Mass. Ave. Bridge

by okayart


Olivia J. Kiers. “Mass Ave Bridge.” Gouache, egg tempera, acrylic and ball point pen. 2016.

I’ve been feeling the need to do a landscape containing the Mass. Ave. Bridge for a while (no idea why, just like water and long bridges I suppose) but every time I started a sketch, I abandoned it quickly. Finally, I realized what my problem was; I didn’t want to paint the entire darn bridge as much as I wanted to paint one memory I had of walking across the bridge at dusk, on a day when the sky was curiously greenish and the water seemed full of light. So, I used a vertical format to focus more on the Charles River and the sky here, cropping out just a section of the bridge. Also, I left out all the cars and buses crossing it (It is Massachusetts Avenue, after all. All hail the #1 Bus!) out of laziness–just didn’t feel like drawing cars last night. I enlarged the people relative to the size of the bridge when my first attempts at painting them resulted in tiny smudges that you couldn’t tell were supposed to be human.

Also, I just can’t seem to get away from the Kenmore Square CITGO sign. It’s my favorite thing ever–a symbol of “modernity” in the old fashioned sense of the word, when modernity meant automobiles and neon signs. So, the cars are still there in spirit. Fear not, Boston.

Final note: I’ve been getting more involved in multimedia experimentation–or at least, I’ve been conflating drawing, painting, and printmaking more often. This image involves elements of both drawing and painting. I used a plain old ball point pen for the street lamps and railing. (Laziness. Painting tiny lines with a tiny brush is awful.) The sky is egg tempera because I happened to have a tube of the perfect green in egg tempera. (Again, laziness.) The blues are gouache, and the black is acrylic.