These are a couple of recently finished paintings inspired by The South Loop in Chicago and The West Village in New York City. I started by sketching some compositions with charcoal and then moving on to oil on canvas. These are both large-scale pieces - the first two in a new series where I'm working on oversized canvas. One is from my imagination and one is based on a photograph I took.
I was going through some old sketchbooks this week while doing some studio organizing and found an old sketch that I had been wanting to make a painting from for a while. So I grabbed one of the blank 36x48" canvases I had in the studio and started work on this piece. It's imaginary, but influenced both by the South Loop in Chicago and Tribeca in New York City. Both neighborhoods have a mix of old warehouses and new modern architecture built with steel and glass that emphasizes abstracted forms. I've been thinking about the building booms in Chicago and New York lately and how the mix of old and new architecture is shaping the urban landscape. I began by sketching the composition on primed canvas using oil pigment sticks and then started painting with brushes. It's in the early stages but I'm liking where the color palette is headed.
I've gone back-and-forth working on these Marina Towers paintings over the last 6 months or more and now they're done! The Marina Towers buildings are a couple of my favorites and are very unique architectural gems. Created by Bertrand Goldberg in the mid-60's, they were meant to be a 'city within a city' with modern conveniences and to help bring people back from the suburbs to live downtown. Located along the Chicago River, I always try to find different vantage points to admire Marina Towers.
I have about a dozen paintings going right now in various stages, but just completed a couple of new ones. I've been experimenting with more layers but letting under paintings show through for contrast and adding thicker paint to different areas of the surface. I'm also enjoying a looser working style and playing with some of the more abstract elements of architecture.
Tonight marks the last Friday night open studios of 2016 at the Cornelia Arts Building where my studio is located.
Friday Nov 18, 6-10 pm
1800 W. Cornelia, Studio #201
Art on two floors from 40 artists in their studios, plus hallway exhibitions by guest artists.
There is also an open studios event Saturday Nov 19, 2-6 pm but I will not be in attendance.
Here are some studio shots of recent work in progress that I'll have on display.
I was in New York City last weekend and had a chance to walk around The West Village, Soho, and Chelsea and take a lot of photographs. It's always inspiring to shoot photos while walking around NYC - there are endless scenes I want to paint every time I'm there. This was the view from the new Whitney Museum of Art rooftop terrace overlooking the Meatpacking District and The West Village.
I recently started on this painting of a made up scene; but thinking of The Loop in downtown Chicago. I'm trying to play with some of the abstract elements of the architecture and L tracks. Also, working to tone down the palette a little from the brighter colors I've been using lately.
I've been working on about 10 pieces at once lately and not finishing many but I guess that's because I'm working through some ideas and experimenting a little. Many of my cityscape paintings start out as loose abstracts and then evolve into more representative cityscape images. As I'm working on some large pieces recently, I'm trying to keep some of the original under layers visible and let the layers overlap.
The ideas I'm playing with are the impermanence of architecture and cities constantly changing. Things are in flux - bringing a more abstract quality to areas of the paintings where an older building may have existed and are being replaced by newer structures.
I've been working on a lot of pieces at once on-and-off now for about 6 months. That means I'm working on about 10 pieces at the same time but in different intervals. I can experiment while doing this but also create a connected body of work through the color palette. Here are some of the paintings:
I'm still working on this large-scale piece and I think it will help push me to continue working on larger pieces. I like the physical nature of painting large and how it can sometimes it be more immediate, loose, and like a sketch. For this piece, I'm trying to bridge both a loose drawing quality and combine it with some details on some of the buildings like my smaller paintings. For me, this has also been an experiment in color that I started a few paintings ago and I'm liking how these recent works are starting to connect with that palette. Here are a few recent images of the large painting: