Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mooney Rd. Bridge

Here is another painting, 14 x 18, oil, that started out as a plein air piece and was completed in the studio.

I was originally going to paint this bridge as seen from up on the road. But after exploring a bit, I found this vantage point down along the creek. I thought it offered more interest, particularly with the tree silhouetted in front of the partially obscured street light. The reflections in the creek contributed another element of interest and served to direct the eye into the painting.

I arrived early while there was still plenty of light. I had to analyze the relative positions of the primary light source, the street light, and objects in the landscape and make my best guess as to how it would look once it was dark. As it turned out, my guesswork paid off. Setting up early enabled me to start in on the drawing and have more familiarity with the subject before darkness set in. (By the way, once it was dark, I used a lamp to illuminate my palette and canvas panel.)

One of the first things you learn when you are painting landscapes at night is in most instances, you have to render the dark values much lighter. That was the case with this scene. I had originally made the darks way too dark, and even though it was truer to the real life scene, it just wasn't interesting. So, back in the studio, I adjusted the values upward a good bit, but left the darkest darks as they were. It is still a "low key" value overall.

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