Sketch on site, paint in the studio

Allegheny River from Highland Park Bridge by C. Skinger

“Downriver view from Highland Park Bridge”                                                                    Watercolor ad Gouache

I like the idea of plein air painting, I really do but I don’t like doing it, at least it seems that way. Where would I go to the bathroom if I stood out on the bridge to paint this? Would I  dump a few gallons of water from cleaning my brushes over the side? Even if that was OK and its not, there is a chain link fence. The amount of stuff I would schlep is not appealing but it happens sometimes and I have been known to say I  like plein air painting, and in truth there ARE moments when I like it, but mostly I like the idea of it. Though working on site is good for sketching I rarely take a painting all the way through at the site.

People ask if I use photos when I create a painting. I very often do. Here are a few I took  to visualize a composition for this painting.  I see this view so often when driving over the bridge I wanted to paint it. There is a sidewalk on the bridge and I recommend walking it to slow down the view you see when driving.

“Downriver view from Highland Park Bridge” is for sale here. A list of things seen in my painting is at the bottom of this post.

Some of the many pictures I took to help visualize this scene:c000 Lock No 2 Pittsburgh - Copyc000Downriver view from Highland Park Bridgec000Downriver view to Lock No 2 from Highland Park Bridgec 000 62nd Street BridgePittsburgh -

I walk out on the bridge and do a quick sketch and take a bunch of pictures.  Then I put together my ideas indoors, where there is a sink, a bathroom, heat and air conditioning. Oh and a computer where I look at my photographs. So no. I am not a plein air painter. Not often anyway. I even take pictures of my painting while I am painting it and seeing them on a big screen helps me know what to do next. Pathetic words for a real plein air painter! What you can see in this  painting looking downriver from Highland Park Bridge:

Lock No.  2 on left at foot of Morningside . The bridge you see is the 62nd Street Bridge. The first neighborhood on the right is Sharpsburg and the docks and island nearest you are where, in 2015 you can rent a pontoon boat at Sharpsburg Islands Marina. The water tower is in Sharpsburg. A new plan is underway to develop a wonderful waterfront park.  It is  the vision of Susan and Currie Crookston.  The Crookstons generated community support from the three municipalities the property runs through, Sharpsburg, O’hara and Aspinwall. The new  Aspinwall Riverfront Park which you cannot see in this view.  It is on the right and it is just on the upriver side of Highland Park Bridge.

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