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5AM, Aerin, 2020.

24"x20", acrylic on canvas.


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This painting is based off a commute that I made to get to UAF in 2019 and 2020. Its fairly heavily modified from the actual place I was referencing. I didn't reference this photo while making the painting, but I included it because it is quite similar to the overpass I was thinking of. This photo might even be the specific overpass, actually, I'm not sure. My commute went over the overpass, not under, so I don't remember exactly, haha. Regardless, I wanted to make an image that captured the mood of an early morning overpass, not make a realistic depiction of it.

A photograph of an overpass at night. The photo is taken through a car's windshield and the bottom of the image shows part of the dash of the car. The overpass is dark grey and so is the road underneath. The overpass has a yellow sign on it which reads, "16FT 7IN".
A photo of a sketch in a sketchbook. The sketch has pen lines and pencil shading. It shows a view out of a cars windshield, showing the car dash. The car is driving over an overpass, which is flanked with guard rails and streetlights.
Two overlapping pencil sketches in a sketchbook. They both show an overpass at slightly different angles.

This is a fairly difficult perspective to figure out. I was actually pretty bad at perspective before making this collection. I found that almost all of my ideas utilized difficult perspective, so I had no choice but to get better at it. I made a lot of thumbnails to try and find a view that made perspective sense while also showing the road going beneath it. 

A photo of a shaded pencil sketch in a sketchbook. The sketch shows an overpass, with streetlights and a tunnel underneath it.
A photo of a shaded pencil sketch in a sketchbook. The sketch shows an overpass, with streetlights and a tunnel underneath it. The sketch has been digitally colored. The sky is dark blue and purple. The ground is a desaturated teal. The streetlights glow green, and there are blotches of orange from unseen light sources.
A photograph of an unfinished painting. The painting has a dark blue sky and an overpass covered in blue snow. There are grey poles all along the roads in the image. The roads are darker grey, and there is a light grey tunnel going underneath the overpass.

In my digital color study, I was considering adding orange headlights and orange light inside the tunnel. I didn't actually go through with that because once I saw how it looked with the green lights, it just didn't feel necessary. Part of the draw of these images is that they're fairly simple and empty. They're more peaceful when they stay pretty simple.

I love to keep these in progress photos because I think it's amazing what a huge difference the lights and shadows make. I feel like almost all of the mood comes from the light and shadows. They're just weird empty landscapes otherwise.

The unfinished paintings are also satisfying to look at, though. Something about all those totally flat colors and very careful layering feels so smooth and satisfying. Kind of plasticky. 

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