Monday, November 15, 2010

Grays River

This is a painting I did in the early 70's of the oldest remaining covered bridge still being used in the state of Washington at the time. I gave this painting to my mother-in-law because she collected pictures of covered bridges. Michael and I eventually divorced and some years later his mother gave this back to me when she decided to redo things in her living room. I am going to give it to my youngest daughter, who lives in Maryland, as a memento of her grandmother and so that she has a piece of my artwork. I have to touch it up in a couple of spots because somehow along the way I got some paint on it that doesn't belong there.


Becky and I were chatting with a couple at the "cranberry pancake" breakfast they held during the Cranberry Harvest Festival. The breakfast did not really include cranberry pancakes which was a little disappointing to us. It did, however, result in a couple of good things.
1. I won the raffle for the quilt.
2. The couple sitting next to us were quite chatty and friendly and we ended up talking about the Gray's River Covered Bridge.
I did not get their names, but the man was telling us about the bridge and he mentioned that it had been rebuilt. (by this he meant the walls and top, not the base). He said that they used aluminum siding when they rebuilt it. I had a hard time picturing that. He also informed us that they were now holding yearly dinners in the bridge. We were very interested in that little piece of information. It sounded like it would be a fun thing to do. We figured we would check it out.

I decided to take a few days off from work this past weekend. My granddaughter was getting married and that was as good as an excuse as any. I called Becky and let her know and asked if maybe she wanted to go down and take a look at the bridge and then drive into Long Beach. I haven't been to Long Beach for more than 20 years and thought it might be a nice destination for us sometime next year to take a few days and rent a cabin or a yurt.
She agreed and we hit the road at 7am Sunday morning for a nice day of driving and looking around. I was totally relieved to find out that the man was wrong about the siding. The bridge has been redone, but it is beautiful wood and looks pretty much like it did when I did the painting. The only real difference is that the one side has not weathered yet. And I'm not sure about the top. It IS aluminum or metal of some kind and the original might have been wood. I will have to look that up.
Here are some pictures of how it looks now. I could not replicate the positioning that was used in the original photo that I used when I did the painting. Those trees grew up to be very big and there are even more than in the painting. There was simply no opening in which to take a picture from that angle.
The roads were dirt in the photo I used as my "model" for the painting. They are paved now. Maybe I will do another painting reflecting the new landscape.

As you can see the background hills are still covered in trees, although there are many more than before. The two trees directly behind the bridge at the left in the painting are still there. One grew bigger than the other and the leaves have fallen, but they are visible in this photo to the left of the group of bare trees along the banks. The big tree that casts its shadow and discolors the wood on the side of the bridge facing us is also still there!



This picture shows the brushy hill that is at the foreground of my painting.



This one shows the road that is now paved instead of dirt.



Here is a picture of the other, less weathered side.



If you look closely, you will see that we found evidence that the story of dinners in the bridge might be true, so we asked at the Gray's River Cafe when we ate there. They are true and we are thinking we might just try to attend one. It just sounds like fun.

6 comments:

mental mosaic said...

Wow! I love the painting you did, Sheila! I opened it up in another window to get a better look. The atmospheric quality is so nice. I love looking at landscapes in real life, but don't always like landscape painting because they can feel kinda stiff to me. I don't know how to explain it. Anyway, I love your painting 'cuz it's not stiff at all.

I'm really glad you got the painting back and will be giving it to your daughter. That is a wonderful thing to pass along.

Do you still paint?

Cranberry pancakes sound good. I think you were cheated!

Dinners in the bridge? That does sound interesting! Let me know...

Love the fork!

~Tui

Christine said...

You can paint!!!! Dang, that is good!!!! I am impressed.

The Invisible Mo said...

@ Tui...Thank you so much. I never thought I could paint because I seriously cannot draw, but I decided one day to try it and found out I could sketch enough to get a base for painting. I took some classes from a guy named Bob Thornhill, who was an excellent teacher in that he didn't really teach as much as guide. It's hard to explain, but he was great. I am trying hard to get a studio put together in the garage, but it's going slowly. I need the creative outlet and miss having a place to go and paint or do stained glass.
I will let you know how the dinner goes if we get to go.
@Chris...I thought you knew, lol. I thought I told you I was an artist when we talked about carving. Thanks for the kudos!

Becky said...

I had no idea you were such an amazing painter! Beautiful! Now I want you to paint something Saskatchewan for my living room! Get going!

Love the fork on the bridge. That's the best thing I've seen all day.

The Invisible Mo said...

@ Becky...what size?

The Invisible Mo said...

@Becky...oh, and thanks!