I guess I’m on a bridge kick?

I haven’t practiced urban scenes very much lately, so I decided to give it a shot yesterday and today.

On the first one, I messed up on the perspective of the buildings in the background. On the second one, I messed up on the value, and tonality of the buildings in the back ground. Looking back at them both right now, I think the best approach would be to paint all of the distant buildings as a single shape, with a light value.

Here’s the first one:

Mud mud. Dum, mud mud mud.

The composition here is unfocused and distracting. I like the lines in the composition, but I haven’t defined the focal point well enough.

While I like the Arches on the underside of the bridge, they are distracting, because the strong value contrast against the background draws the eye like a magnet.

The colors are all super muddy… so I decided to try to focus on fresh washes on the second one.

I started out OK on the second one, but I gradually added more and more detail to the distant buildings. This darkened their values, and added a lot of crisp lines, both of which pull them forward. On the next version, I’ll try to paint all of the distant buildings as a single light shape.

I like the bridge more in this version, but it’s still pretty muddy. This is largely because I found myself trying to pull it forward by darkening the values. Each time, I muddied it a tiny bit more.

So much better when I rely on the initial wash!

This taught me that getting the values right on the first pass is really important. While it’s possible to darken values with glazing, it doesn’t result in the fresh gradations I’m looking for.

I’m not feeling particularly well today, so I think I’m going to just go lay down now.