Fantasy art / comic illustration 'Downtown Waterville, Maine': The Two Cent Bridge, Opera House, Old Post Office, Lebanese Mural, and Oh Courant in Downtown Waterville, Maine

Downtown Waterville, Maine

© Brian Vigue

Where to begin in creating an image to represent Downtown Waterville? Post Office Square and the Two Cent Bridge are usual suspects and initial considerations. Fine structures but, knowing how much detail I put into my drawings, I wasn't foreseeing either of them filling and entire canvas. With a new creative spirit engulfing the city, I wanted to explore the more artistic side of Waterville, such as the Lebanese heritage mural on Main Street, "Oh Courant!", at the Public Library, and the waterfront renovation project. The metal sculpture herons there may be a little under the radar, but I think they're kinda cool! That brought me back to a Two Cent Bridge scene, but I couldn't get a decent composition that fit everything together. Then I thought, why not be really creative and mix it up with a compilation of Waterville landmarks!

So the picture starts with the Two Cent Bridge overlayed by "Great Blue Herons" (Kimberly Bentley, Heidi Pomerleau, Denise Rohdin). The bridge magically leads into the skywalk of the Opera House, another notable landmark. Currently Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) paper lamps are strung about the place, so I included some of those as sort of a compliment to the cables of the bridge.

Or your eye can follow the Castonguay path to the Railroad Square Cinema, sister venue of MIFF. Railroad Square, as the name implies, is surrounded by tracks and crossing signals, so why not separate the bridges with one.

The flags on the side of the Cinema lead into an American flag on Main Street. This states that no, anything north of Portland is not part of Canada! Alongside the flag pole is a streetlight with a very appropriate banner message: "Converge and Create". Both of these stand before the Lebanese Mural (Kevin James), and the sidewalk leads you to the stairs of the Old Post Office. Yes, this is a Rube Goldberg device of Waterville scenery!

Along with painting, sculpture, and motion picture arts, there's music. Mainely Brews, at the Post Office Square, has entertained me lately with some live shows and tall reds. Some of this drawing was created there, too.

Taking the zigzag path beyond the Cinema and past the star lilies that decorate Castonguay Square, you come to one of the newest artworks to grace town: "Oh Courant!" (Gina Colombatto), a ceramic and glass mosaic that beautifies the concrete ramp of the Waterville Public Library.

Thus ends the tour of my chosen landmarks. If you're not from around here, mind that this was just an artistic tour of the eye; the placement of these things is not consistent with their actual locations. (Only the Opera House borders Castonguay Square.) Boundary-wise, Post Office Square is the gateway to downtown, but I've come to know a variant conception. Even though it's the least centralized venue, I included Railroad Square because of all the connections it has to downtown, and it is technically on Main Street.

The picture was done with Prismacolor pencils, not a forgiving medium at all. Unlike painting a background then overlaying it with foreground objects and highlights, it's just the opposite with pencils. First came the cables of the bridge, then the task of stuffing leafy bits and sky bits between each cable. Same deal with the lilies in front of the library ramp. And knockouts don't work very well: the "Railroad Square Cinema" and "Converge and Create" lettering is all negative space! A tent was initially drawn in front of the Cinema because MIFF was coming through at the time. I eventually decided the tent wasn't an integral part of the scene, which left an awkward space where park mixed with parking lot. The orange star lilies were added to repair those seams. I suppose this is what tattoo cover-ups are like.

I listened to a mix of 80's music while working on this, although One 2 Many's "Downtown" gave me an extra flourish of inspiration. Come downtown, in the city there's a lot of fun, down downtown... Remember that one? No? You're normal.

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