the moment by making these paintings.  Things seemed bleak in the world, so I used my art as a way to express the anxiety I was feeling.

oil on canvas, 32" x 45" (uncropped) painted over to become "Fading Empire"“The Drowning”, 2009

oil on canvas, 32" x 45" (uncropped) Painted over to become "Descent"“Cumulative Events”, 2009

oil on canvas, 32" x 45" (uncropped) painted over to become "Junction"“The Merging”, 2009

After completing these images I became disenchanted with what I had done.  I felt I hadn’t painted anything that wasn’t already conveyed better in Martin and Danby’s work.  My paintings seemed too derivative and not distinctive enough to call my own.  Therefore I put them aside for a while so I could figure out what I would do next.  I ultimately chose to paint over the works and create an entirely new series of paintings.  However, rather than fully obliterate my previous imagery, I decided to allow certain areas to peek through.  Revealing the underlying artwork this way created a nice dynamic.  I found it introduced a richness and depth that wouldn’t have been present if I had simply begun working on a blank canvas.

Fading Empire“Fading Empire”, 2010

Descent“Descent”, 2010

Junction“Junction”, 2010

The resulting artwork has nothing to do with the subject matter of my earlier paintings.  However, if you were to compare the before and after, you would see they share a darkness or feeling of menace.  I like to believe these buried images will intrigue some future art historian.  Just like an archeologist digging in the ground, someone will decide to examine one of my paintings and discover that an entirely different painting lies beneath.  It will be like a ghost embedded in the image, whispering secrets from another moment of time.

When Things Are Grey

November 22nd, 2015 - Write a comment »

It’s intriguing how certain experiences can result in a new work of art.  Earlier this year I was going through a period of extreme frustration related to a failed relationship.  One evening I was at my studio listening to Nine Inch Nails and having a glass of whisky.  I decided to make a drawing to process the emotions I was feeling.  An idea quickly emerged as I began making random marks on the paper.

pencil on paper, 14.5"x19.5"

This is the drawing that resulted.  It does a good job of capturing how I felt at the time.  I was feeling trapped and unable to access a different path from the one I found myself on.  My agitated state of mind, combined with the music and whisky, resulted in a rather interesting drawing.  Perhaps it might work as a painting, I thought.

torritpaint

Once a year the paint manufacturer Gamblin Artists Colors cleans their air filtration system and makes a special grey paint from the mixture of pigments they capture.  Gamblin calls this paint Torrit Grey and they give it to artists who purchase their paints.  They also hold an annual online Torrit Grey competition for painters.  Entrants may only use the colors Torrit Grey, black, and white in their work.  I decided my drawing of the interlacing roads would make a good candidate to paint in greyscale.

underdrawing

I began working on my underdrawing.  Normally I paint on stretched canvas, but in this case I wanted to work at a fairly large size so I decided to tack my canvas to the wall.  I left a border around the perimeter to allow my canvas to later be stretched onto a frame.  It took several days to refine my drawing.  After this was completed, I began painting over my preliminary drawing with oils, allowing the graphite to mix with the paint.  The painting began surprisingly fast.  I was able to complete the lower half in about a day.  The rest of the painting, however, took quite a while longer.

gridlockprog

gridlockfinal

The finished work proved quite popular.  Not long after it was completed, the painting was purchased by a collector in Switzerland.  I therefore needed to construct a stretcher frame, which took several days to complete.  The painting was then assembled on site.

gridlockframinggridlockdone

My painting now hangs on the wall of its new home.  I’m pleased with how well it looks in the space.  It fills the wall perfectly.

gridlockwall

A Change of Scenery

September 17th, 2015 - Write a comment »

One never knows where an idea for a painting will come from, but I get new ideas all the time.  Sometimes I’ll comb through an art book in my library for inspiration.  This exercise always gets my imagination flowing.  When I glance through a catalog or monograph on a particular artist, I will sometimes come across an image that sparks an idea for a new painting.

Here’s a painting by the 19th Century painter Frederic Edwin Church, titled “The Vale of St. Thomas, Jamaica”, dated 1867.  The painting shows a rainstorm passing across a lush tropical river valley.  I really like the magical quality of the light in this piece.

ValeChurch

Upon seeing this image, I decided to reinterpret Church’s painting in my own visual language as a negative commentary on modern capitalism.  Instead of rolling hills of lush tropical vegetation, I would paint a landscape covered with massive piles of automobiles and other consumer goods.  The winding river would become a freeway full of traffic, and the palm trees would become billboards.

ValeProg1

As I envisioned using a lot of warm golden colors in my final painting, I chose a violet color for my underpainting.  I did this because, when a complimentary color in an underpainting is allowed to show through, the overall painting feels more vibrant.

ValeProg2

I steadily added more color and details to my painting.  I also made some minor modifications to the composition.  For example, I didn’t like my original placement for the billboard in the lower right corner, so I repainted it larger, with a bit more foreshortening.

I chose to have the billboards in my painting borrow their design identity from major brands like Walmart, IKEA, Old Navy, Goodyear, Mobil, and Home Depot.  However I changed all the brand names to the word “MORE”.  I liked how enigmatic this seemed when repeated this way, becoming a quasi-subliminal mantra.  I’ve been using this concept in a number of my recent paintings.

ValeDetail

Owing to the dark mood of my painting, I decided to call it “The Vale of Sorrows”.  This title was derived from the Church painting that inspired me.  Although I don’t believe I captured the same magical quality of light and details as found in his painting, I’m fairly happy with my result.  From a distance the painting appears quite intricate, but seen up close, you discover it is actually painted rather loosely.

oil on canvas, 32"x45"

I’ve now begun work on an even larger version of this concept.  The new painting will be a triptych stretching 12 feet across and will feature a broad horizontal landscape full of freeways weaving around piles of consumer goods surmounted by a forest of billboards.  Here’s a peek of this work in progress.

landprog

Having a Whale of a Time

August 5th, 2015 - 1 Comment »

As do many artists, I am always seeking to advance the development of my craft and my technical process.   I try to challenge myself and search for ways I might improve my skills so my art can flourish.  No doubt every artist hopes that each new piece they create will transcend all their previous efforts.  I believe this is what compels us to keep going, to create new work.  We optimistically believe our next piece could become our masterpiece.  Of course there are good days and bad days in the studio.  We sometimes encounter roadblocks along the way.  But ultimately, over the long haul, it is very gratifying to witness the unfolding of our art.

Last year I had an idea for a painting I wanted to do.  Not only did the concept interest me, but it seemed like a good technical challenge and this intrigued me.  My idea was to have an enormous whale, viewed underwater, shown suspended above an ocean floor covered with sunken cars.  The main challenge I foresaw painting this image was capturing a sense of everything appearing underwater.  I had never attempted anything like this before and I was not sure if I could convincingly paint shafts of light streaming down through water and dappling across the whale and cars.  Additionally I felt the painting needed to be quite large in order to convey the immensity of the scene.  I often find it frustrating working on large canvases as the painting surface tends to flex a lot when I paint upon it.  I therefore decided to construct a cradled panel from a 4’x8′ sheet of luan plywood.  I stretched my canvas over this panel so I could work upon a solid painting surface with no bounce.

6.75"x13", oil on canvas

Initially I created some small color studies to figure out my composition.  My idea was to portray the whale in profile, with its immense body casting a shadow upon the cars below.

charcoal on paper, 27"x53"

I then created a large charcoal drawing of my idea on paper.  This helped me get a sense of the tonality I was after, as well as determine the amount of visual information I wanted in my final painting.  I wasn’t interested in portraying a specific species of whale, it was more important that it simply feel “whale-like”.  The charcoal study allowed me determine the scale I wanted for the cars relative to the whale.  It also helped me figure out how the vehicles would appear strewn across the ocean floor.

After completing my charcoal drawing I begin working on the full size painting.  Here you see me creating the underpainting in a yellow ochre color.

Lev1

Gradually I began building up the painting, adding layer after layer of greens and blues.  I would sometimes refer to my color studies and charcoal drawing for visual reference.  Figuring out the lighting proved to be the most challenging part of the project.  I found that subtle shifts in contrast made a big difference in how convincing everything appeared.

Lev2Lev3
This is how the final painting turned out.

oil on canvas, 4'x8'
And here is a detail showing the sunken cars.

LevDetail2

I call the painting “Leviathan”.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  I like that it is rather enigmatic.  The piece prompts questions more than it gives answers.  For me this painting is about the issue of climate change, which I consider to be the most significant issue we face today.  The sunken cars represent a fossil-fuel based society which has been obliterated by rising sea levels.  The whale is the lone witness to the aftermath or perhaps the metaphorical “elephant in the room”, referring to this big problem that no one is willing to confront.

Refining an Idea

June 8th, 2015 - Write a comment »

Many artists would say that the creative process is rather unfathomable.  We may know what it feels like to create, but it is a difficult thing to describe in words or explain precisely what is taking place.  As for me, all I know is that it can be a very gratifying experience, and I feel so fortunate when I get to make art.

One of the most rewarding aspects about the creative process for me is that it allows for a constant state of discovery.  Every painting begins as a mystery.  I may have an idea for a composition, or the mood I am after, but I have no idea what the final result will look like.  This is because I allow things to evolve as a painting comes to life.  The image will begin to reveal itself to me and I respond to what I see taking place.  In other words, I let the painting inform my subsequent actions as a painter.  It’s an exciting process.  It can be frustrating sometimes, but it can also lead to a pleasant surprises, such as when a painting turns out better than initially conceived.  And I often find this method of working inspires ideas for yet more paintings.

Last year I began working on a painting of an immense structure resembling an oil refinery.  My idea was for the image to have a dense maze of scaffolding, holding tanks, overlapping pipes, and smokestacks.  I wanted the overall composition to resemble a view down a deep canyon gorge that receded into the distance.  I had no clear idea what this image would look like but I was intrigued to find out.

underpainting

I started by blocking in my composition with a light wash of paint.   I chose to make my color palette grey in order to give a cold, steely feeling to my painting.

work in progress

I then began adding darker tones to define shapes and carve out space.  I decided to introduce a series of walkways spanning the two sides of the canyon-like space.  I thought this would help create a sense of scale to the scene.  I continued to add more visual elements until things became satisfactorily dense. Even though I had painted the details rather loosely, I liked how from a distance everything felt very tight and intricately rendered.

nrdetail

I call the resulting painting “A New Religion”.  My idea behind this title is how so much of modern society seems to be based upon our reliance on fossil fuels. It permeates our world.  I consider its influence and impact on our civilization as being akin to that of a major religion. And therefore oil refineries function as the cathedrals of our age.

A New Religion

Having a Ball

January 15th, 2015 - Write a comment »

I thought I would share some images documenting the creative process behind my recent painting “Critical Mass”.  The painting shows a massive floating sphere of cars.  I wanted this image to feel whimsical, yet mildly disturbing.  My intention for creating the piece was to explore the notion of rampant consumption and excess.

Study for Critical Mass

My initial study for the painting was rather loose, done in a cool palette.  I then began my full-size painting by blocking in the composition in warm, golden tones.

Critical Mass underpainting

Painting the cars proved very enjoyable.  The scintillating colors made me think of a giant ball of candy.

cars in progress

Painting the background, however, proved to be much more challenging.  This was partly because I hadn’t yet decided if I wanted the background to be a flat color like my study, or something more atmospheric.  By taking a photo of my painting in progress, I Photoshopped a mockup using some sky taken from a Thomas Moran painting.

critical mass mockup

I opted to keep the warm palette of my underpainting rather than the cool teal of my initial study.  My goal was to make the surrounding background  feel like a hazy sky full of smog.  This proved more difficult than I expected.  I just couldn’t seem to capture the effect I wanted.  I ultimately repainted the background four times before I got something that worked for me.

critical mass bg

Here is the finished work.  I’ll admit, the painting doesn’t resemble anything like what I had originally envisioned.  But I suppose this is what drives the artist to continue painting.  Chasing that elusive goal of capturing something as wonderful as one’s initial vision, but being pleasantly surprised by what is ultimately created.

Critical Mass

A Tall Tale

November 16th, 2014 - Write a comment »

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.

Dominion