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Behind the scenes: Dreamscape

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

From top to bottom, I'll tell you everything you need to know about the audience's favorite three piece artwork.

Fior De La Cruz's 3 panel art piece, Dreamscape.

the rundown

My cousin currently lives in New York. She had just moved into a new apartment, where she was looking to add a little spice to her empty living room. So, she contacted me and said: "hey, I really like the stuff you've been putting out there. I really want to support your work. You think you can make me something for my living room?". Now, I was extremely excited for the opportunity, and of course I was like "hell yeah!". From there, we discussed sizing options, color options, budget, and of course the most important topic - what do we want it to look like?

Stephanie was pretty unsure of what she generally wanted the composition to look like, but knew that she wanted the colorway to be neutral. A store bought three piece panel already resided in her home was approximately 15" x 35" each. We then agreed to make it similar in size. I thought, "let's just make it even. Does 14" x 32" sound good?". She says, "well, you're the artist. You can do anything you think looks best with the décor I have right now. I like your piece Planet Underwater, can you do something along those lines?" Immediately, I knew I had to make it about her love for the city. With my work, I try my very best to make it personal to the client.


Firstly, I started off with brainstorming ideas, and quickly came up with thumbnail sketches.

Here's me jotting down my "notes". I grab my markers and try my best to map out what I'm thinking. On the left, the sketches are ideas I had before I was inspired by "NY". The image on the right, is when the idea hit me. She liked the first set on the left, but wanted more browns to be included. So, then the sketch on the right was like a "revamp". She liked the design and colors on the right. However, she did not like the circles. That is completely fine. I do not take criticism to heart at all, as it helps me figure out what the client wants. My goal is to make sure that in the end, the client loves and is satisfied with the finished piece. I decided to use the heavy brushstrokes, discard the use of circles, and make it along the lines of a "city scape".

supplies used

Once I had a general idea of what I wanted it to look like, I quickly gathered supplies. If you're looking to get art supplies, I highly recommend jerry's artarama. It is a discounted art store, and if you sign up at the store for the discount card you'll receive 10% off every purchase. So, go ahead and take advantage of that. This is not an ad by the way.

Anyways, here's what I used:


I started off assembling the three canvas frames by playing tetris with the stretcher bars. Then, cut the canvas, stretched and stapled each frame, and finally, applied the gesso to each canvas.

Once the gesso dried, I started working in layers. I knew that I wanted each canvas to be different colors. That way, the client would be able to use any frame as a standalone. The colorway idea sparked up another thought: "what if I made each one represent a phase of the day? Sunrise, Day, and Night?" Immediately I started mixing colors. During sunrise, the sky is usually a bit more on "orange-y" side. But now I have to think in terms of neutral colors. So I decided to go with a warm tan. Midday is where the sun is most intense. When the sun is too bright - you see white. For the last panel I decided to go with a warm taupe. Night time it's cooler - grey, blue or purple-y. I provided some examples - exclusively from my camera roll.

These are colors extracted from the images. The colors are not exact (I mixed them to my liking). Since I paint in layers, I started off by painting each frame it's own background color. Once that dried, I took both the white and black sculpting acrylic paint down on each and smeared it in an upward direction. Added brushstrokes of brown, and sprayed some gold. I repeated the steps until I got the desired texture I was looking for. I used a spray bottle to get the drip effect, seen below.

From there, I added the rectangles in between the brushstrokes to add more shape to the "skyline". Then, I added squares in the sky for sunrise (sun) and night (moon). I've been really into Minecraft lately, so it seems like I was subconsciously inspired by it. I liked how the piece came out, but I wish I used tape so that the squares were straighter. But of course, I insist on doing things freehand. After that, I retouched the background, made adjustments, and sprayed the edges of the canvas gold to give it a little bit of spice. Finally, I drew in the map at the bottom of the middle panel and varnished all three canvases.

naming the artwork

I wanted to make a piece of artwork that would feel timeless. Something that reminded her of the good times she had in the city, if she ever decided to move away. New York is meaningful to my cousin as she went there to follow her dreams. She already loved the city, so after she completed her undergrad at URI, she wanted a fresh start. Eventually, she moved out of lil Rhody, went to grad school, and now works a job that she's proud of. She's a huge Alicia Keys fan; the middle panel was inspired of "girl on fire" (city on fire) and of course, the entire piece is a abstract painting of her "concrete jungle where dreams are made of". I decided to go with the name "Dreamscape" because it seemed whimsical but I also think its pretty fitting to her story. I mean, New York is a place where people go to follow their dreams. But at the same time, New York is just a whole mystery box on its own. You'll never know what you're gonna get on a daily basis - from people fighting in subways to finding random treasures on sidewalks.

Let me know what you think of the first post! Leave some questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions (content wise) down below. If you'd like me to address anything specifically also drop a comment. Leave a like if you enjoy the content, and see you next Friday! :) Keep a look out on IG for new art projects too!

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