Every year for the past eleven or twelve years, some of my closest friends and I have gone on a camping trip for a long weekend. At first, there were a lot of us, and gradually life got in the way for a whole lot of us, but Babs, Sean, Branden and I still keep going. This year, our friend Tyler joined in as well.
About eight (?) years ago we discovered the AEP ReCreation lands in Caldwell Ohio. This park offers free camping in a bunch of different sites, all of them really well maintained. All you have to do is fill out a permit and sign your name when you get there. The area was an old coal mine, and now it’s 60,000 acres of forests with over 200 lakes and as many free camp sites. This year, we went down and caught over 30 fish the first day – most of which went back. (Some of the large bluegill became dinner.)
I look forward to this trip every year, and this year was no different. We fished, ate, and slept – and that’s about it. There were a few games of Polish Horseshoes mixed in, and late night poker, and Branden trying to start a fire with magnesium shavings and a knife (successfully, much to my chagrin), and a long talk about the role of the Church and my less than orthodox theology. More on that sometime I bet.
Anyway, I woke up in the morning on Thursday and painted a value study of this covered bridge. We store some things on it to keep them out of the rain, and camp in the wide open area just beyond. (This is looking at the bridge from the campsite.)
Later that day after we caught a whole mess of fish, we came back and I painted another value study while Sean cleaned the fish, and a buzzard perched in the tree looking around when he was done.
The next morning, I got a quarter sheet of paper out, and painted this one, starting at about 6am. The mist in the distance burned off by the time I was done, but I kept it in this painting because I liked it.
I started with a light wash of T4w UM Blue and Raw Sienna. Then I dabbed In some F3s UM Blue and Serpentine for the trees on the sides. I added a solid wash of F3b Serpentine and Quin Gold for the grass in the foreground, leaving the bridge white, and let it dry. I then went to the roof of the bridge with T4b Raw Sienna and a touch of UM Blue, and dabbed a drop of F3w UM Blue in the top left, and a drop of F3w Burnt Sienna in the right of the roof.
While that dried, I used R3b Serpentine and UM Blue and Indie Blue to paint the nearer trees, leaving bare spots, and flicking some paint for a splatter of leaves here and there. I left the tree in the foreground untouched for this.
When that was dried, I painted the bridge with F3b Raw Sienna, Van Dyke Brown, Indie Blue and Antraq Red. I used a little more Anthraq red on the right, and a little more Indie Blue in the left.
Once that dried, I painted the opening of the bridge with R2b Van Dyke Brown, UM Blue and Quin Purple, trying to get more purple in the top right corner. I then painted some lines above that with R2b of the same mixture.
Then, I used the same mixture to paint some R2b shadows on the leaves in the foreground, mixing in some Serpentine and Quin Gold here and there to add interest, and a few more splatters of color. I then painted the foreground shadows with an R2b mix of Raw Sienna, Indie Blue, Quin Purple and Anthraq Red, again leaving the foreground tree mostly untouched. While that was still wet, I used C3s water to pull the shadow at the base of the tree up the page to create the trunk, and dripped some more C3w water to make some of that run back down the page. One that was dry, I painted the foreground canopy with R2b of the above mixture, and then some R2b Quin Gold, R2b Serpentine, and R2b of that shadow mixture in the foreground to finish it up.
All said, I like how it turned out. I would maybe have liked to exaggerate the perspective a bit more on the bridge, and worked some mist into the shadows on the left. The bridge opening was a bit overworked as well, and should be lighter in value on the left to give the feel of light coming through the tunnel.
When it dried, I offered it to the guys, and Branden was interested, so he went home with it.
I’m looking forward to next year already.