Project: American Noah-1983
Dimensions: 32" x 144”
Medium: Oils on Canvas
Location: In the Collection of William Alderman, San Francisco
Around 1982, I decided I needed a challenge and began trying to come up with an idea for a suitable project. Even though I'd been doing art for a couple of years, I hadn't really tried many "cityscape" paintings, just some small sketches. While working with my mentor, mural painter Dan Galvez, during the previous year on his enormous Street Tattoo mural beneath the 980 overpass at West Grand and San Pablo in Oakland, I'd gotten my first ideas about what could be done with oil paints, so I stapled canvas to a basement wall and got started.
The lighting there wasn't good, so I brought in some battered old WWII lamps, which really did the trick. It was cold down there too, so I had to drag in some old heaters. I repainted some sections repeatedly when they weren't quite right, until I felt that everything was adequately balanced and "dialed in". I painted in the entire sky first. Then working in perspective from back ground to foreground, meaning the objects that are farthest away were painted first, and then subsequent layers were put down over them to give all objects and buildings flawless edges. I went back in later with a lot more edgework, having been inspired by the paintings of local photorealist artists Robert Bechtle and Richard McLean. I showed the painting at a few local galleries and always got good feedback, in general folks seemed to be impressed with it. It even got a