Oil painting of a river from a bridge

From the Bridge
By Barbara Coleman
12 x 16 in.
Best in Show Award for the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico National Exhibition Sorrel Sky Gallery, Santa Fe NM

In the words of Jill Carver, Judge of Awards, “From the Bridge” is: “An excellent piece. Absolutely dynamite. It just glows with light from within. That is really hard to pull off. It is very hard to get the values right when you are dealing with high chroma […] Barbara showed masterful handling and management of what is going on out there. The bridge adds a narrative, and the foreground sets us up in the shadows so the light appears more vibrant. There’s so many things that, as an artist, I know could have gone horribly wrong when you’re painting a scene like this. The difficulty of the scene, the fleeting late, low light elevated this piece with amazing handling. Really strong work.”

Bridges fascinate Barbara Coleman. She says: “Bridges are steeped in symbolism. They are about transition. Taking you from one shore to the other. Spaces of transition are called liminal spaces. A space between the familiar and the new, the past and future. They are places where you don’t spend much time. You generally don’t live on a bridge. You have to trust the bridge will support you all the way across, that you can face any troll lurking under the bridge that might impede your crossing. Profound wisdom to guide our life choices are embedded in sayings such as ‘cross that bridge when you come to it’ — a reminder to take care of today and not to try to solve tomorrow’s problems with today’s tools. Or, ‘don’t burn all your bridges,’ a warning we all understand. Bridges connect. The fleeting light and long shadows in the painting add to the feeling of transition and transformation. Day is deepening into evening. Rivers are the most dynamic of ecosystems, always transforming. We each have our own symbolic meanings for rivers. “From the Bridge” is also a tribute to two dear friends who died of COVID-19 this past year. Our lives are fleeting but precious, ever changing. We need courage to keep crossing over, to not get stuck, to unify and connect. And there is the simple magic of just walking over a bridge, a moment of walking over air. A moment to

Barbara Coleman has Signature memberships in Oil Painters of America, Pastel Society of America, Plein Air Painters of New Mexico and is an Associate member of Women Artists of the West.

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Current shows: ArtsThrive Exhibition, Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM