Now I've largely finished the right hand side and will work from the center out to the left. There is no rhyme or reason for this other than I like to establish the center first, it sort of anchors the painting for me.
Speaking of the center, this is a close-up to show you the way I put on the paint - watercolors generally are not meant to be viewed this up-close and personal; they do better from a distance, sort of like the Impressionists' work. But by way of illustration it shows the layering and coloring of the washes. As I've said before, this is not meant to be architecturally accurate - rather to evoke a feeling with just enough description.
As I move left, I did up some values on the foliage out front. I really like the juxtaposition of creation with man's works. Not to mention I just wanted more green in the painting!
Ta-da! The end result. I feel pretty good about it - I think it balances well. The white shed and semi-trailer are similar in light and value to the two grain storage units on the right. Perhaps some day one of the guys who used to work here would look at this and say, "Good grief! That pipe never went that way!" But I don't think that's going to happen - if it did, I'd just say, "Now it does!" Thanks for looking! God bless!
When I saw this black/white photo on Bill Church's blog, I was very excited! These grain elevators used to be on the south side of Moscow and were torn down a few years back. I had always wanted to paint them, but didn't take the time to take a photo. However, I wanted them in color and with more light. So I took some liberties (they call it 'artistic license', I guess) and used the colors from the pea mill paintings. I hope you enjoy seeing the progress.
Sorry about the quality of the photos here - but anyway this is the rough sketch on Arches 140 lb paper. It's about 20 X 22. You might be able to see where I've put the Mask-It, a kind of thick liquid which protects the areas I want to keep white.
This is after an hour or so - the initial washes are in and I've started to focus in on the highest tower. As you can see, I amped up the light coming from the right.
A another hour or more and I've worked from the center out mostly to the right. These buildings had so many different textures of metal and wood, even varying on the same building! Then all those great exhaust ports (I think) like so many nostrils, helping the buildings breathe. And check out those little sheds on the very top!
Kathryn, my business manager, said I should post a work in progress...so here 'tis. This is the original photo of the RR bridge in Lewiston. (Julie and I saw it a lot since we passed it every day on our way to her radiation treatments.) I liked the strength, colors and patterns in the structure.
This is after a couple of hours of work: I use painters' tape (of course!) to tack down the edges of the watercolor paper (Arches 140 lb. rough). Then after sketching it in, I used masking fluid to save the areas I want to keep white. The sky and background washes were put in next (the Lewiston hills are just starting to get the only green they will have during the year). The bridge is very complicated, so I tried to get just the basic lines in. I never try to do an architectural rendering - I leave that to the pros. The original sky color was depressing, so I decided to make it mostly sunny, with high, thin clouds, moving at an opposite diagonal to the bridge.
Getting down to the detail work at this point - putting in the strong cross bracing of the bridge. I really liked the high control rooms with the windows - imagine the view from up there! The two white curves are suspended walkways - very cool! When the bridge is lowered, they form a pedestrian walkway across the river. (I masked them in earlier.)
After finishing the raised bridge, I did the blue metal ends on each side of the river, being sure to make the further one a bit more unfocused with less intense color. I wanted to keep the viewer at street level, so the dike (grassy slope), the street lamp and the sign were put in last. I purposely shrank the sign since I didn't want it to pull too much attention, so it serves as a visual anchor on that corner. And now it's done - thanks for reading and looking, feel free to let me know your comments. Blessings!
The Schlects' home is in that 'core' of the Ft. Russell neighborhood, where many classic, old Moscow homes were built. It has a lot of unique features including some great Ionic (?) columns! Oh yes, and the wonderful Schlect family lives there, too. This was fun to paint, but if I did it again, I'd probably pull back even more on the foliage, which would probably make it look like it did 75 years ago, or so.
Once again I am indebted to my friend, Bill Church, for taking a photo of these tugs. I did some alterations, as always, but mostly I was trying to capture the beauty and serenity of the place and moment.