Welcome to Kansas City

Kansas City Skyline by Charlie O'Shields

I figured a virtual tour of Kansas City should begin with an establishing shot, so I decided to try a rather ambitious doodlewash of the primary skyline. At 7×10″ this is the largest doodlewash to date and I now realize why I like things small. This was rough and took much longer! I wasn’t sure if I would finish it, with my short attention span and all.

But I really wanted to paint this image to kick off my tour of KC. I just couldn’t complete it in time to post at the start of the tour. Yesterday’s sketch was just a study for this final painting as I didn’t want to mess things up. I used a full palette for this one and a heck of lot of lines of ink! But this is the quintessential view of downtown Kansas City, so I really wanted to share it with you before we start touring the streets together.

Union Station is the primary building, but if you look in the distance you can see the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts at the top left. Behind it, the sculptural elements that crown the pylons of the Bartle Hall Convention Center are called “Sky Stations”, and were designed by artist R.M. Fischer in 1994. The area in between is called the Kansas City Crossroads, and I think I’ll be sketching there quite a lot this month.

Hope you’ll join me as we visit different places in the city. I really love Kansas City. This is where I grew up and where I’ve lived my entire life. I love to travel, but this is the place I love to call home.

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
48 Comments
  1. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Really, really great. The time you put into it really paid off. N.

  2. Margaret Hunt 2 years ago

    Nice job. Long time since I have been there.

  3. Sand Salt Moon 2 years ago

    Wow, looks like it was a lot of work and worth it. Have a great tour and I’ll look back for more, Charlie

  4. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this! It’s so well done with both the perspective and the paints, and there is so much for the eye to explore. Bravo!

    • Author

      Thank you Teresa!!! I’m so glad you like it! I stared at this one so long I can’t even see it anymore! Lol Thanks for the positive feedback my friend! 😃

  5. Snehal Kank 2 years ago

    Beautiful!!! specially sky, clouds,building perspective beautiful.. you nailed it friend 🙂

  6. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Wow is right! Amazing drawing, and you’ve really set the scene. Now, for an encore…
    This is going to be fun. And how about those Royals? I hope they will pop up at some point! (K.)

    • Author

      Haha! You just pointed out my fear, Kerfe…an encore!! Maybe before the end of the month, but the next doodlewashes will be much quicker and looser…I don’t have time to do ones like this very often! Hehe… but I’m super happy you like this one!!

  7. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    WOWZA! Charlie! This is over the top AMAZING! I hope you frame it! I can see you have put in the hours on this one! I even noticed the fountain in the front. Your details and colors are fabulous! I have never been to your beautiful city. I hope to visit some day. 😊
    P.S. I look forward to your tour!

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! I figured my city deserved a bit of extra time on this one! But wow…I’m going smaller for my next sketches!! Lol You should definitely visit! Kansas City is wonderful! But in the meantime…stick with me and I’ll take you there! Hehe😉

      • Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

        Look forward to it! 😊🎨

  8. kungfunaomi 2 years ago

    Oh that looks so good!

  9. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Hi Charlie – I’ve never been to Kansas City, I’m going to look forward to the artful tour. Thanks for sharing your beautiful watercolor.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Sharon! Glad you’re coming along on the tour! And thank YOU for sharing your amazing work here on doodlewash! It was an honor to feature you friend! 😊😃

  10. kirkistan 2 years ago

    Wow this is great. So ambitious. I’m going tho look closer on a big screen.

    • Author

      Thanks Kirk!! This one was a beast!!… wait…it may look better when it’s not all big and close up! 😊 hehe… I’m actually pretty proud I finished this one!

      • kirkistan 2 years ago

        I’m looking at it blown up on a big screen now. The angles of your buildings are really good. I’m crazy for the all the dimensionality and I’m also really liking the shadows. this looks like it should have taken you a month to do. It is so details. And of course, your skies are excellent. Even the sky reflected in that building in the middle-right: that’s genius stuff there. Very , very impressive. You should enter this in a competition.

      • Author

        Wow! Thank you so much for the amazing feedback Kirk! This one took a lot of energy and I’m thrilled you like it so much!! I’ve never even thought about entering competitions. But a Kansas City Twiiter magazine retweeted it and someone asked if the print was for sale, so that was cool! 😊hehe

  11. jmnowak 2 years ago

    Is that a mosque, with the blue rooftops, top left corner? pause* No! It’s probably a sports stadium…but, then, I guess that could be viewed as a religious temple too! lol.
    Charlie, I like this view, and especially how you’ve shown a reflective surface on the exterior of that building to the right of the station. Yesterday’s brush pen work, to me, is more complete…in a special way!

    • Author

      Lol…that the Center for Performing Arts …I drew the front of it in my first urban sketch several posts back. Glad you liked my reflection…that was my favorite part of this one. And not to worry…I’ll be reaching for the brush pen more! I won’t have time to do many like this one soon!

  12. Kari 2 years ago

    This is really amazing. How long did it take? Did you start with the station? I am really looking forward to seeing more of your city!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Kari!! I started the sketch yesterday and yes! I started with the station. I realized I couldn’t finish it since it was so large and complex. so I did the quick ink brush of the station instead for yesterday’s post. All total it probably took 3 hours. About twice as long as I would ever normally spend!

  13. Jodi 2 years ago

    Ambitious indeed and so wonderful great job Charlie. Looking forward to learning all about Kansas City through your eyes and art.

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi!! Please DO join me. And bring the other Charlie as well! (Even though he’s cuter than me) He’d love Kansas City!

      • Jodi 2 years ago

        Will do Charlie! My Charlie IS awfully cute, but you are too in your little headshot 🙂

      • Author

        Aww thank you Jodi! And now I’m blushing 😊😊

      • Jodi 2 years ago

        LOL!

  14. weisserwatercolours 2 years ago

    …Kansas City, Mo? or Kansas? It must be Kansas–so long since I was in that part of the world (I am a graduate of Stephens College, Columbia, Mo.) and it is grand to see the whole panorama, including the old before the new. How ambitious–and dedicated, Charlie.

    • Author

      Thanks Lance! And it’s Missouri! All the good stuff is on the Missouri side. 😉Hehe…that’s the way we tease friends from Kansas at least. I’d never lived in Kansas, they don’t sell wine on Sundays or at their Trader Joe’s. Lol

  15. Jacob 2 years ago

    Wow, there’s so much to look at! Kansas City looks quite lovely – awesome job Charlie, I particularly enjoy the reflections in that glass facade to the right of the station – neat!

    • Author

      Yay! Thanks, Jacob! Glad you like the reflections! I honestly had no method or idea on how to do them so I just painted what I saw. Happy they worked!

  16. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    This is so impressive Charlie! I have no idea where you even start with something so complex and detailed! I love all the details! This is so stunning! Great way to kick off the tour!

  17. Even though I’m not a Royals fan, I’m sure to enjoy your tour, Charlie. Nice work. 😉

  18. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Such amazing detail! I am in awe of this beautiful piece, such a nice tribute and introduction to a place you so clearly love. Looking forward to the virtual journey! 😀

    • Author

      Thanks Haunani!! They will get s little less detailed from here as I don’t have this much time! 😊😊hehe…but hopefully will give the gist of the place!

  19. Carol King 2 years ago

    How beautiful and detailed. I was recently told Kansas City is the Paris of the Plains. Is that why you recently did so many paintings of Paris?

    I love the skyline and your architecture is great. Love the glass building and the fountain is fab!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Carol! Glad you like it! I actually did all the paintings of Paris because my partner is from there and we go there quite a bit. Just haven’t been able to go back in awhile and I was missing it! 😊hehe

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