Cityscape Commission Painting Process

Landscapes and scenes are subjects I have always found exciting to paint. When I received a request to paint a street within the city of Chicago through my eyes, I began filing my mind with possibilities. The fun challenge for me was trying to capture the energetic feel of the city in a static 2-d representation. The final result is an acrylic painting on a large canvas that brings color and personality to its city home.



Once the commission request came in, I began gathering imagery from around the city. I spent time walking through the streets of Chicago, researching online, creating mood boards and sketches. Though these ideas are not set in stone, it helps to create these rough drafts to reference. Having a solid plan, layout, color palette, mood, and other ideas to refer to can help the process go smoothly. These choices were based on what I discussed with the requestor initially and I will often present these ideas and rough sketches to make sure we are on the same page. Since the painting's future home has accents of purple and red, I knew I would want to match the décor with my paint choices. The requestor also mentioned he wanted a more dramatic, bold statement piece (instead of light and airy). This is personal preference and I love to capture all types of moods and settings – it really just depends on the request.


I being to set down my paint and roughly add shapes and colors to the canvas. This is an initial implication of where things go. This step is so important because it helps to see the bigger picture, making sure everything is in its place and ready to move forward.


At this point, the process begins to form more solid shapes. I add in stronger strokes of paint, switching between a brush and palette knife to add texture. When I start to see the painting really taking shape, it gives me even more momentum and excitement to keep going. This part of the process can take the longest, building layers and layers - adding and subtracting colors.


During the last stage, I often go back and forth to look at the bigger picture and zooming in to finesse the details. To create a painting that really goes above and beyond and has its own unique character, I begin adding blended edges, extra fine brush strokes and pin points of light, popping out contrast or colors, and anything else I may think will add personality. In this case, I wanted the painting to feel alive and show movement and energy like the city – each light coming from a source of life, and reflecting on to a million other lights. During this time, I also begin sending photos to the requestor to see the evolution and final product.


Once the painting is complete, I make sure all the edges are covered, sign the front and coat it in a layer of spray varnish. I chose to use a glossy varnish for this painting because the coat itself is reflecting light – which matches the whole theme of the painting. Once the process is wrapped up, it is time for delivery. I think both the requestor and I have strong anticipation and excitement for the final outcome.

Here I am, helping hang the piece in its new home :)

-To request a commission, please visit the Commission Page Here.

-For more info, feel free to read: “Commission Process and FAQs"

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