Gloucester Harbour

Can you understand why I love the harbour scenes in Gloucester? It’s this contrast of big shapes and small ones, lights and darks, straight lines and curves that make it so fascinating and so much fun to paint. I worked on this by starting with the big shapes of the sky, the buildings, the boats and the water. Then I added the details like the reflections, the dark shapes between the pilings, the windows and the shadows. Good thing I started with those big shapes because when I was about halfway through a huge fishing boat pulled in to unload and blocked about 3/4 of my view. I was able to complete the details mostly from memory and partially from the bit of the scene that I could still see. Painted on Arches 140 lb CP paper, 15″ x 11″.


19 Comments on “Gloucester Harbour”

  1. Dee says:

    Oh, those delicious smooth washes!


  2. Shari,
    I love this. Did you work directly on the paper with not lines at all. Just watercolor?


  3. Ian says:

    Hi Shari
    This is a delightful painting by any measure. Just a minor point though – your tallest mast/pole support is missing


  4. Ross says:

    Looks great. I get the feeling that there was a lot of reducing of detail happening in the background?


  5. TonyU says:

    Hi Shari. Lovely …. as always! Would be interested to know what time of day it was? What made you go with the yellow sky? And what sort of value sketch you do for something as complicated as this … even though as Ross says the real scene was probably even more complicated. Sorry …. so many questions. Best, Tony


    • Thanks Tony. I painted this in the morning, probably between about 10 and noon. I went with the yellow sky because it was a really hazy day and that seems to convey haze well. I wanted to have more warmth in there. Years ago I studied with Milford Zornes for two weeks on the Ligurian Coast in Italy. We underpainted every watercolour in yellow. If you have a look at his work you’ll see what I mean. He was a member of the great California group of watercolour painters. and I think some of that stuck with me. Here is a link to what I was looking at:
      I did a value sketch for this but it is so rough it’s not worth posting. In a scene like this the values are so clear to me right off the bat that I started painting almost immediately.


  6. Fantastic! I’m studying this well to try my hand at it in August. Thanks for the thrill of anticipation!


  7. mysiteexists says:

    Do u made this with only water color ?


  8. tmikeporter says:

    Reminds me of Frank Webb’s style; a nice application for the subject.


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