Two Cities Come Together

This piece came to fruition from Etsy - a customer contacted me about my skyline listing and wanted to combine two cities into one piece.  The groom (her brother) was from Chicago, and the bride-to-be was from Bangkok.  The challenge she gave me was to incorporate orange into the piece, as that was their wedding color.  Orange is not a color that lends itself to typical wood colors; sorry Cleveland Browns, your team colors are terrible!

I chose poplar as you can find it with more white/green/black/purple colors rather than red and brown.  It's really an underappreciated wood.  I found three good boards after visiting three different shops that had the coloring I was looking for.  You can see the top piece has a great knot and black/purple streaking, so I knew I wanted that to be my sky.





I probably spent more time worrying about how these three boards should line up than I did on any other aspect of this design.  I tried to pay attention to the grain, and how each piece looks compared to the next.  Once I finally got done putting that together, it was time to join the wood (used biscuits for this) and then glue up with all of my clamps.  I need more clamps!


Next, it was on to the actual painting.  I designed the Chicago skyline based on specific buildings that stand out.  I printed out a very large picture of their skyline, and cut/pasted the buildings I wanted.  I put tape over where the skyline would be, and traced out the buildings I wanted onto the tape.  I then cut out the skyline by hand with a razor.  I couldn't really do the same process with Bangkok as their buildings are curved.  It's a real challenge to cut curved lines in wood.  For this I used my die cast cutter with adhesive vinyl to cut out the bangkok skyline, as well as the font for the city names.

For paint, I used the ancient method of painting method known to some as "spray paint in an aerosol can."  I wanted to add more depth to the piece than simply putting orange on there, so I added a gradient black at the base and a little white to highlight the tops of the buildings.

I did the same for the font:

You can really see the purple in the streaking here!  

You can really see the purple in the streaking here!  

Add a few coats of a satin polyurethane and I call it done!  I believe this is my best piece to date (though I always think that!)  Thanks for reading.