Sketching This weekend I had planned to go to the beach. It's a short bus ride from my home and very pleasant to spend time there on one of my...
Bridges join two places together they bridge the gap between one side and another.
To cross a bridge is an important movement as we go from the known to the unknown.
It is easy to stay on your shore and not travel across a bridge both physically and intellectually.
You can reach out to new people and situations by building bridges, so you can grow in life in your mind and body and soul.
To try something new is a given in the act of building bridges.
During the design phase, an engineer will work out exactly what is required to build a particular bridge.
Each bridge requires a different blueprint.
Bridges in Your Art Journey
Find places in your art life where you can build a bridge to close a gap, chasms or abyss.
Do you stand on one side to watch and wonder about what happens on the other side?
Maybe you plan to do oil painting one day, I know I do.
Let’s see what that looks like.
Steps to Build an Art Bridge
First, I consider what things have to be in place for me to welcome oil painting into my life
For example, I will:
- Require an oil painting class to show me the ropes.
- Have to purchase oil paints and brushes.
- Acquire new canvases.
- Perhaps have to get, and store, some linseed oil and turpentine.
- Need time as it take days to make a painting, because oil paints take so long to dry.
Beneficial Effects of Building a Bridge to Oil Paints
I’ll probably end up with quite a smelly studio so I’m going to make have to make sure that the windows and air-conditioning offer adequate ventilation.
The mess of oil painting the cost of the paints (and to be honest this is probably the most biggest blockage I have) two beginning with oil paints.
Questions I Ask Myself
Will the investment into all the equipment I will need for oil painting worth the result?
What if I’m no good at oil painting?
Should I concentrate on watercolors?
Who says I can even paint?
How I Built a Bridge to Art
I practice daily art.
I’ve even written about my current daily practice, and you can read more about that.
But the actual act of maintaining a daily art practice, is how I plan to prepare to build a bridge to further explorations of art, such as starting with oil paints.
I have never done oil paints, however I did one painting in acrylics and realized I wasn’t very keen on that medium which is why I chose with watercolor.
In the meantime, I still love pencil sketches and I have some of bridges near me that I want to share with you.
First Bridge over Niagara Falls
Let’s have a look at how bridges are actually built because they don’t just happen overnight.
This is the story of how the first bridge was built across the Niagara Falls valley between the USA and Canada.
Back in the day, a youth named Homan Walsh flew his kite, with a string attached, from the one side across the gorge to the other side where another person was waiting.
With the very first twine, they were then able to pull a lightweight rope over across the gap.
Next, they heaved heavier ropes which were ultimately made into a pedestrian bridge, and it began to be a substantial crossing point.
From that point on, they were able to heave wood and planks and eventually build the first wooden bridge that crossed Niagara Falls.
The point of this is that bridges are not just built overnight.
Bridges in Your Art Life
If you want to extend yourself by reaching over to an area of your life that is perhaps a little unknown, or of which you are unsure, it will take time.
You will be tentative to start with such as the kid with the string on his kite.
The first step for you to build a bridge in your life, to expand your artistic ability into whatever medium it is that you are considering going into, is to just begin.
For myself, I did take an art class in painting mediums which I had never used before.
At the art class, I used the studio’s art supplies and their products and was able to decide whether or not a particular technique was for me.
Such as with the acrylic paint, I didn’t like the way it moved and quivered, but I enjoyed the watercolor paint and the way the color pooled and puddled and how I could manipulate the colour with my brush.
That was what attracted me to do watercolor paintings to start with.
One day I may build a bridge to oil painting, but I don’t think it will be this year.
When I began my art practice last year, I started with a pencil although I’ve subsequently realized the artists don’t talk about pencil drawings they talk about graphite
Graphite is actually what is inside the pencil.
As a child I was brought up believing that the grey stuff that was inside a pencil was lead and certainly it may have been many years ago, but these days it’s a substance called graphite.
Therefore, I’ll just talk about graphite sketches and that’s what I’m saying here.
Three Bridges in Vancouver
Recently I took my pencil and sketchbook out to three of the bridges that are nearby my home in Vancouver, Canada.
The downtown area of the city is built on a peninsula which is surrounded by water on three sides.
Vancouver has many bridges and each one is unique in its design.
Two of these bridges are within walking distance of my downtown apartment and the third structure was further away, but I went there for a day out sketching trip.
This is an interesting bridge it was built many years ago and it has two concrete towers at each end with some kind of the superstructure in-between.
It is a highly used bridge which brings people into the city.
The way the municipal peninsula is formed, you can sit on the sand at Sunset Beach and see the Burrard Bridge which makes it ideally placed to be drawn by an artist and many do draw it.
This was an extremely interesting urban construction to draw.
Lion’s Gate Bridge
The Lion’s gate Bridge was built years ago.
It is a huge artery to flow people from the north shore twin cities of West Vancouver and North Vancouver into the city of Vancouver proper.
The Lion’s Gate Bridge is part of the Stanley Park nature reserve and due to its huge presence, is easily observed and thus can be drawn from many areas of the city.
This particular sketch I drew from the Coal Harbor side of the peninsular.
The Lion’s Gate Bridge is a huge structure, and it does look very reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco although the Lion’s Gate Bridge is painted green and does not have the span of its bigger cousin.
Port Mann Bridge
The Port Mann Bridge was only finished a couple of years ago and it replaced the smaller bridge that runs adjacent to it.
This was a very interesting bridge to sketch with lots of superstructure and cables holding it up that were remarkable to draw.
There are also two massive knobby things on the top of the pillars and I’m not quite sure what they’re about, but it was a very interesting silhouette to outline.
The Port Mann Bridge is the most recent bridge that has been built in Vancouver and it is very modern in its construction.
I went out to New Westminster one day for lunch and I was able to get into a position where I could draw this bridge in my pencil sketchbook.
Aspiring Artist Activity: Bridges to Art Mediums
In your art journal please do the following:
- Write down any art mediums that you are thinking about trying in the future (graphite, watercolor, acrylic, oil, charcoal, collage, sculpture, mixed media etc.).
- Choose one medium mentioned above, and list three blocks you have to bridging this gap.
- List five steps that you can take to start your new art practice.
- Over the next week, consider which will be the first step and think about when you can take this first step (next week, next month or next year).
Share on social with the hashtag #AlisonHazelArtAspiringArtist, so we can see the creations from your heart.
Read more about how I created this sacred places artwork of St. Chad’s Church with pen and ink and watercolor.