I produced another plate in my two days. The image was in mind before I arrived.
A few days previously, using up unused paint in doodles at the end of the day, I produced this:
Accidental may be but, to my Novocastrian eyes, clearly an unconscious abstract of the view downriver of the six bridges over the River Tyne at Newcastle. So I made some sketches of the idea, including a painting:
Then I made a detailed drawing from a photograph I had taken last year from the train, to ensure that I had the six bridges in the correct visual order i.e. which was in front of which viewed from the west.
From that I selected the horizontal, vertical and curving lines which made a good composition and yet showed something of each bridge in the correct visual sequence.
To keep it simple, at this stage I dropped the railway bridge I was, as it were, standing on and the Metro bridge immediately in front of it. I then traced the semi-abstracted four bridges:
and, turning the tracing paper round through 180 degrees, drew the mirror image direct on to the plate so that the final image would come out the right way round; which it did:
Not the world’s greatest print, perhaps, and the weaknesses are not obliterated by a little colour, though it makes it easier on the eye:
If I go back to Sudbourne, clutching my precious zinc plate of the Tyne Bridges, I’d like to have the chance to clean up the image and strengthen some of its lines to give the etching a bit of artistic character. It obviously lost its engineering credibility some stages back!
Factually, the view is from the west, looking downriver at, in correct visual sequence, Armstrong’s Swing Bridge, The High Level Bridge (railway on top, road below), the Tyne Bridge, and the Millennium Bridge (‘the Blinking Eye’). The last, a walkway, effectively prevented vessels of any size passing under the Tyne Bridge.