Houston Skyline Finished Piece

Unfinished canvas on my counter drying in between applications

After weeks of working on this Houston Skyline piece, I was able to deliver it to its rightful owners before the year ended. The smiles on their faces were my biggest reward. Capturing and translating emotions to a canvas is not an easy thing to do, but when I am able to do so, it is fulfilling.

When someone asks me to create a piece of art for them the first thing that I do is listen and ask lots of questions. The more I know about the personality of the individual, the better. I take into consideration that I will be creating a piece of art that is not for me but for someone else who thinks, feels, and expresses themselves differently than I. Therefore, the more I get to know the person, and the reason behind their requests, the better.

When I was approached about this piece, I was eager to get started because as soon as I heard, “city skyline”, several ideas began triggering in my mind. There were countless possibilities. I have always loved a panoramic view of a city skyline, as I have mentioned before in my previous post, “Skyline Art Piece and Going Green“. The trick was to evoke the right feeling when creating this piece that would reflect someone else’s sentiment about this city’s skyline.

I started by asking where it would be displayed. I wanted to see what the interior looked like such as colors, style and design of the room. This piece was intended to be the focal point in that space, but I wanted to make sure that it tied well with their color scheme and style in a harmonious way.  I took into consideration the lifestyle of this person. I also asked about what kinds of art they found appealing. It was a lot that I wanted to know about them but that would help me find that special something to stamp on this canvas.

After all that inquiry, I got to work. The plan at first was to create an outline. I thought at first that it would be a good idea to do a sort of an abstract outline of the skyline. They wanted a black and white piece. Perhaps it would be great to do something that would look like an architect’s blueprint. It was then that I noticed the stacks of the Houston Chronicle in front of me ready to go to the recycling bin and it came to me. If any single thing could represent the city of Houston, it has to be this newspaper. Right away I started to experiment by cutting out the shapes of each building to form the skyline. I paid meticulous attention to every sentence and paragraph that I was transferring to the canvas. I didn’t want random upsetting words, like, “murder, assault, or obituary” floating about on this piece. I knew that this person loved sports for example so I made sure some interesting words, events, and relevant subjects were visible throughout. The rest of course are artistic touches. Eventually, after layers of pieces of newspaper and different textures were applied I felt that it was completed. After a few coats of varnish the completed piece had a nicely textured surface that gave it dimension.

Completed Piece

I had the pleasure of delivering the canvas and unveiled it in front of them. This canvas was not framed so I made sure that the edges of the canvas were visually appealing and varnished as well so that it could be displayed framed or unframed. I gave them my suggestions on what kind of light to install if they wished and left their home with a smile. I felt fulfilled.

I hope that you liked the results. I truly enjoyed working on it and I am humbled that it was well received in its new home.

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