A peek behind the scenes: Skyline Art Piece


I previously mentioned that I would start sharing the process of creating some of my artwork, including the mistakes that I would run into along the way.  At the risk of minimizing the mystery and magic behind the final reveal, you may proceed at  your own risk. You have been warned. 😉

I’m going to be honest. I’ve heard many times that I am too critical of my work. I can bet money that every artist has been told the same. That could be true, but that’s the way I’m programmed. When I start on a project, I have the image of the finished product in my mind. It’s as if I had an imaginary manual in my brain and I’m attempting to assemble each piece of art to look like the visual in my mind. Sometimes it’s a process that takes some trial and error. At times these errors may result in wonderful surprises. Let me show you a little bit behind the scenes.

I came up with the idea to use the Houston Chronicle to create this Houston skyline art piece when I was saving stacks of newspapers for the recycling bin. It seemed meaningful to use this specific newspaper for this particular city skyline. The first “problem” that I ran into was to make sure that both sides of the paper was monochromatic. There must not be any color ink on any side of the page that would be used on the canvas. Why? Because the ink will bleed when the liquid medium is poured on it and it will spread in all directions. I intended to only have shades of gray and black on this art piece. I didn’t think that it would be such a challenge until I started sorting through each page and found very little articles that were large enough to be cut into the shapes that I needed, with the same type/font throughout, and with no color ink on ether side of the page. Luckily I had several weeks of newspapers to go through.


Once I had a plan of action and knew what to expect, it was smooth sailing. The following day when the medium was completely dry, a few spots of color revealed themselves. I was actually pleased with this little “mistake” and I couldn’t wait to add some tint and varnish so I could autograph it and present it…or so I thought. Since the canvas is a bit large, it takes a generous amount of medium to cover the surface. Each time that I didn’t like the results of a shade of color, it would take more paint to correct it and more time to wait for it to dry between layers. I added shadows to the shapes of the buildings to give them some dimension, but it felt like it was floating in nothingness. Then I added more shade to the foot of the buildings to give them a surface to stand on and some shading to represent a little bit of a foggy sky but after I was done it turned out too dark. I mean like…a set of a scary movie “dark”. There’s no Cntrl+Z here, so I began to reverse the process to lighten it up a bit.


I’ll spare you the boring details but there have been a few more mistakes that I had to reverse. So far, I have been working on this piece for weeks now and I’m still not pleased with it. In order to keep myself from getting frustrated, I opted to leave it alone for a little while. I will return to it when I have more of a clear direction.  I decided to test this newspaper technique on smaller canvases with other creative ideas that I came up with while working on this skyline. This way, I have a smaller surface to work on, mess up less, use less mediums, dry faster, and see finished results sooner. I have gotten more practice and a better idea of what direction I should take once I get back to work on the skyline. Don’t worry, it will work out.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *