Wednesday, April 3, 2019

HANNAH BRIDGE-Linn County Oregon

Oregon has more covered bridges than any other state west of the Mississippi. Pioneers put coverings over their wooden bridges to keep them from rotting away in the Northwest’s damp weather.
I did a road tour of some of the bridges of Linn County one bright September morning and came away with a camera full of reference photos for my paintings.  The large side openings and arched doorways of Hannah Bridge caught the sunshine and cast inviting shadows across the interior.   

After some struggles with darks and lights and then having fun with colors, I came up with this portrait of Hannah.

I started with a sketch which I used to establish a composition and some of the values before transfering the line drawing to watercolor paper.

I put in a loose background of backlit greens and some deeper colors of shrubbery.

Then I added more detail to the trees and bushes before working on the bridge itself.

It was a challenge to avoid putting in every detail of the trusses and beams.  When I felt I had that handled, I started working the with complementary colors of purple and yellow in the lights and darks of the bridge.

The finished product has a nice depth and dimension.  It brings back the serenity of that morning and seems to invite further exploration of the lush Willamette Valley.  

You can find this piece and many more of my paintings here at my Etsy site.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Virtual Paintout re-opened with a tour of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Who doesn't love sky-blue water and white sand? Even better, the Google Street View people took their cameras down for strolls along the beach and rides on the water.  Plus no dealing with crowds, or traffic, or crabby customs agents groping through the underwear in one's luggage. Only thing I missed was the flavor of tropical fruit and the scent of freshly grilled seafood.

Anyway.  After spending a whole evening virtually wandering about I chose three locations to capture on watercolor paper. 

The first painting I did was of a location along a long sandy stretch looking out over the water with sailboats in the foreground and an incoming storm.  No worrying about rain ruining my painting though.  Another advantage of the virtual experience.

The second spot looked like a place to get food and rent beach stuff at an area called Rainbow Beach.  I loved the mango and lime color of the building and the fun idea of cruising around the island in that open off-road auto with the big tires.  

The last location I chose was from a water tour into a bay full of boats and ships.  I was able to stop the ride right where I wanted to set up my painting tools and get to work.  Nobody complained about me making them wait in the hot sun while I captured the scene.

These paintings are posted at Virtual Paintout just one down from the top here--Virtual Paintout U.S. Virgin Islands  and they can be seen with a more of my paintings for sale at my Etsy site.  

September's location is Amsterdam!