Life in the City: A Monsoon Mood

A cityscape painting

When people ask me which painting is my favourite, I always respond "Life in the City.” I painted this one in June of 2020 and it provided me with a skillset that I still use today. It is a painting that takes you to a typical rainy day in New York, and it’s the first time I could feel an atmosphere in my painting.

I used Ryan O’Rourke’s paint-along video as a guide; you can find the tutorial link here. It is approximately a 4-hour long video and even though I painted along, I had to pause because some parts are fast-forwarded and I was working on a larger canvas. So this kind of painting will typically take 5-7 days if you are working on a size as big as mine. What I appreciate about the instructor is that he keeps giving useful art advice while demonstrating which really helped me understand what I am doing. I developed skills in recognizing so many colour variations. Can you believe that all the buildings are just painted with the colour Cerulean Blue? This colour looks overly saturated but trust me, if you want to work monochrome, this is the best colour for that. Beautiful tones can be created with it. When you work with monochrome, you basically train your eye to see the values and understand hues.

Another reason I love this painting is that it is painted on an unstretched linen canvas, which is more expensive in comparison to a regular cotton canvas. Linen is sturdy and ultra smooth. I didn’t even need to apply gesso when I was working on this. It had a fine texture, and it was via this painting that I discovered the world of linen.

As you can see in the image below, I changed the reflection of the headlights. I did not like the way it was in the tutorial. It had to be more subtle and it needed more blending. So, for this and other details I also referred to the reference image.

Materials used: Linen canvas, cerulean blue, black, white, cadmium yellow, orange, crimson red.

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