Sunday, October 06, 2013

My Mighty Mac

After cropping the greyscaled image I put it into GIMP photo editor
 and played with the perspective to create
 an exaggerated towering effect.
It makes me kind of dizzy looking at this image
 so I think I'm on the right track.
Here I've greyscaled the bridge and cropped the lower portion
The original image

I'm referring to the Mackinac Bridge located exactly 50 miles north of my home. When I was just a kid I loved it when my family traveled across this bridge. With my Dad at the wheel of our '47' Chevy, I would plant myself in the back window looking upward and watch with glee as we passed beneath the huge towers. As an adult this mighty bridge has become mighty scary to me. I'm not sure when this shift occurred. Maybe it was the first time I was allowed to be at the wheel when we crossed. Wind is a huge issue on this bridge and if you're going even a tiny bit too fast you will feel the awful sensation of hydroplaning. I remember feeling like the car wasn't responding the way it should and my instincts told me to speed up and get off the bridge as fast as possible which is absolutely the wrong reaction to the situation. And did I mention, I'm afraid of heights, too? It's taken me years to conquer a 6' ladder and now I'm 199' above a huge body of water with a car that feels like it could careen out of control at any moment. Yea, I think that's when my love affair with the Mighty Mac ended. I'm not alone in my fear either. According to this blogger it's listed as one of the 10 scariest bridges in the world.

To be fair, it's an amazingly beautiful bridge and not responsible for my phobias but my intention is to project my own visceral reactions via a painting of the Mighty Mac. I have one other phobia that I plan to draw upon to create that sense of loss of equilibrium/panic. I also have megalophobia. It's an irrational fear of large objects and, in my case it's a fear of certain gargantuan manmade structures. It only rears it's head when one or more of my other fears is also in play, ie. fear of heights. Julie Christiansen, a wonderful photographer, was kind enough to give me permission to use a few of her bridge photos to use as reference. This will be an ongoing work in progress. By that I mean on again, off again over the coming winter. The painting must be large to convey the emotions and sensations I hope to project.



Unknown said...

Was wondering when the fear for the bridge and the fear for Heights are combined when you drive over that bridge, maybe you could show that heightfear in your painting by lowering the waterlevel/horizon so that the distance between deck and water becomes larger?
(btw I know about heightfear, I start trembling when I have to stay on a chair.)

Billie Crain said...

I can try another composition, Cecile and see if your idea works. Or I could concentrate on one fear at a time. I'm still in the planning stages on this one. At this point I plan to title it 'Mighty Mac' so focusing on making the tower look megalithic was my main objective.

Katherine Harra said...

I saw this post with the photo and your sketch the other day, BEFORE you left your nice note on my blog (thanks!). I am looking forward to seeing the results. I think your ideas about incorporating some of the accidental photo effects to add drama and - potentially - vertigo - to your painting are very good. Did you specify what medium you are going to use? Acrylic?

Billie Crain said...

Hi, Katherine! I'm not sure what medium I'll be using. I think it will be a mix of some sort. Probably watercolor, gouache and maybe some Caran d'Ache watersoluble crayons or colored pencils. The suspension cables concern me the most. Those long straight lines are way out of my wheelhouse. I can feel my painting hand getting shaky just thinking about it.