When I sit down to work, my hand automatically starts drawing shapes of buildings and cities. Itâ€™s been an enjoyable habit of mine over the years. Occasionally I view it as a comfort zone, and though that may be true, itâ€™s also true that thereâ€™s always more to explore within the subject matter. Iâ€™ve never managed to be completely successful in portraying exactly what it was I was searching for. Until that happens, Iâ€™ll probably keep trying. This piece was one of those attempts.
Initially I was working with a fairly ordinary view of a city (Fig.01 â€" 03). After shifting through several moods, from a gray city to a green one and then back again, I arrived at Fig.04. In scale itâ€™s fairly similar to what we might find in our cities today; skyscrapers with normal proportions, highways and a dense urban sprawl. I liked the textures and color tones, however I was hoping to discover something more otherworldly and extreme in scale. Thatâ€™s when the idea for a new composition came.
I had a sudden urge to strip apart the painting and rearrange the pieces at different angles on a new canvas (Fig.05). I see each step in the painting process as the potential foundation for a new idea I may not have imagined by staring at a blank canvas. Even though the result of my initial efforts didnâ€™t appeal to me, it led to a new idea and that made it worth painting.
This quick mock-up quickly became the basis for my final image. After a short while I had laid down the basic composition, placing an emphasis on the curve-like flow of the railway tracks below and the highway overpass above (Fig.06). By keeping the painting vague my mindâ€™s eye was able to see detail and color possibilities in the textures. I then subtly developed these discoveries into the actual painting and kept molding the shapes until solid structures began to appear (Fig.07).