This is my third painting of the Carbit Paint water tower. It stands out to me because it’s located in an upscale retail and condo area that has quickly bloomed in the last ten years. It has been right there since 1955, sitting on a lower building than most other water towers. You can practically stand right under it from the sidewalk (I’ve painted this dramatic view), but you also get good views from the surrounding parking garages (I’ve parked here for minimally dramatic shopping).
The immediate area has low- to medium-height buildings, and if you get in just the right spot, you can also see the skyscapers of downtown Chicago behind it. For this painting, I wanted all layers of architecture so that I could paint with many different values to achieve the right atmospheric perspective. Dark, warmer buildings up front gradually disintegrating into blue haziness toward the horizon.
The reference photo I took was from a late-afternoon winter day, so I got that pretty, clear sky fade from cerulean blue to pale yellow because the sun is low in the sky. A bright but still subdued color palette on top of the darkness of the buildings. And I added one of my favorite elements of a cityscape: thick puffs of white smoke rolling off a roof.
When I finished this one, I had a lot of paint left on my palette, so I did a teeny tiny painting of a different but very similar city view. The water tower seen here isn’t the Carbit Paint tower, but it is across the street. This view is from the parking lot of a movie theater (we saw Ferdinand. Apparently a Peyton Manning vehicle!).
Later is what?
After settling into various desk jobs, I always said I'd get back to painting later in life, and later is now. Again means that I tried once before. I decided to write about my painting endeavor, too, as a learning tool, an accountability tool, and to stay sharp in case I have to go back to a desk job. Again.
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