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.