Downtown, San Francisco

By Rob Pointon

Downtown, San Francisco

A major part of the excitement of this trip was having an opportunity to tackle the dramatic height that American cities give. I wanted a vantage point as high as possible and was delighted that our guide book had suggested some public garden spaces on top of buildings. The wonderful sun terrace on the 15th floor of a beautiful Art Deco building at 343 Sansome Street made a perfect location for this painting. Office workers often bring their lunches up to the quiet garden area to get some air, the traffic just a distant murmur below. One corner of the view of the financial district, looking down along Sansome Street towards Market Street, was clearly the most dramatic.

In spite of our elevated position we were dwarfed by nearby skyscrapers. Contrasting bands of dark tinted windows with lighter concrete on the tower blocks either side, pull your eye into the composition like a Japanese sunburst flag. I have kept the brushwork loose and expressive on these peripheries so the eye quickly sweeps to the more detailed brushwork of the street level in the centre of the painting. This is coupled with a device so often used to catch the eye in urban American paintings – the yellow taxi.

Painting detail

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