Kucko Bridge: #7

For this one, I really wanted to explore light. Especially, the way light can bounce from one surface to the next. I really enjoyed the effect I got when I painted the bridge last time – by laying the lines down with a thin line of water to wet the paper on the lines, and then dropping pigment on the wet lines, and letting it mix on its own. A little purple here, some quin gold next door, and let them meet each other and fall in love… or some shit.

I tried to accomplish the same thing on the hills and the cliff faces. There it wasn’t as succcessful as it was on the bridge-probably because by the time I decided to try, I already had established some foundational washes. When I tried to get the pigments to mingle on top of the washes, they were less willing to play nice.

I think I got the effect I was after on the cliff faces – where the warm golds contrast with the cool purples and provide the impression of shape and directionality. Unfortunately I made two big mistakes with it, 1) I over did it. I need to keep this effect on the painting, but don’t put it on every square inch of the painting; 2) I wasn’t careful enough with the placement of those colors. Because they are almost evenly spaced, the cliffs feel chunky, man made, and out of scale. If I had been more random with their placement, I would have probably achieved my organic, and natural cliffs.

I think my favorite part is the gold halo on the tree branches on the left. That soft glow helps really show the light coming in from the top left, and bouncing off the hill in the midground before landing on the tips of those branches. Because the gold color was applied wet in wet, it feels natural and soft. If I had tried the same thing with a dry brush, I would have ended up with “gold branches.” Instead, I think it looks more like “the glow of light in an untold number of twigs at the top of the tree.” And that’s what I was going for.

The waterfall is a disaster zone. Nuff said.

I really really like the yellow green reflection on the water on the right-hand side, and the cooler reflection in the distance. The two together do a good job of showing how the light bounces around the canyon/gulch/gorge/whatever this is.

There’s a blob of color that blew through the lines on the bridge, and I love it. Completely accidental, and I thought it would ruin the painting – but it ended up just creating interest. I need to play more with lost and found edges like this, but I have to do so with restraint – I can see that very easily becoming a gimmick.

Lastly, I love the grey in the bottom to the right of the left-hand cliff. This color is made by mixing cobalt blue and burnt sienna. I need to use this more – probably on the cliff face. Previously, I thought Phthalo Blue and Burnt Sienna gave me a gorgeous grey. But I’ve since learned it is really easily broken like a poorly made Hollandaise sauce. Too much water, or add water at the wrong time, and the Phthalo Blue leaks out of the grey, turning it green with turquoise edges. This cobalt blue and burnt sienna seems like a moch more stable, and neutral grey. (Which is odd, given how heavily the cobalt granulates – I would expect it to break more easily because I assume it has larger particulates, but I guess not.)

All in all, I’d give this one a solid C+.

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