Simon Bland

A Blog About Oil Painting

Capitol Hill Seattle

by Simon Bland / Jan 1, 2016 / Painting Cityscape Sky

Painting of Capitol Hill in Seattle

Capitol Hill, Seattle. 9x12, oil on linen panel. 2015

This is the view from one of the windows in our apartment in Seattle, painted on a re-used linen panel that had been worn smooth by the sanding and re-priming.

The abstract idea is a cityscape as a landscape: the field of buildings in place of a field of grass, the tall man-made structures a substitute for trees. It felt like a good way to mark the artistic transition from living in a rural part of Virginia to living in a city in the pacific north west.

The color choices were different than those I'm used to. The sky is higher and lighter. The summer greens and winter browns of Virginia are no longer a factor in and around the city and the coastline. On some days it feels like everything is saturated with blue gray.

Starting with a simple block-in, it took a couple of tries to get the painting keyed properly and I revisited the sky a few times to make adjustments. The gradated light was especially difficult to get right. Finally, after experimenting with different approaches, the blocks of paint representing buildings in the foreground were applied with a painting knife over dry, dark paint.