” Shard and the City ”

05th December 2017

In September I was asked to undertake a commission for a City of London partnership of Chartered Environmental Consultants specialising in urban regeneration and property development projects in the UK. The Shard was a project they had been actively involved with at detailed planning stage and my brief was to paint a panoramic citiscape spanning the River Thames. This needed to incorporate the Shard and the prominent central city core buildings.

It would be an image with two separate primary points of interest. To overcome this composition problem I decided on a diptych linked visually by Tower Bridge and other Thames-side features.

There is no fixed podium existing at present from which this view can be observed so en plein air sketching or painting was out of the question. However I was given free access to a library of very high definition ariel photographs and with permission one of these was used for reference purposes. Buildings had to be positioned with accuracy and be correctly proportioned in my painting.

Visualisation was the most difficult issue which took time. I needed to decide on composition, the degree of abstraction and colour harmony. My customer was not wanting photo realism nor Rothko abstraction. Something comfortably in between.

The commission was completed mid November, couriered to London and hung in the customer’s offices on 22nd November. I am pleased to say everyone was very pleased with the finished painting in situ, including me…, thankfully. Afterwards we all had a celebration drink in the private members bar on the top floor of the Gherkin.

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