Thursday, September 16, 2010

Take it to the Bridge!

This September I've been taking the easel to some bridges by our house here in Georgetown. First I did two studies of a little wooden bridge over Montrose Creek that has funny criss-crossing jumping-jack construction. It's in shady, lush woods that drop down to Rock Creek. Study #1 looks upstream, and the next day I came back and painted looking downstream. The light was so smooth and neutral, with occasional bursts of yellow to break it up.

Montrose Bridge #2 (16 X 20")

Montrose Bridge #1 (16 X 20)

Then I found this great spot on a dock right under Key Bridge where, if it isn't too windy, I can really get the full effect of that monumental, jazzy, sensuous beast. Wow! I banged out this study in just a few hours and was very pleased and came back the next morning with greater ambitions and a much larger canvas (30 X 40"). It was nerve-wracking working on a larger scale down there. The wind gusted periodically and finally the sun grew too strong and I lugged my piece back to the studio where it now languishes, awaiting either a rainy day or very serene conditions by the river. I guarantee it will be grand when it's done!

KeyBam! (18 X 24")

Yesterday I went back to Mt. Zion cemetery, on 27th & Q Streets, NW. It is a traditionally black cemetery owned by Mt. Zion Baptist Church. The cemetery is pine-shaded and is now being tended after decades of neglect. It contains a vault overlooking Rock Creek that is reported to have been a station on the Underground Railroad. The big trees, wild breezes, and the presence of so many long-overturned and forgotten tombstones give the place an otherworldly feel. My grandmother and her sister are buried in the traditionally white Oak Hill cemetery, visible through the trees, across a ravine, and over a fence from Mt. Zion. This painting was done facing toward my grandmother, who rests right across R Street from her old house.

Through to Grandmother, from Mt. Zion Cemetery (16 X 20"). Collection of Silvana & Abraham.

These will all be hung, with a number of others, at the office of Hancock Legal, PLLC, at 1803 Connecticut Ave, NW, on the 3rd floor. There is an open house scheduled for October 1, and my old friend Manuella Hancock invited me to take advantage of the space and the discerning audience due to descend for her open house. Let me know if you want to come, and I'll put you on the list.

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