Coit Tower

24″ x 18″ on 140 lb. watercolor paper
Private Collection

I took the reference photo for this painting in San Francisco last spring. We were standing at the top of Lombard Street (the crooked part) looking east to Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge in the background. I did a quick sketch at the time and forgot about it.I decided to try this as a large painting (24″ x 18″) and have mixed feelings about the results. On the one hand I like the contrasts of the shadows on the streets, the trees and the tower. The hundreds of buildings I’m not sure about. I don’t know if they are too detailed or not detailed enough. They look a bit cartoonish to me.
I took some artistic license and took one or two buildings out of the picture to enhance the composition. I started by painting the sky then the trees. There are probably 40-50 trees in the picture. I continued to darken the trees and shadows until I had what felt like the right contrast. I then began working on the buildings. There are probably 100+ buildings that needed, in someway, to be defined as three dimensional without too much detail. I tried to mix up the colors of the buildngs without creating a rainbow effect. In reality, many of buildings are white or shades of white. Adding darks behind and to the left of buildings help them to pop out a bit.

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One Response to Coit Tower

  1. Tim–

    This paining turned out beautifully. I love San Francisco scenes and I love the Coit Tower. Your trees and greens are great and buildings came out very nice. I recently posted a painting on the Golden Gate Bridge. I want to do another of Coit Tower. By the way, since I discovered you live in Eugene, I wonder if you are a “DUCK” fan. We are. My brother, niece and husband went there so we have become fans.


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