The research for "Pure Nashville" skyline took me over two months. After studying drawings and paintings of ancient cityscapes to modern day megastructures around the world, my mind was overwhelmed with a panoply of images. I couldn’t find anything that quenched my thirst. Then, I realized that I don’t live, breathe and have my being in those cities. I do that here… in Nashville. This is the city where songs are born—and my first line of this piece made me smile.
Each architect for these buildings has created a masterwork. All I had to do, as an artist, was to choose which structures to paint. I looked into what colors. But I could not make them pop.
I decided to use only black and white acrylics for this piece. I started with the front row of historical buildings but the rooftops to many obstructions, so I cleaned off the tops of those buildings.
This opened up everything and allowed a sense of limitless height.
Doorway to doorway, window by window, building by building I had to make sure the style was precise and the number of windows and doors was accurate. This process gave me the baseline for the drawing. It was so fun imagining the rich history of each room inhabited by people filled with their own songs. As I was painting, I began to see the growth of Nashville spill out as if onto a conductor’s score with the high-rises and the low warehouse like notes running across the canvasses.
My biggest “aha” moment was in the second triptych where that steep jutted shadowed building at the bottom of the painting created a powerful dynamic with the perspective. It confirmed my vision and gave me the confidence to move ahead using that thought process. People would ask me, “Why did you paint this skyline so large?”
Well, it was rather simple to make that decision…physics…
Once I knew the size of the smallest window pane line that I could paint with the smallest brush, I calculated the size that the skyline would need to be and that ended up being four feet by twelve feet. I didn’t have a canvas that size so I decided to do a triptych.
Three 48” x 48” canvases. To get the necessary definition between the Golden acrylic Carbon Black and Titanium White,
three to eight layers of paint were required. One of the challenges was determining which windows, doors and walls would be black or white.
After studying the daytime and night time light reflecting on the buildings,
it was more dramatic to create a black window with a very bright sun hitting the buildings of the city.