Washington DC Buildings Commission

Meg Biram Capitol Drawing

Wanted to share a recent commission I finished! You might have seen a little bit of this on my Instagram Stories back when I painted it. I saved the stories into a Highlight album called Commissions so you can go see it still if you want! (The image above is just a part of the bigger sketch.)

I love doing commissions and since I’m just starting to share more of my artwork, people don’t necessarily know my “style” yet — which is actually a great thing because honestly, it’s always evolving. It’s also good because I’m not stuck in a certain category — I can try all sorts of things! So I get asked to do “my version” of an idea a lot of the time for commissions.

This client lives in an adorable home in Capitol Hill and she and her fiancé wanted some large artwork for their living room. They knew they wanted two pieces side by side to go above their couch and they wanted it to somehow be about DC. They wanted to work with a local artist, and she said we’re looking for something a bit more abstract and messy and less defined — which is perfect because I like abstract and messy too!

Washington DC Buildings

The concept that came to me was layering DC buildings on top of each other and I wanted to test it out digitally before I started painting. Gotta love the Internet and Photoshop!

I found images of the buildings I wanted to use on the Internet, which actually took a while because I wanted certain angles and needed to see details of the buildings. I took the backgrounds out in Photoshop so I could layer them on top of each other (above).

Meg Biram Washington DC Building Sketch

Then I sketched the concept out on my iPad (the iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and the Procreate app was a GAME CHANGER for me!). I loved how the sketch turned out, so I showed the client the concept and they loved it.

But since they wanted two pieces — 30 inch squares — I needed to reorganize the buildings for the paintings.

You can buy the sketch above as a limited edition print, shop here!

Meg Biram Washington DC Building Commission Sketch

So I sketched out the rearranged buildings in my sketchbook, and once I got them in place, I sketched them out on the actual paper for the paintings.

Meg Biram Commission - DC Buildings - Capitol

I’m still looking for studio space now that I’ve moved (why is this city so expensive!?) so I’m working out of my home office which is a bit cramped for large paintings, but hey, you do what you have to do!

I used a few neutral gouache colors for the background of the buildings, let that dry, then used a black ink for the line work (you can see the product in my commissions highlight album on Instagram).

I used ink versus black paint because it’s more fluid and opaque. I like it when things look hand done, or a little on the messy side. Maybe that’s just because I don’t have the skills to paint super realistically (yet)!

The client sent me photos of the artwork in her living room now that she had it framed and up on the walls:

Meg Biram - DC Buildings Commission

In the left painting (clockwise) it’s the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the White House, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the National Cathedral. In the painting on the right, behind the dome of the Capitol building is the National Gallery of Art East Building (I don’t think most people would probably know that right off the bat — but I go there all the time), the Lincoln Memorial, Union Station, and the Capitol.

I think they turned out amazing and I love how they look in her living room!

Meg Biram DC Buildings Commission in Home

Feel free to contact me about commissions or collaborations at meg@megbiram.com.


Photos of the framed art courtesy of the client.