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Playing With the Newport Bridge

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The Newport Bay Bridge I (13 x 19) $200

The Newport Bay Bridge I (13 x 19) $250

The Yaquina Bay Bridge, better and more informally known as the Newport Bridge, is one of the most photographed and painted objects on the Oregon coast.  It’s a little daunting to add yet another painting to the stack.  But it’s such a beautiful bridge that I just couldn’t resist.

This is the view of the bridge from the south side of bay standing on the ground looking up.  Anyone who knows the area well will see immediately that I took major liberties with the landscape.  I’ve placed tree covered hills in the foreground, where there is really a grassy flat area often used as an impromptu parking lot.  My reference photo throws the parking lot and the bridge into silhouette against the late afternoon sky.  Trees broke up the flat horizon.  I expanded the treeline into undulating hills.

What I did not remove from the photo was the scaffolding.  Somehow whenever I visit the bridge there is scaffolding somewhere in the picture.  And with the light behind it, I found the scaffolding as beautiful as the bridge.

After transferring my sketch of the bridge to the paper, I began by painting the sky.  I worked wet into wet beginning at the top with a combination of cobalt blue and cerulean Blue.  Moving down the paper I added burnt sienna to the two blues to create the grays of the upper cloud masses.  Then I dropped in dioxzine purple on the undersides and the dark areas of the clouds.  I grayed the violet a hair and added some cobalt to it and washed in the lower cloud bank.  Grayed cobalt brought the clouds to the horizon.  The bay itself is grayed down cerulean.

The bridge is various dark combinations of burnt sienna, cobalt blue, french ultramarine, and dioxazine purple.  The hills are are wet into wet layers of various mixes of the bridge colors plus cerulean blue and raw sienna.

When I finished the painting I was puzzeled about where to sign it.  In the end, I signed the painting in removable liquid mask.  The mask has a tendency to lift paint thus leaving a quiet signature behind when I removed it.

This painting is currently available on-line through my Etsy shop.  Prints available on inquiry.

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High Noon at the Gravel Spit I

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High Noon at the Gravel Spit (8 x 10) $100

High Noon at the Gravel Spit (8 x 10) SOLD

Under the West Salem bridge there is a little sand bar, really a gravel bar. At any given time on the weekend there are likely to be three or four families there and at least one father teaching his son to skip stones. It is an ideal place for skipping stones into the river. It’s a good place for wadding toddlers too.

But looking down from the bridge a couple weeks ago I saw a very different scene. Five or six young men roamed the sandbar, jostling against one another and skipping stones from first one side than the other. There was no real violence, but the boys radiated suppressed anger and extreme restlessness.

Reference IIThis painting is a composite of figures from several of the photos I took of the restless young men. I arranged them to keep the feeling of tension I felt looking down at them from the bridge.

Reference I

The painting is almost entirely poured. The first pour was hansa yellow light, quinacridone deep red rose, and phthalo blue. In the next pour I substituted new gamboge for the hansa yellow and added quincaridone magenta. The third pour I used just the two reds and phthalo blue. For the fourth pour I used quincaridone magenta, dioxzine purple, and phthalo blue.

After the fourth pour I washed the boy’s jeans with phthalo blue and added dioxzine purple and phthalo blue wet into wet into the shadows on their shirts. The little dots are dioxzine purple splattered off the brush.

I think I captured the tension and the pours produced beautiful colors. I’m going to paint a larger more complex version of this painting tomorrow. I like the colors and will probably use them again.

This painting has sold, but I have run a limited edition of fifty giclee prints on archival rag paper.  Signed and numbered prints are $50.00 each.


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