City Scape no. 1 & 2
A few weeks back, I was sharing a spot on lookout hill with a friend (lookout hill is a small park just outside downtown Grand Rapids). I like to go there because it is a nice place to view the city, especially at night, when the sky glows the soft orange of light pollution and the river curls through the city at the feet of large buildings, some with lights that are on; some with lights that are off. This particular evening, the sight of the town below inspired a discussion of what creatures we wanted to see rise up from the river or from behind the buildings to destroy Grand Rapids. My friend imagined, among other things, some sort of giant crocodile-monster emerging from the Grand, and I imagined, among other things, an enormous, rabid city-opossum.
The boards, primed with gesso toned in a fleshy pink color, were left-over bases from an earlier project that I abandoned months before. The subjects were painted from life (the person in painting no. 2 based on myself); the pink base made it possible to fill in the boards very quickly. All the information in the background was done from my imagination, some of it partially filled in according to existing process lines left from the previous project. The little cities were inspired by the storm water pollution diagram illustrated in the Fresh Water Resource booklet. After the precursory graphite sketch of the imagery, I immediately blocked out areas of darkness with a combination of dark colored inks. I filled in the color using a limited pallet and cleaned up the lines with more ink.
The City Scapes are significant to me as an effective experiment in process; each City Scape was begun and completed in just under three hours.