Alexandra Bridge

I’ve always been intrigued by bridges. I don’t know what it is about them, but I find them fascinating. I remember going to Paris, and my most vivid memory is not the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, but rather going for a boat ride down the Seine River and going under at least 20 different bridges. The architecture of each one was so intricate and so different.

Some of the bridges along the Seine River

Ottawa is kind of similar in that regard. There are countless bridges that go over the Rideau Canal, and then several more that connect Ottawa to Gatineau. When I go for a run outside, I usually follow the path behind the parliament building, which then takes me into Gatineau. The last stretch of this loop goes over the Alexandra Bridge back into Ottawa. The view at this point is incredible. You see the locks along the canal, the back of the parliament building, and the Chateau Laurier.  It’s truly majestic. I’m pretty sure I usually have a ‘Runner’s High’ by this point too, so that probably makes me like it even more.

This painting is intended to be the first in a small series of paintings of bridges. Ideally, I’d like to do them ‘en pleine air’ […atrist speak for painting outside…] however it is too cold right now, so I worked from a photograph instead.

Photograph of Alexandra Bridge
Oil on Canvas – 12×12″ – I started by priming the canvas with a background of deep reds and purples. Then added some guidelines with chalk.
Then I started to build the bridge and add some blues to the water.
I added some more details to the bridge, like the side walk and the lines on the road.
I added the truss to the bridge.

The finished product!

Zoomed in view of the bridge. I painted all the detailed parts with acrylic paint since it dries faster so the colours wouldn’t mix too much.
Recognize the building in the background? It’s the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Although this painting isn’t all that big, it took a ridiculously long time to paint. In fact, I started this one mid-summer (however, it went untouched for at least 3 months after I initially began…) and only finished it today. The detail work takes a long time, especially since I’m a perfectionist, so I kept going back and redoing parts. I’m glad it’s done though. However, I’ll probably still go back and touch it up a few times…

Do you prefer realistic paintings or more abstract works?

I personally don’t like paintings that look too realistic, both from myself and other artists. I like when it is obvious that it is a painting, and not a photograph or a digital drawing. I like globs of paint, smears and smudges. I like having to take a step back to make out the image. Therefore, this is definitely not my favorite painting, but I like what it represents.

I already know what bridge is next in the series. I’ll give you a hint. If you go skating along the Rideau Canal, you will go under it near downtown. Any ideas?

 

Inspiration

Sometimes inspiration strikes me in the strangest most unexpected ways. I used to struggle a lot with getting inspired (probably due to lack of experience too), so if I felt like painting, I would essentially recreate someone else’s work. In these cases, my ‘inspiration’ was either Home Sense or the internet. In hindsight, it was a great way to learn to paint and practice, but I always prefer when I have my own original inspiration.

The other day, a friend of mine (Hi Darren!) said that he likes my painting with the birds and the music notes, and thinks that perhaps something similar might look good in his new home. I’ve never seen his house, however I strongly disagreed. Darren is an outdoorsy, upbeat young musician, and that painting has a baby pink and baby blue background. I just didn’t see it.

However, that conversation immediately set off a light bulb and I got painting. And here’s what I came up with.

[Darren, no pressure to actually like it…but thanks for the inspiration! ] 

Acrylic on Canvas – 36×16″ (three 12×16″ panels)
Close-up of left panel
Close up of middle panel
Close up of right panel
Sides painted. No staples.
Top view of middle panel
Side view of right panel

 

All together again!

 

I don’t have any progress photos because I essentially did this one in one sitting. One long sitting…

Also, I should mention that no paint brushes were harmed in the creation of this masterpiece! This whole painting was done with a palette knife so it has a really nice thick textured appearance. Did I mention that I love painting with a palette knife? Clean up is sooo easy!

Lastly, I can’t think of a name for this one. Any suggestions?

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It’s been raining on and off all week so I can’t help but have rain on my mind. It certainly doesn’t help that when I’m at my easel, I’m facing a giant window. So here is yet another rain inspired painting. Hopefully the rain goes away soon and I can start painting different things but for now, here you have it!

12×16″ – Acrylic on Canvas with a Palette Knife
You light up my life. Or my painting. Regardless, I added some street lights.
You can stand under my umbrella…
….ella, ella…
…eh, eh, eh…

[No, this was not inspired by Rihanna at all. Although, not a bad song, eh?]

Speaking of rain, I certainly shouldn’t be complaining about the miniscule amount of rain we’ve been getting here everyday considering so many people were affected by Hurricane Sandy this week. My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of you who was affected.

Do you like seeing the progress of a painting, or would you rather I just post the finished product? The last few paintings I did were quite simple so the progress is quite obvious, but often times, the starting point and finished product look almost nothing alike. I’ve got a couple like that that I’m currently working on. Check back (*hopefully) next week for those!

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