In the summer of 2007 I began work on a long painting of San Francisco. I've spent the last three years drawing the land, trees and buildings in black and white paint. I began 2010 sharpening up the drawing of Canvas 3, which goes from Aquatic Park, across Pacific Heights and into the Presidio. It's the most challenging part of the city to draw, because there's so much stuff to squeeze in.
I went on to build up the Marin Headlands, beside the north anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge itself got swallowed in the sunset light. I'll pull it back out later. I read that the maintenance crews paint the bridge in a continuous loop; when they complete the last section, it's time to put a new coat on the first. Coincidentally I work the same way, inching across the twenty-eight feet of canvas from left to right. When I've done all I can to the far right canvas, I get to start over again on the far left.
Now I'm in the exciting phase of painting the water, way back east, under Oakland and the Bay Bridge. The attempt humbles me, because water always kicks my butt. I prepared many studies and designed the larger pattern ahead of time. Now I get to stand in front of the easel and hack away at the waves, until they look somewhat wet. The score so far: Water 752, Artist 0.
This north shore of the city is in shadow during most of the year. The sunset graces it for only a few days, around the summer solstice. I board a boat into the Bay each year at this time. I look at the city and the water. It's like having a girlfriend I can only see once per year.
Remarkable. Nothing but master work. A national and historic gift of a project.
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