Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Key Bridge - Part III

I worked under the bridge today.  I only had one building, the Potomac Boat Club, and the beautiful stone wall next to it.  I'm not sure what this structure was but it looks like it might have been the foundation for a previous bridge.  If anyone knows, please let me know. The two areas under the bridge are a lot less stressful because there is not as much detail.  It still took me the whole painting session today to do these two areas.

The painting is starting to take shape.  I'll let this dry. The bridge will be painted in two different sessions. I have to paint the underneath part of the bridge and it has to dry before I can paint the main part of the bridge.  Otherwise, if I paint both parts at the same time, and I accidentally hit the section with the other color, it could make a big mess.  That's why these paintings take so long.  I paint a section, then I have to let it dry.    

Monday, September 8, 2014

Key Bridge - Part II

I've made so more progress on the Key Bridge painting.  I forced myself to do the buildings on the left. This area is very tedious as is the buildings on the right.

I went back in and re-drew the area for the houses on the right.  I am using several different pictures and in some photographs -the towers might be clear and in one photograph, but the houses may be a better in another picture.  It gets kind of confusing, and I'm always looking through my pile of photos for a better  close up photo of the area I'm doing. After finishing these buildings, I had had enough and quit for the day. It's mentally grueling.  You can see it's a slow process.  Each photo I've taken is a day's work.

 Then the next day, I did the townhouses on the right and some of the greenery.  I know when I finish this part that the hard part of the painting is over.  It gets more fun now.

Here's a funny story.  I have a painting similar to this one over my mantle.  A woman commissioned me to do a Key Bridge /Georgetown scene and came to pick it up. She looked at the painting over my mantle and said, "Hey, you left out my house."  I remember when I painted it that I ran out of space so I deleted a house.  What are the odds of that person coming to my house and pointing that out to me?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Start of a Key Bridge Painting

Many people ask me how I paint the Key Bridge/Georgetown paintings.  They are sort of my signature pieces, and I usually do about 4 or 5 a year.  They take a lot of work because there is so much architecture that has to be correct.  I spend hours on the drawing itself.  I've gotten smart over the years, and I save my drawings.  Then sometimes, I trace part of the drawing and do a section of the Key Bridge for a new painting, using an old drawing I had for a previous painting.

This is a painting I've just started for an upcoming show at The Art League (in the Torpedo Factory). It's called "Large", and all paintings have to be 30x40 inches or larger.  This one is 30 x 40 inches! I have to have it done by October 1st, so I've been madly painting to try and get this done.

If you look at the picture on the right, you'll notice tape on each side of the openings on the bridge.  I tape it because it's easier to get a clean straight line this way.

I also always start with the buildings.  I do this for two reasons.  The first reason is because the first time I ever did a painting like this, I did the sky first.  Then I did the buildings.  But I needed to reshape the building and cut them down a little, which meant I had to go back and mix up sky color and fix around the buildings.  Of course, it's impossible to match up the paint because it dries a different color than when it's wet.  So then I had to paint the sky all over again.

But the main reason I do the buildings first is because it's the part I hate.  It's so tedious and one must be so precise.  So I tell myself, "Ok, today, you must do 1/3 of the buildings. " It's like taking bad tasting medicine in small doses.  When I finish a third of the buildings, then I let myself paint something else. In this case, I painted the small opening archways.

After I finished all the small openings on the bridge, I remove the tape.  Then I stick the painting in the back of my car where it's nice and hot and this helps dry it by the next day.

Notice that the top of the towers are a little bit smudgy.  I will correct this when I put in the sky.

I will take pictures as I progress in this painting so that you can see how the painting evolves.

Let me know what you think as I work on this.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Save the Date!

I want everyone to save the date of Sunday, September 21 from 5:30 - 7:00.  We are having a reception for an art show of all the paintings done in Italy by the group of artists I took to Umbria last May.  The show will be at Cassatt's at the Lee Heights Shops in Arlington.  There are 13 artists participating in this group show.  It's amazing how many paintings were finished in the two weeks were there.  The show will hang from Sept 14 until Oct. 19.  I will post more info about the show in the next few weeks, but I wanted everyone to put it on your calendars so that you can meet the great group of artists that painted Italy this spring!
Todi Hillside
by Jane McElvany Coonce

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