It’s officially spray paint season! In celebration of the 2018 spray paint season, I’ve gathered up a round up of some of my current favorite spray painting artists, videos, and spray paint art ideas on Youtube. These artists are currently inspiring my own artwork for the 2018 painting season.
I’m starting a new series for the blog on Mondays called Inspiration Monday. These posts will detail what is currently inspiring my newest artwork and creative projects. The first installment will feature spray paint, since it is finally warm enough for me to paint here in Illinois, if perhaps a little too warm. This series will give you a glimpse into what inspired my artwork and a peek behind the scenes of my creation process. Hopefully, this series will leave you also feeling inspired and ready to tackle your own creative projects.
Acrylic pour paintings are typically done on canvas, however today, I will show you how to create abstract paintings in Photoshop, similar to an acrylic pouring. For more information on the actual acrylic pouring process and techniques that have inspired me in creating this digital process, check out The Dirty Pour and The Swipe Method.
Abstract Paintings in Photoshop Inspired by Acrylic Pouring
Do you love the look of acrylic pouring, just as much as I do? Do you feel like it is simply outside of your wheelhouse and there is no way you could ever figure out how to do it? Are you having issues getting your exact mixing formula down with your acrylic paints and your pouring medium? Then, today I have a fantastic solution for you! I will be showing you how to create an acrylic pour painting using Photoshop, instead of having to fiddle with acrylic paint, plastic cups, and the proper mixing formula of your acrylic paint and pouring medium! That’s right! Easy abstract paintings in Photoshop with a similar look to acrylic pour paintings.
Using the Liquify Filter in Photoshop
For this tutorial, I will be using Adobe Photoshop CC. Under the filter options, you will see the Liquify Filter. The Liquify Filter is a way to pour paint without getting messy! The Liquify filter turns any image or layer in Photoshop into a fluid, free-flowing canvas. Additionally, you can push or pull the design, just like you do in traditional acrylic pouring when the paint is poured onto the canvas.
A few weeks ago, I briefly wrote about dirty pouring, a new acrylic pouring technique that I discovered. Basically, acrylic paint pouring uses acrylic paint poured onto a canvas or another substrate. This method of paint pouring is currently influencing and inspiring my new patterns and artwork, especially the acrylic swipe technique. A fun acrylic pouring technique to try is the swipe method. It creates a very different look from the dirty pour technique. I found 5 awesome examples of the Swipe Technique that I’m showcasing today to help inspire you to give the swipe method a try!
What is Paint Pouring?
Paint pouring is done by mixing acrylic paint with some kind of pouring medium. The pouring medium allows the acrylic paint to become more fluid, flow better, and increases the drying time. First, the artist mixes the pouring medium and acrylic paint together. Next, the artist pours this acrylic paint mixture onto a canvas. It creates a look a bit like marbling. There are a number of techniques that can be used for creating different looks with paint pouring. Some of these techniques are dirty pours, puddle pours, swiping, and dipping paper into the excess paint from the pour painting. A few weeks ago, I showcased some of the amazing artwork I have recently discovered using the dirty pour technique. Today, I thought I would highlight 5 awesome acrylic pour paintings that use the acrylic swipe technique.
I love winter! It’s truly one of my favorite seasons. There is such beauty in the winter. From the pristine look of new fallen snow to the intricate snowflakes that fall from the sky. I suppose winter is one of the reasons that I enjoy living in the Midwest. I created several new winter photo mandalas using my nature photography to celebrate my love of this season! Hopefully, these new winter photo mandalas will help to shake away some of those winter blues!
I love mandalas. And I love photography. Therefore, creating beautiful mandalas from photographs is something that I really enjoy. I love how combining photographs can create something completely different from the original. Basically, I created several templates using Illustrator to combine my photographs into a mandala.
Consequently, I created several new winter photo mandalas in celebration of the beauty of winter. These winter photo mandalas use photographs of icicles, ice sculptures, winter icons, and other elements found within my nature photography. I placed these photos into the various photo mandala templates to create these new digital artworks.
Reminisce about childhood and building snowmen on those fun winter days with this photo mandala. Ice Snowman uses a photograph of an ice sculpture. I love how this photo mandala forms into a snowflake design. Yet, it still retains the details of the ice sculpture. In addition to the art print that is available in the Adria Black store, I also have this mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
Another fun photo mandala for winter is Snowflake. I created this piece using a photo of a white, lighted Christmas tree. Again, this photo mandala forms a glowing, white snowflake design! The art print is available in the Adria Black store. Additionally, I have this winter photo mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
Another interesting artwork, this photo mandala features holly berries that had fallen onto some brick pavers. The details that were captured in this photograph are amazing! Additionally, the geometric patterns in this piece are very interesting. The art print is available in the Adria Black store. Additionally, I have this winter photo mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
Another holly themed photo mandala. Holly uses a photograph of an actual holly bush, capturing a festive and wintery feel. In addition to the art print that is available in the Adria Black store, I also have this mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
Another winter photo mandala that used a Christmas tree photograph is Merry Christmas. This photo mandala truly captures the traditional feel and colors of the Christmas season. The art print is available in the Adria Black store. Additionally, I have this winter photo mandala available on a number of home decor products through Society 6.
I hope these new Winter Photo Mandalas have helped you see some of the beauty of winter in a different way. I know that we all get a bit blah due to the winter blues. Plus, dealing with the yuck that comes with this season. But let’s not forget that there is beauty in winter, as well. I’d love to hear what you think of the new winter photo mandalas in the comments below! To purchase any of these pieces, simply click on the photos above.
Every year people around the world tend to set New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, most people fail to see any headway on these resolutions, whether it is the desire to lose weight or become more organized or whatever. I am definitely one of those people who discovered that New Year’s Resolutions just don’t work for me. Instead, I believe in choosing a word of the year to help guide me. This word helps me to set and focus the various goals that I desire to accomplish. For 2018, my word of the year is going to be Intentional.
Word of the Year
If you haven’t ever heard about this way of setting yourself up for success for the new year, I would recommend you check out Ali Edward’s One Little Word. I first learned about the idea of choosing a guiding word for the year from her. I have been doing it for about 6 years now. In the past, I’ve chosen words such as Create, Explore, Action, Focus, and Flow. Each year these words help to guide my business and my creativity. Additionally, they also effect and influence other parts of my life.
Examples of Past Word of the Year Choices
For example, I chose Create many years ago when I was feeling stifled and frustrated. I filled 5 art journals that year. I created quite a bit of artwork. However, I also created new relationships and friendships, started a new job, and created the foundation for this awesome business here at Adria Black Art – even if I didn’t know it then!
Another year, I chose the word Flow. This was the year of dealing with a new baby. I spent this year figuring out how I could still create my artwork with Atizle needing almost constant attention when I was not working at my day job.
Intentional in my Business
This year, I have chosen the word Intentional. I am often distracted by what I call the “Ooooo, shiny” syndrome. I get distracted and run around on rabbit trails on the occasion. Or I may see a squirrel. If any of you feel this same way at times, you know exactly what I mean!
This year, I want to be more Intentional about how I am using my time, primarily in regards to my art business. Especially, since Atizle is in regular preschool, and I have several hours every day to devote to working and creating. Also, I seek to be more Intentional with the artwork I am making, including the reasons behind that artwork. I love creating art for art’s sake. However, I also want to be thinking about the final presentation of my artwork. Is it a pattern for new Society 6 products or a stand-alone print? By keeping these presentation factors in mind, I will stop wasting so much time going back and forth. Additionally, I need to be more Intentional with developing systems and standards to guide my business.
How I think Intentional will Effect my Personal Life
Obviously, I don’t always know what effect my word of the year will have on my personal life. However, I seek to be more Intentional with my work hours, so that I’m not working ALL THE TIME. I’ve decided for this year that I will try to stop work hours around 4 p.m. each day, so that I can properly spend time with my family. Instead of the usual, mmhmm, sure type responses that I know they currently receive, because I’m distracted trying to finish something work-related.
So I’m aiming to be more Intentional this year, instead of relying solely on New Year’s Resolutions to make me achieve a certain set goal. In a way, claiming a word of the year is like agreeing to a habit. The habit of being more Intentional with my time, my limited resources, and my relationships. What do you think about New Year’s Resolutions? Do they work for you? Have you ever tried using a Word of the Year? I’d love to hear all of your thoughts in the comments below!
Marbled artwork is so unique and interesting! I love how no two pieces are the same. Artists use marbled artwork to create cards, journals, home decor items, and so much more! Last summer, I tried marbling with spraypaint to create a series of cards. Today I am sharing this very simple marbling process.
History of Marbling Paper
Marbling has been used for various purposes throughout the ages. Marbling began in Japan around the 12th century. This technique involved floating inks on water and then placing a piece of paper onto the floating ink. This technique is still popular even today. This Japanese technique is suminagashi. Another type of marbling originated in Turkey, Persia, and India during the 15th century. This technique is known as Turkish marbling or Ebru. This style of marbling used thickened water, similar to current marbling solutions today. Ebru produces amazing backgrounds and usually has a design lightly combed into the foreground such as flowers or leaves.
During the 16th and 17th centuries the art of marbling spread to Europe. The marbling industry kept the marbling trade techniques secret. Often decorative book binding used marbling, such as book endpages. In 1853, Charles Woolnough revealed the secrets to marbling in his book, The Whole Art of Marbling. Unfortunately, machines automated book production by the time bookbinders had access to these techniques. Marbling lost popularity until the 1970s, when handmade books emerged and helped to renew the popularity of this art form. Today, marbling has thousands of masters who continue to explore these traditional methods and develop new ideas.
Samples of My Marbled Paper Projects
Over summer, last year, I created these really neat marbled stationary cards. It was a lot of fun, albeit extremely messy. Even my daughter, Atizle, got in on the fun and helped me to pick out color schemes. I love how each card is different from the rest. Marbling with spraypaint is a very fun process with such cool results!
Marbling with Spraypaint
First, you must have a bucket or pan deep enough for your paper to be submerged in. This is very important! I tried to do some different sized objects and I really struggled with the items that were bigger than my aluminum foil pan. By the way, you can usually snag 2 pack of these pans for about a dollar or two at the dollar store.
Prepping for Marbling with Spraypaint
Fill the pan with enough water so that your object for marbling can be completely covered with water.
Choose the colors of spray paint that you will use. The spraypaint cans need to be well shaken. This process is very fast. So it’s important to have EVERYTHING set up and ready before you spray the paint into the water.
Make sure you have some sort of drying station setup. I hung some clothesline and clothespins along the railing on my steps, so that the pieces could easily hang up to dry.
Once you have your paper/objects ready, your marbling pan filled with water, chosen your spraypaint colors and shook them so they don’t clog or spray funny, and your drying rack is setup – its time to play!
Process for Marbling with Spraypaint
Spray 2-3 colors into your water. You can dip your paper or objects in now, or you can use a stick and swirl the paint. Remember to work quickly as the spraypaint will dry very fast. The spray paint sits on top of the water, and once the paper touches the surface the paint will stick to it! Dip your paper/object in the water, remove, and hang to dry. You can usually get 2-3 pieces from for each time you spray paint into the water.
Warning – your hands will get completely covered in excess paint! So you may want to use gloves. I rarely use gloves when I paint. However, I ended up completely covered in paint for several days after these marbling sessions!
Marbling isn’t just for Paper
Marbling is a very unique, and interesting art form that has been around for ages! Each piece is a complete original. So every piece is new and different from the previous ones, even the ones that use the same paint colors! You can use this technique to create some new artwork or even cards to send to your family and friends! This process makes quite the mess, so prepare for that part! Marbling with spraypaint is super quick. If you don’t feel you are up for the mess, feel free to snag these awesome marbled stationary cards from the shop. Marbled artwork also looks fantastic on other pieces of home decor. I’d love to hear from you if you decide to try out marbling with spraypaint, so please leave a comment below!
It’s officially spray paint season, everyone! I have been creating spray paint art for a bit over 8 years whenever the inspiration and weather decides to cooperate with me. I am so super excited to finally be enjoying some lovely warm weather so that I can get out and shake my spray cans! Last Christmas, I decided to give my dad and my nephew some of my paintings for gifts, and they have been talking about them ever since.
This prompted me to make a decision for 2017 to focus more on expanding my knowledge of this art form. As further motivation, I applied for a craft show for my spray paint and I was accepted! So my first craft show was this Sunday (May 7th) at the MIP Craft Show in Milan, Illinois at the Eriksen Car Dealership. And it was totally awesome! Thanks everyone who came out and said hi!
Spray Paint Art
The most important detail of my spray paint art is that it is completely created using only spray paint on poster board. Through various techniques of scraping paint and using old magazines, I create different textures and effects that make these very realistic paintings. It is a lot of fun to play around with this medium! If you are interested in this kind of thing, check out SprayCasso on YouTube.
Spacescapes – Spray Paint Art
Everyone in my family really loves the sci-fi genre. Most of my family are huge Star Wars fan. My dad and I enjoy reading sci-fi novels. It’s a big deal in this family! So I really enjoy to create “spacescapes”. These paintings are a style of spray painting that combines planets, galaxies, stars, and so much more. I have also recently started adding space castles and that kind of thing to my space paintings. Below you can check out some of the new Spacescapes that I created in the last few weeks.
Decorative Flowers – Spray Paint Art
With mother’s day right around the corner, I decided to create some fun and unique flower paintings that Mom would love to receive for her special day! I used a couple special techniques to create these pieces. For the multi-colored daisies, I layered a mixture of colors and then layered black spray paint over the top. Using magazine sheets and a special palette knife I carefully removed some of the black paint to reveal the colors underneath. These pieces remind me of the old scratch board art that I used to do as a kid, where you scribbled with colored crayons and then layered black crayon on top and scratched the crayon off to create your design.
The second technique that I played around with for these decorative flowers involved the use of a straw. I created my backgrounds for each piece and then sprayed the flower colors onto the painting. While the paint was still wet, I used a straw to blow air into the puddle paint to create my flowers. I really love how these flowers turned out! They are just so pretty!
Landscapes – Spray Paint Art
I love the realistic effects that can be achieved using spray paint and the techniques that I have learned. These really come into play when creating these fun landscapes. Often the landscapes have a dreamy and other-worldly feel to them – like something you would see on a different planet!
I tend to include water of some kind, mountains, trees, and other nature elements in these spray paintings. However, my favorite from this recent work is definitely the waterfall with the spring flowers all around it!
Let me know what you think of these new spray paint pieces in the comments below! All of these pieces are now available as prints, home decor, and other products on Society 6. Simply click the image of the painting that you love and it will take you directly to all of the available purchasing options. If you want one of the original paintings, you can feel free to email me at email@example.com!
Tomorrow begins the #The100DayProject by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. The 100 day project begins April 4, 2017 and continues through July 12, 2017. This project is a great way to start working towards your goals, whether that is writing, drawing, or cooking homemade food every day. Whatever your goal to living your life better, take the next 100 days and really focus on working towards creating something you can be proud of. Check out the official website for the 100 Day Project for more information on this awesome project!
Making Mandalas for #The100DayProject
For my 100 day project this year, I am going to be creating mandalas in some form or another every single day for the next 100 days. I will be posting weekly updates on Mondays so that you can check out the projects I have completed. Plus I will let you know how I’m currently feeling about the project as the weeks progress. You can also check it out on Instagram where I will be using the hashtag – #the100daysofadriablack
My History with #The100DayProject
I have attempted the 100 day project in the past and it was a big fail. April is always a really busy time for me. With the changing seasons, I also seem to get more migraines and they seem to last longer than usual. So getting through the month of April itself can be hard for me. But I’m going to try again this year.
Last year, my project was not specific enough for me. I wanted to fill a journal that I had made by hand. However, my inspiration quickly dried up and the project got neglected so I could focus on life instead. This year, I am hoping with a specific project like making mandalas I will have plenty of inspiration. I’m allowing myself the freedom to make my mandalas in whatever medium or method is easiest for the day so that I can fit it into my day. I do not want to stress out because I have to get a full piece done! So if I only have a few minutes to work on a mandala that is perfectly acceptable.
On Saturday I did a test run of my mandala project. I created this lovely piece on Yupo paper using watercolors, pen and ink. I sketched out the mandala first with pencil on a piece of cardstock paper. Afterwards, I placed the translucent Yupo paper on top and painted over it, using my pencil marks as a guide. Although, Yupo paper and watercolors tend to do their own thing! When I had painted the mandala and achieved the effects that I wanted from the Yupo paper, I proceeded to outline the whole piece with pen.
I really love how this first mandala turned out. In addition, I also inked the original pencil sketch so it is ready for tomorrow. I can add color or paint or whatever I feel like when that day arrives! In order to be prepared for the next 100 days, I also got another batch prepared on the white cardstock using a compass and various round objects from the studio to create some guidelines for my mandalas.
The Next 100 Days of Making Mandalas
I’m not sure where this project will take me in the next 100 days. But I am excited to have a specific project to work on every single day. You can definitely expect to see some mandalas in April’s new Mixed Media Collection, coming at the end of the month. I would love to record these new mandalas, but somehow in the process of moving the art studio and reorganizing, I have lost the power cord to the camera. Hopefully it will turn up soon!
I also want to incorporate some of the kaleidoscope photography techniques that I have been working with in March to create a series of mandalas. So stay tuned for those pieces as well!
Digital Versions of My Mandalas
While I was uploading my mandalas to Society 6, I decided to add a couple of color variations through editing in Photoshop. I did two different versions of each piece for a bit of variety.
Have you ever tried #The100DayProject? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below! These pieces are available on Society 6, simply click the photo and it will take you to the purchasing options.
I am constantly trying to expand my skills in photography, and recently I’ve been working on learning my way around Adobe Photoshop to create digital artwork. For the March Mixed Media collection, I wanted to really emphasize Spring. Once I started playing around with my spring photographs, I discovered a very interesting way to create a compilation of photographs that look almost like they came from a child’s Kaleidoscope. I really love how these Kaleidoscope photographs turned out, and now I just can’t stop making them! The geometric designs are just so cool!
Creating Spring Kaleidoscope Photographs
All of these photographs were taken at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory during their free Spring Show preview. The Conservatory is an amazing place to visit in the Quad Cities Area. Atizle and I try to make at least a couple of visits every year to watch the flowers and blooms change through the seasons.
Next, I arranged 16 – 20 of the original image onto a canvas in Adobe Photoshop. I continued to work with the images through the rotation features until I had a composition that I loved. For these pieces, I focused on creating geometric patterns that felt balanced.
Geometric Patterns on Society 6 Products
These images turned out so beautiful and unless you look very closely you cannot see the original Spring floral images, but they still have that bright, Spring feel! These new Kaleidoscope photographs look so cool on their own. But I think they look amazing when applied to the Society 6 products (which you can do with the majority of my photographs and artwork). Check out this Kaleidoscope photograph on some of the Society 6 products.
Spring Photographs from The Vander Veer Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa
Therefore, I created several of these kaleidoscope photographs using photographs from the Vander Veer Spring Show. I loved all the brightly colored flowers at the Conservatory, as well as the pattern of the skylights. Below you can see some of the other spring photographs that I captured at the Vander Veer Botanical Park Conservatory’s Spring Show in Davenport, Iowa.
Spring Kaleidoscope Photographs
Finally, I also created kaleidoscope photographs from these images, which you can check out below. All of these prints are Giclee prints and therefore keep those vivid, bright colors that make Spring so special after the long Winter. You can also get these Spring kaleidoscope photographs on all the other products that Society 6 offers, such as bedding, beach towels, pillows, tote bags, and cell phone cases.
I would love to hear what you think of these new Kaleidoscope photographs. Do you love them and want to see more photographs in this style? Let me know in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to check out the abstract tie dye patterns from last week, which are also part of the March Mixed Media Collection! All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!
I love playing with paint, stencils, and stamps and all kinds of other goodies. Despite being March, in the midwest that doesn’t mean it won’t snow. So during a recent snowstorm, I decided to have a printmaking session. I recently watched a Creative Live class on printmaking, How to Create Collage Paper and Andrea Chebeleu had used paper towels soaked in liquid acrylics for her printmaking. Which I thought was an awesome idea and I’ve wanted to see how it would work.
I decided to use Golden fluid acrylics (Green Gold, Teal, and Quinacridone Magenta) and some Daler Rowney liquid acrylics that have mica (they are the pearlescent kind). I loved these colors together! I wanted bright, vivid colors that also felt like spring – which I just can’t wait for its arrival!
I used two droppers of the colors and two droppers of water into some old lids. After I had the colors mixed up, I folded the paper towels into a triangle shape, kind of like doing a tie dye shirt. I dipped each end of the triangle into a different color until the paper towel had soaked up the color fully. I carefully unfolded the paper towel and placed it onto a piece of white cardstock. I then used stencils, stamps, and other textured items to create prints using the ink soaked paper towel. The prints turned out really cool and I got a ton of different really cool pieces from this process. I tried recording the printmaking session, unfortunately, my daughter wanted to help me so I wasn’t able to record. Maybe next time!
We also a clothesline that we have hung up in the hallway that acts as our dryer rack. It was so exciting to see the clothesline full of these gorgeous prints!
I also took snapshots using my phone of some of the really cool bits from each print. I loved all the texture that the prints have from the bubble wrap and the star stencil, and even the lines that I drew onto the paper towels while I was printing.
I scanned the prints and then played with the colors through Photoshop. I also scanned the actual paper towels that I tie-dyed and used kinda like a giant ink pad. So I ended up with a ton of different variations from this one printmaking session.
I learned all kinds of new things during this printmaking session. I’d love to hear what you think of the abstracts! More goodies from this printmaking session will be coming soon in the March Mixed Media Collection, so stay tuned! All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!
Atizle and I often go on road trips when nap time is approaching. Driving along in the car is one of the only sure-fire ways for her to get a nap anymore. We discovered the Centennial Garden at Middle Park in Bettendorf, Iowa during one of these driving-around-hoping-for-a-nap days. Despite being in the middle of winter, this garden was still beautiful to walk through and was quite awesome in the design and landscaping.
History of the Centennial Garden
The Centennial Garden was developed to celebrate Bettendorf’s Centennial in 2003. According to a Quad Cities Times’ article, Sue Laimans came up with the idea for the Centennial Garden at Middle Park, while she was serving as the Beautification Committee Chairman, because Mayor Ann Hutchinson wanted to create something permanent to mark the city’s milestone. The idea was to fill the garden with plants that were popular during each of the decades of the city’s first century.
The Landscape Architect, Todd Wiebenga of Aunt Rhodies Design Studio, created the garden in a flower shape so that each petal of the flower would represent a decade in Bettendorf’s history. Each petal has been planted with perennials that were introduced or available during that specific decade. There are 228 different species in the Centennial Garden, so the flowers in the garden are constantly changing throughout the seasons as the different perennials bloom.
The center portion of the garden is dedicated to the 2000’s and hosts the memory stones, which individuals or businesses could purchase to commemorate a special event or person . A gorgeous metal structure called the Decagon of Honor encloses the 2000’s garden and shelters the memory stones. Another unique feature of the Centennial Garden is the Steps of Progress that have all of Bettendorf’s Mayors names and term dates engraved on them.
Highlights from the Centennial Garden
The Decagon of Honor is a really cool, unique feature to this garden. It adds such an interesting design element to the garden that I tried to capture it in a variety of ways while we were there. It also contrasted with the brown of the plants in winter in a really interesting way. Atizle loved the memory stones, as well as the Steps of Progress. It was another grey, wet, rainy day that we were out photographing, and it gave the stones throughout the Centennial Garden a really cool look in the photographs.
We will definitely be returning to the Centennial Garden again once the flowers start to bloom! Have you been to the Centennial Garden at Middle Park in Bettendorf, Iowa? Let me know in the comments below what your favorite parts of it were!
All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.
There are many iconic landmarks in the Quad Cities. But the I-74 bridge is the one that defines the Quad Cities area to me. It showcases this area’s relationship and connection with the Mississippi River and how it has greatly affected the area through economic, cultural, and technological advances. Whenever I am shooting photographs along the riverfront, I try to find a way to capture the I-74 bridge within some of the shots, as well.
Atizle almost always joins me in my photography sessions and she was super excited about this one, because we got up close and personal with the Mississippi River. Check out the quick vlog that we did during this shoot below!
10 Facts You May Not Know About the I-74 Bridge
During my research on the history of the I-74 Bridge, I found a fabulous article from the Iowa Department of Transportation that details the entire history of the I-74 Bridge. This bridge has an 82-year-old history and will not be around much longer, as the bridge is not up to the latest Interstate standards and cannot keep up with the current daily crossing capacity of the vehicles that use it on a regular basis.
#1. The I-74 Bridge is actually the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge
The I-74 bridge is officially known as the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge, although it is often called the Twin Bridges or the I-74 Bridge. It was originally dedicated in November, 1935, in the memory of Iowa’s and Illinois’ World War 1 Veterans. When the second span of the bridge was built (1959), the bridge was rededicated to local veterans of both World Wars. The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was finally dedicated to include local area veterans from the World Wars and those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars when it was opened to Interstate 74 traffic (1970s).
#2. The I-74 Bridge is a Pair of Suspension Bridges
The Twin Bridges are actually a pair of suspension style bridges that carry Interstate 74 across the Mississippi River and connect Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois. These bridges display classic details that are shared with many of the suspension bridges associated with their designer and engineer, Ralph Modjeski, who also designed the Delaware River Bridge (later renamed to the Ben Franklin Bridge).
#3. Ralph Modjeski designed the I-74 Bridge
The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was designed by the engineer, Ralph Modjeski, who was born in Poland in 1861. His first commission was in 1893 when he designed a bridge that would combine a railroad and highway bridge. This bridge is also in the Quad Cities area (The Government Bridge) in Rock Island, Illinois. His last project was the design of the second span of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge. So Modjeski started and ended his career in the Quad Cities area.
#4. The I-74 Bridge Began as a Toll Bridge
The first span of the I-74 Bridge opened as a toll bridge in 1935. Traffic studies indicated that creating a toll bridge between Moline, Illinois, and Bettendorf, Iowa would effectively pay for itself. The tolls remained in place until the bridge came into the Interstate System in the 1970’s. The last toll was taken on December 31, 1969. The toll rates were 15 cents for cars, 5 cents for pedestrians, and trucks varied based on size and weight.
#5. The I-74 Bridge has a Capacity of 48,000 Vehicles
The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was built for a daily crossing of 48,000 vehicles. While the daily average is 80,000 vehicles according to a letter sent to the Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, in December of 2015 by Cheri Bustos, a Congress Member for the 17th District of Illinois.
#6. The I-74 Bridge was one of the Public Works Administration’s Projects in the Quad Cities during the Great Depression
The I-74 Bridge was original funded by the Public Works Administration (PWA). The PWA was created and directed by Harold L. Ickes under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. The goal of this project was to focus on major infrastructure and other large-scale projects, such as building dams, bridges, irrigation systems, in order to stimulate the economy and provide permanent improvements for the United States’ Citizens. The first span of the I-74 Bridge cost $1.45 million, which was paid back to the US government through the tolls that were collected.
#7. The Twin Bridges are Almost Identical
Despite the two spans of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge being built at different times (1935 and 1959), the two spans are virtually identical. Modjeski’s original design plans for the first span were used, with slight modifications, when the second span needed built to accommodate the increased traffic.
#8. The I-74 Bridge had to Undergo Significant Changes to Join with the Interstate
When the Twin Bridges were brought into the Interstate in the 1970’s, a number of changes had to be made to the original designs so that it fit current Interstate standards. Some of these changes were the removal of sidewalks, replacement of railings that had been along the sidewalks, removable of the tollbooth, construction of new on-and-off ramps on both sides of the river, and no longer allowing pedestrians across the bridge.
#9. The I-74 Bridge was the Third Way Across the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities
Before 1935, when the first span of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was built, the only way to travel between Moline, Illinois and Bettendorf, Iowa was by ferry or (after 1896) by crossing the Government Bridge between Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa.
#10. The I-74 Quickly Became an Iconic Landmark
The Twin Bridges quickly became an icon for the Quad Cities after their construction. Images of the bridges immediately appeared in local business advertising, as well as on Quad Cities postcards. The Twin Bridges continues to be an iconic landmark of the Quad Cities area even today!
We also captured a few shots of the Mississippi riverfront and the stairs to the marine.
Did you learn any new facts about the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge? Tell me in the comments below! All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.