Greg Mason Burns

Cityscape Series: Behind the Paintings

These cityscape paintings are some of the first that I did as an artist. It is not a coincidence that I created them when I first moved to Brazil. There’s a huge difference between small-town Maine and big-city Brazil, and it’s not the type of difference you get between small towns and big cities anywhere.

City II – Oil on Canvas (2012)

I had lived in several cities before moving to Brazil, but the level of caution that I needed to exercise with regards to violence was vastly different in Brazil than those other cities. I went from a sense confidence in being calm to always on alert. My job before becoming an artist was as a financial analyst for a hospital. It was very organized. Being an artist requires a lot more flexibility in emotions. So I had two emotional upheavals going on at the same time. One was this sudden move from tranquility to ever-present violence. The other was from organized thought to learning to deal with the ebbs and flows of creativity. These two combined resulted in a feeling of chaos.

City VII - Roses is an abstract, minimalist cityscape painting using blues, reds, and oranges, and sepias on a white canvas.
City VII – Roses – Oil on Canvas (2014)

The end result is this cityscape series. Lots of color, lots of emotion, and lots of chaos. This is what I was feeling when I first became an artist in a world that was completely foreign to me. Now some may think it wasn’t Brazil that made me feel this way, but more the idea of living abroad was likely the culprit. That’s not true, as Brazil was the third country I had lived in outside the United States. Each of the other two countries (Scotland and Chile) had their own influence on my art that was different.

City VI - Poppy Fields is an abstract, minimalist landscape painting using blues, reds, and violets on a white canvas.
City VI – Poppy Fields – Oil on Canvas (2014)

This small history is one part of my having become an artist. You can read more about my more current thoughts on by subscribing to my Patreon page by clicking here. When you subscribe, you get advance views of works-in-progress, first look at new works, and my process overall. This is great for collectors, but also aspiring artists, too. Collectors not only get a chance to build a relationship with an artist, but they also get free work every year. Aspiring artists may also receive free works, but moreover they get to see what life is like for a professional artist. Join me to see more of my work. I look forward to getting to know you, too.

City V - Love Towers is an abstract, minimalist landscape painting using blues, reds, flesh tones, and sepias on a white canvas.
City V – Love Towers -Oil on Canvas (2014)
City IV - Spanish Sunset is an abstract, minimalist landscape painting using reds, and oranges on a white canvas.
City IV – Spanish Sunset – Oil on Canvas (2014)

This painting above has also been called “Spanish Sunrise.” Which of the two names do you prefer?

City III - Water Docks is an abstract, minimalist landscape painting using blues and blacks on a white canvas.
City III – Water Docks – Oil on Canvas (2014)

This final image has replaced the image at the very top. Sometimes artists do strange things in the early part of their careers. In this instance, I painted over City II trying to make it it better. It did not go well, so I tried to create a new work similar to the original. The two works are different. I learned from this that an artist’s work is original.