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When’s a bridge not a bridge ?

Following on from the watercolour painting I did a couple of weeks ago of the Staffordshire trees and bridge over a stream, it reminded me of ANOTHER bridge, stream and trees that I have always wanted to paint since I first saw it five years ago…

Except in this case it wasn’t actually a bridge……………………… although it certainly looks like one!

Its over the meandering river Darent in the village of Farningham in Kent. The minute I saw it I fell in love with it. I love old stonework, and arches, particularly if they’re by water. Its in a beautiful setting by the delightful Lion Hotel in the very picturesque village of Farningham, And as you can see in the written information on the board by the folly its about 270 years old….

I took a few photos from various angles on the day I first saw it but this one above was the best one to work from for my watercolour painting, as it had the three arches and was at a shallow angle to give interest for the painting, and picked up the subtle tones of the brickwork, moss, stonework, wooden cattle screen, and the shallow river below.

After stretching a piece of watercolour paper onto my artboard and letting it dry off overnight I drew out the image, and painted the pale blue sky, then the trees behind the folly. I then painted the big tree on the left of the foreground as I knew part of it overhung the folly and I didn’t want the tree to take over the picture so I painted that in a warmer green and the black of the trunk to add interest. I then painted the pale bridge on the right hand side of the picture, making sure that it looked more muted for the background.

Then was the fun part of painting the folly and I started on the right of it working at each part over to the left hand side, there is a lot of detail in the folly and I wanted to make sure that I took my time painting it, to capture the old brickwork, the mosses, and ferns growing in it, the decorative stonework, and the reflected light under the arches as they picked up the sunlight around them. I painted the dark wood of the cattle screen when the stonework was done, then the water which had a yellowish greenish tinge to show the shallow river. Then I painted the grass and soil of the bank in the forefront of the picture.

It looks very simple but there are a lot of hours work in this watercolour painting, to capture the delicacy of the old brickwork and stonework is this idyllic setting. The painting measures 12 x 8 inches and is called ‘Farningham Folly bridge’.

I really love the place, and love the folly, and think I’ve done it justice!