Up on the roof, San Francisco

By Rob Pointon

Up on the roof


Our accommodation in San Francisco presented a wonderful opportunity for a painting, as our apartment had access to a flat roof with a fascinating vista all around us. From up here it was possible to see the cable cars, the sea, Alcatraz and Lombard Street. Also many film locations were visible such as the Sister Act church, the car chase scenes from Bullit and The Rock, even some of Scorpio’s hideouts from Dirty Harry.

This painting is a morning view. I often try and start something that isn’t too challenging to travel to in the mornings, so having all of these sights upstairs was perfect. Early mornings in San Francisco are quite misty so this painting started around 9.30am until noon over 5 days. I was keen to capture some typical Victorian-style colourful architecture along with the cable car route, and the distinctive incline streets and flat intersections.

The roof was quite a perilous place to paint, with no rails or barriers and I have tried to convey this with an exaggerated effect of the pull towards the nadir vanishing point. The harsh, relatively continuous sunlight facilitated some enjoyable experimentation injecting strong colour into shaded regions.

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