Oh Denver, I do love you so!
Denver is my current hometown, and the city where I'ver really embraced my identity as an artist. I couldn't do a series of skylines without paying homage to the city where my heart lives.
But in all things detachment is necessary, because nothing lasts forever, not even a bubbling, vibrant metropolis. This piece was all about finding the beauty in Denver even after her inhabitants have long gone and nature has reclaimed her.
I started this work with a particular evening in mind, which I wanted to re-create hundreds of years in the future. The sun had just set on a beautiful bright sunny day, and as the full moon rose over the mountains it reflected the light of the setting sun. The city sparkled bright clear light from the moon, and the mountains reflected the colors of the sunset. It was a transition that I wanted to capture on paper!
Step 1: I wanted to stick with some of the style elements that I developed in "Postcards from the Future: Chicago", Including the Art Nouveau inspired border. I went with a more loose and flowing border for this piece, in large part a nod to the general vibe of the city as it is today.
Step 2: I developed the border to include a floral element at the top center. I went with a styilized columbine flower, always a favorite to see on hikes out here. My font choice on this one also came down to the vibe that I feel living in this city. And with the general energy of this piece in place it was time to fill in all that blank space...
Step 3: It was really importat to me that the mountains featured prominently in the composition of the piece. I also wanted to incorporate the flower of life motif somewhere within the image. I really liked the balance that came of setting the skyline against the mountains and layering the flower of life over the mountains. The rising moon features over the horizon of the mountains, and I chose to have the moon blooming right out of the flower of life pattern. I decree this composition complete!
Step 4: It's not a post-apocolyptic landscape without the ravenges of time! The last step of sketching was adding elements to the skyline suggesting that the city is long abandoned. And with all that done it is finally time for some color!
Step 5: I used the border to suggest the yellow light of the setting sun that is just out of frame. This is the begining of the transitional elements that I had in mind from the begining.
Step 6: Next, I filled in the buildings reflecting the setting sun. I wanted all the "broken" elements to really stand out, so I left those parts un-colored for now.
Step 7: I chose a bluish/grey for the foreground, already having in mind some sort of collage element to create the reflected moonlight. I also like the contrast between the sunny elemnts and the cool blue field.
Step 8: Before laying a drop of paint on the mountains I decided that I really wanted the flower of life motif to pop out at the viewer. I went with a very muted color pallette, leaving plaenty of room to develop the colors with the next layer.
Step 9: The devil is in the details! The columbine at the top of the piece got a layer of blue paint, and the exposed concrete on the buildings got filled in. I went for a really matte grey for the buildings to really bring out that contrats that I'm looking for on the buildings.
Step 10: Mauve sky applied with liberal amounts of water to create a billowy texture. I want that moon to really pop out, so I left a nice margin of white paper to create the illusion of glowing.
Step 11: Colored pencil time! I finished up the border in a metallic gold colored pencil, and used a metallic silver colored pencil for the moon and the lettering. I wanted the metallic shimmer to be placed throughout the piece, and the gold/silver combo really works with my sun/moon concpept. The skyline got the colored pencil treatment in a variety of warm hues with contrasting grey for the dilapidated bits.
Step 12: I used bright bold colored pencils to outline the flower of life motif. That really brightened up the whole piece! I followed the gradation of the paint to fade in and out of all the colors of a Colorado sunset.
Step 13: Time for some collage! I went with two different collage elements to finish this piece up. I highlighted the mauve sky with a pixilated look, fading the colors so that the lightest colors are hugging that glowing moon. I wanted to bring out that moonlight a bit more, so I added some clear/irridescent circles along the foreground, unintentionally creating some great movement to the piece as well as the illusion of glittering moonlight that I was looking for.
And there you have it, post-apocolypitc Denver in all it's glory!