I’m working on the last couple of things before Christmas…well, actually, before MY BABY COMES! Yay! As an aside, I’m due in less than 2 weeks, so it’s all happening pretty soon!! (We’re very excited.)
I just finished painting the Red Bridge in Stewart Park, in Perth, Ontario. I have actually painted this same subject – nay, this same image – before. A client requested that I repaint the bridge, which was part of my Portraits of Perth series. It was actually one of the first paintings in that group to sell. The red bridge for me, many Perth, Ontario natives, and visitors to our pretty town, is iconic of this historic place. For those of us who grew up around here, it may elicit memories – dipping our toes in the water underneath on our lunch breaks from high school, running back and forth across the curved structure as children, or standing at its apex, watching the river dance across the rocks in every season. For those just visiting, it’s simply beautiful, and a striking landmark that finds its way onto many postcards, wedding pictures, and family vacation albums.
Since I initially painted the Stewart Park Red Bridge in the spring of 2012, I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison of the original with the more recent version. Firstly, I did the series of portraits of Perth as a group. I worked on them simultaneously to save time and keep the prices down (they were created for a gift shop in Perth), as well as to give them a strong sense of congruity. It was also, as always, an exploration into a different process. This newer painting was no exception. I did not look at the original painting at all throughout the process of painting this picture, and worked with a slightly different medium than I did with the first one. I often water down my acrylics dramatically to create washes of colour, and multi-layered surfaces. I typically water down the paint, load the paintbrush, and then blot the excess moisture off onto an absorbent surface before I apply the pigment to the canvas, giving it a very thin application of pigment. I still employed water in the second painting, but also introduced a clear polymer medium, which ‘waters down’ the pigment, without watering down the texture of the paint. It creates more of a glaze, and gives a different sort of depth to the colours (or in this case, greys). Additionally, with this newer version of the Red Bridge, I was focussed on the one painting. I was no longer creating a series, but rather painting an individual piece. Perhaps to outsiders, the differences between the two aren’t very pronounced…but to me, the differences are vast!
The newer painting has much more distinct markings of colour, whereas the original looks more fluid. More individual brush strokes are visible, and more attention has been given to finer details. The first painting is much more impressionistic. The second one is more photographic. I could go on and on. I actually find it fascinating. And all of these differences are a function of both a different approach to making the piece and a difference in the physical materials used. I can’t say I like one better than the other, but I can certainly say they are quite different!
Do you have a preference between the two?
There will be at least one more piece completed before Baby comes in November, but I may wait until after Christmas to show you, as it’s a surprise…as for Baby, stay tuned! I’ll sneak a picture of her into the blog, of course!