I started this as a challenge from my brother, who wanted an abstracted version of this image. I knew it would be hard to think of it literally, since it was mostly the tops of buildings in a valley in front of the hill connecting the Cathedral and the Capitol. My main reference materials for the concepts were some skyline pictures of the perspective from the highway and a lot of maps of St. Paul. I looked at an overall map of the city to really understand how the major pieces fit together from my perspective. I used topography maps to understand how to eliminate the hill between Highway 61 and downtown, essentially looking through the St. Paul's west side. The biggest challenge way laying out the bridges coming over the river between the west side and downtown.
Once I got the perspective how I liked, I started to play with color. Since this was meant to be an abstract forced perspective, I started with nearly all primary colors in establishing the forms of my buildings. This provided a very bright base for me to work with, and it immediately removed the sense of realism from my mind. By focusing on the forms and bringing out certain elements of downtown, I was really able to add some life with more of the grays and browns of the city. I wanted to add some life and a sense of pop back to this canvas, so I brought in some inks to add back contours on my structures. The whole piece transformed to something completely different. I was able to finish it after adding in some last details, toning down some of the deeper ink areas, and adding highlights.