Old Packhorse Bridge

I felt like doing a small painting. I wanted to do something intricate that I could obsess over the details on a bit. When we were in Scotland, the first place we stayed was a town call Carrbridge. The town is famous for an old stone bridge that crosses the River Dulnian. It’s called the Old Packhorse Bridge. While I was there I did a quick watercolor sketch from a photo I took, but decided it was time to do something more serious.

I took a different approach with this one. I tried very hard to use Marc Holmes’ tea-milk-honey approach where you start with a very light sketch and then gradually add more and deeper color in layers. I tend to be impatient, so I start adding too much too soon, but in this painting I was pretty disciplined. I’m also pleased that I left out a few details that I think made the scene less pretty. My engineer’s brain always wants to paint all of the details, including the ugly stuff.

After the pencil sketch I put a light layer of foliage in. Then I did the first layer of water. Then I did a light sketch of the rocks and bridge. Then I went back over the whole painting deepening the color and correcting a few things I didn’t like. Finally, I did the tree trunks and branches. I liked the result.

Here is the painting. It is 8×6 on arches paper with da Vinci watercolor paints.

Here is the photo.

4 thoughts on “Old Packhorse Bridge

  1. Hi Cindy, I like the way this turned out too, and I like your description of the layering technique you used. I was also drawn to this bridge on my last trip to Scotland. We visited it at the end of our journey instead of the begining. I think I mentioned to you that I started a colored pencil sketch of it. Seeing your painting makes me want to get out my sketch and work on it.

    • Yes, you did share that you had sketched this same bridge. It was a lot of fun to come back to it when I had some time to focus on it. You should get out your sketch!

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