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Bridge Over The Ovens

Bridge Over The Ovens
Medium: Pastel
Base: Paper
Year: 2012
We took a brief break in the beautiful township of Bright a few years ago and I made sure that I came home with heaps of photos for future reference. My family comes from the area of Victoria so it is always good to go back there and see distant rellies roaming around as well as being treated like a local! This view is looking up the gully along the Ovens River. The photo has been cropped quite a bit as I was not so much interested in the foreground as the bridge and the ripples in the river. I have never tried to paint a rippling river in pastel before, so this, my first attempt has been a big learning experience. I hope everyone enjoys the result.
Pastel on Acid Free Black Card of the Ovens River in Bright, Victoria, Australia. Any of the modern features in the original photograph have been removed to give more room to enjoy the scenery, the trees, the water and the lovely shadows being cast. The main feature of this part of Bright are the beautiful mix of European and native trees, the fantastic backdrop of the mountains of the north east corner of Victoria and of course the Ovens River. I just had to paint this scene as soon as I saw the colour of the river and the stunning little ripples reflecting the sunlight. Painting it reminded me of being there on one of the few trips I have been able to make back to the town where parts of my family first settled after leaving the arrival port of Adelaide on immigrating to Australia in the 1850s. We have a corner of the cemetery in Bright (knowing where the ancestors are is always a handy thing to know!).
I don't consider myself a pastellist as I have only been using this medium for about three years. It is so different to painting with oils and you have to wrap your head around the fact that this medium can rub off the surface so easily and that you only have a certain amount of layers before the pastels won't adhere to whatever you have put down already. Given that, there have been scenes that I have looked at that have begged to be painted in this medium and I like to try my hand at nearly everything. I was also lucky enough to have a full day workshop with a fine pastel painter at the end of 2011 and his tips have helped me a lot.
Armed with my teacher, Max Wilke's voice in my head, I began work on this piece. To be honest this is a first go at this scene and I did no preparatory sketches. I guess that may be a good sign for me because I didn't give up, learnt a little on each step, took my time, thought about what I was doing and was willing to rub out a part and re-do it if needed. So eventually I was able to produce a painting I was happy to frame. It hasn't been on it's first outing yet, but I have plans for Autumn 2012. If it gets no attention there I will keep it for a guild demonstration and another exhibition later in the year.
This painting is now in a lovely white frame with off white and a cream double matts and is for sale. Enquiries can be made through the contact page in this web site.
Dimensions: 41 cm (width) × 51 cm (height)
Ownership: Artist

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