Tag Archives: Gervais Street Bridge

New Morning Bridge

New Morning Bridge 24x24" Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2016 Lucinda Howe $1,100

New Morning Bridge
24×24″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2016 Lucinda Howe
$1,100

I was working on this series of paintings of the Gervais Street Bridge during the floods around Columbia in October 2015.   It was surreal to be working with earlier photos of the Riverwalk while the TV stations were showing that area under 20 feet of brown water and debris.

After a couple of days of those horrifying images, I wanted to focus on the strength of the bridge and hope for recovery. I chose to experiment with seeing in a different way by reversing values from a previous composition, light in place of dark and dark in place of light. For the color scheme, I used colors that follow the values… yellow for the lights and purple for the darks. Blue-greens and red-purples form the middle values.

Because the values were reversed from the reference composition, I felt free to abandon local color and construct a different color scheme. The changes in both value and color give this piece more of a fantasy look. It appears to be a sunny autumn morning with light coming in from the right side, but there is enough departure from reality to add mystery. I also felt that the yellow color scheme symbolized sunny days after the flood.

Posted in Acrylics

Open Spandrel Bridge

Open Spandrel Bridge 12x12" Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2016 Lucinda Howe $395

Open Spandrel Bridge
12×12″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2016 Lucinda Howe
$395

The Gervais Street Bridge in Columbia is an open spandrel bridge.  A spandrel is the space between an arch and a rectangular enclosure.  This perspective  emphasizes the alternating vertical lights  and darks formed by the supports between the arches and the under side of the roadway.

Posted in Acrylics

Bridge Series #7

Bridge Series #7 12x12" Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2016 Lucinda Howe $395

Bridge Series #7
12×12″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2016 Lucinda Howe
$395

In this painting from my Gervais Street Bridge series, I was experimenting with colors and shapes. I liked the arches under the bridge and the “keyhole” shape of the opening. By using a purple color scheme for the bridge and an intense complementary yellow-green on the distant foliage, I brought the background forward and emphasized the negative space between the bridge supports.

This type of color arrangement flattens the picture plane.  That is, it doesn’t create visual depth with muted colors in the background. It also emphasizes the negative space, creating uncertainty about what is the subject of the painting.   I find that this type of experiment helps me think more about composition and abstraction as I move away from local color.

 

 

Posted in Acrylics

Path Under the Bridge

Path Under the Bridge 24x24" Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2016 Lucinda Howe $1,100

Path Under the Bridge
24×24″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2016 Lucinda Howe
$1,100

As I continue my series of paintings of the Gervais Street Bridge, I want to look at the bridge from different angles. This view is from the Riverwalk near the amphitheater on the West Columbia side. As the path curves around under the bridge support, it leads the eye to the river and creates uncertainty about what is around the bend. The tree foliage partially obscures the architecture of the bridge, adding to the sense that the bridge is part of the landscape rather than separate from it.

I also continue to explore the exaggerated colors and broken brush strokes of Fauvism to add visual texture and move away from the muted colors of the natural landscape.

Posted in Acrylics

The Bridge Surreal

The Bridge Surreal 24x24"  Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2016 Lucinda Howe $1,100

The Bridge Surreal
24×24″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2016 Lucinda Howe
$1,100

Continuing my series of bridge paintings, I used previous studies in warm colors as reference.   However, I realized I like complementary color contrast, so I added blue and green for complementary color contrast.

The Bridge Surreal is included in the Trenholm Artists Guild exhibit at Vista Studios/80808 Gallery, 808 Lady Street, Columbia, SC, 29201 through January 31, 2016.

Posted in Acrylics

Sunset Bridge

Sunset Bridge 12x12" Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2016 Lucinda Howe NFS

Sunset Bridge
12×12″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2016 Lucinda Howe
NFS

In this next painting in the bridge series, I decided to experiment with expanding the red hues that I used in last week’s piece to an analogous color range of purple-red-orange.   The overall effect is warm, but the range of colors allows for contrast of cool and warm tones in the clouds and sky and in the structure of the bridge. I used less intense colors and middle values for the trees to make them seem further away. Adding white to the purple made it read as a cooler color, leaning toward blue when placed next to the red in the river and light orange in the clouds.

The colors in this painting make me think of the glow of sunset. There is less value contrast than in last week’s piece, so it has a quieter feel.

I feel that this was a good experiment with an analogous color scheme, but as a general rule, I like the energy of contrasting complementary colors and values, so I’ll most likely do more of that in future pieces.

Posted in Acrylics

Gervais Street Bridge in Red

Gervais Street Bridge in Red 12x12"  Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2015 Lucinda Howe NFS

Gervais Street Bridge in Red
12×12″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2015 Lucinda Howe
NFS

In last week’s post, I talked about the idea of painting in a series to combine familiar subject matter with personal style. In the process, I’m using four ways of drawing. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but all are necessary to develop a concept. I can draw from:

  • Life: Painting from life means standing in front of the object and observing it while painting. I have to slow down and focus on a limited area. I absorb the sounds and smells of the river as well as the visual information. Limited time and changing light force me to simplify. The disadvantage is that it requires a large commitment of time to gather enough source material for a series.   Sometimes a particular angle can be photographed, but it may not be convenient to set up an easel and work on a slippery rock or in the middle of a bike path.
  • Photos: Photos allow me to try out lots angles and unusual perspectives and to have much more material for a series.   However, the level of detail in a photo can be distracting and must be simplified. Also, the darks in the photos often appear black and need to be adjusted.
  • Imagination: This is where I get to use a particular color scheme that has meaning to me. I can use colors to evoke a particular time of day or create a mood. I can also manipulate scale and try different painting techniques. Imagination is the ingredient that can make a painting more than just a pretty picture.
  • Other art: I’m inspired by Les Fauves and other artists who paint their local landscapes in personal expressive color. I don’t want to copy their paintings, but to incorporate high intensity colors and distinct brushstrokes to show my local landscape in different ways.

In this second painting of the series, I used a monochrome painting to focus on the composition and to stay away from local color. I made another red, white, and black gesso underpainting. Then I used different cool and warm red paints to overpaint. This turned out to be a fairly successful monochrome color scheme, although the addition of white made it more pink than red.   I found it easy to use reds on the bridge, but I was surprised that I had more hesitation in what colors to use in the trees instead of just automatically going for green.

I consider this painting a study, not a finished piece, but it’s a necessary step in testing composition and thinking about how to advance the series.

Posted in Acrylics

What’s Black and White and Red All Over?

Black & White & Red 12x12" Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2015 Lucinda Howe NFS

Black & White & Red
12×12″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2015 Lucinda Howe
NFS

What’s Black and White and Red all over?   If you think the answer to this riddle is “a newspaper”, you’re showing your age.   Do they even publish such a thing any more?  If you said it’s a zebra with too much lipstick, you’re thinking like a nine-year-old, but you’re closer.  In my world, the answer is a 3-value study for a painting.

Last fall I started a new series of paintings based on the iconic image of the Gervais Street Bridge over the Congaree River between the cities of Columbia and West Columbia, South Carolina. I have painted this bridge many times as have most other artists around Columbia.  In fact, it has been painted so often, it has crossed the line from icon to cliché.

I work in a series in order to develop a consistent body of work while allowing myself room to experiment and grow. Although I find myself drawn to familiar subject matter and may accumulate several paintings of the same thing over the course of time in different mediums and styles, they don’t always work together.  Working in a series is more intentional and needs to have some common elements to hold the series together.

In this case, I wanted to start a series that focused on Fauvist techniques and local subject matter. My favorite historical and contemporary Fauve artists paint their local landscapes. What ties them together is a common use of bold, subjective color and expressive brush strokes. My first thought is that if I could go to London I could paint like Derain or if I went to Taos I could paint like Alyce Frank, but I know that I don’t have the intimate knowledge of those landscapes that they have. To develop my own style, I must paint my local landscape with my own color sense.

So that brings me back to Columbia. I decided to start with the Gervais Street Bridge and the Riverwalk because it is so familiar. I challenged myself to see it in new ways.   I also established some additional parameters to tie the series together.   I’m using acrylic paints on gallery wrap canvas in a square format prepared with red gesso. As I started to make studies for the paintings, I found that a good way to make a value sketch was to use black and white gesso for the light and dark values, leaving the red gesso as the middle value. Sometimes I left this as a study and sometimes I used it as an under painting and applied colors on top of it.

As the series developed, I changed the perspective, colors, and style. You will see the changes in the coming weeks. I’m still working on the series and looking for ways to push the boundaries. My next challenge is to figure out when the series is finished.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Acrylics

Under the Bridge

Under the Bridge 24x24" Acrylic on masonite ©2004 Lucinda Howe

Under the Bridge
24×24″
Acrylic on masonite
©2004 Lucinda Howe

The Gervais Street Bridge is an iconic symbol of Columbia and a favorite subject for many artists.  It’s fun to see a group of paintings of the same subject by different artists as each painter has a different viewpoint and painting style.   My painting Under the Bridge is on display through December at  Michael’s Café & Catering at 1620 Main Street, Columbia, SC along with other paintings of the bridge.  I hope you will stop in to have a bite to eat and see the art.

Posted in Acrylics