I sketched this a few weeks back and just discovered that I hadn’t posted it. I guess it’s the last boat drawing of the year, sketched in a Pentalic sketchbook with no pen lines. The boat shapes from this viewpoint are so complex that I treated it very abstractly. If you try to figure out what mast goes with what boat, or even whether certain darks are part of the boats or the water, you get lost in the details. Instead, in my mind’s eye, I try to flatten the shapes into patterns of lights and darks, horizontals and verticals, and bright and muted colours. And then cross my fingers and hope the spots and dots look like boats.


27 Comments on “Docked”

  1. Monique says:

    Now that I have spent a yacht club..I cannot even begin to tell you how great I think this is!


  2. Nessa says:

    What a delightful way to handle that jumble of boats! All of those sailboats and masts could drive a person crazy if they tried to be to literal (unless they LIKE painting things that take hours to draw first and shift around a lot, even when docked). This is such an elegant and successful solution. Thanks for sharing it.


  3. Lynn says:

    This could so easily go wrong in most people’s hands and so right in yours. What I love about how you offered your thought process was the encouragement to try it – a bit of a trick but with a few tries maybe, maybe something a bit close.

    Fun to try I think. Thank you


  4. You should do a Craftsy class just on scenes such as this! I’d snap it up! Thanks, Shari!


  5. Jane Wright says:

    Your spots and dots succeed admirably.


  6. I just want to say…I really enjoy your paintings.


  7. Lise G. says:

    very nice … it’s like a dance of color … light … I like very well when it’s looking abstract … place for the imagination who gets a look …


  8. Alison says:

    I agree with Monique. This really captures the feeling of the yacht club docks. The seeming simplicity of it belies the skill at rendering this type of scene so abstractly. Great stuff!


  9. Dee says:

    And they do!


  10. rosjenke says:

    Marvellous! I’m in awe of your skill. I tried something like this and got completely bamboozled. And I’ll do another of your craftsy classes anytime.


  11. Great painting and great technique. Abstract lights and darks look like boats! Have to try this too.


  12. It is wonderful how you convey the feeling of being at a dock. Thank you for explaining what you do in your mind’s eye before starting a scene like this. I am going to try it soon.


  13. Excellent watercolor !


  14. anne farmer says:

    Fabulous! I have tried drawing on a boat. Results were…wobbly!


  15. holmar58 says:

    Your water scenes are my favourite Shari!


  16. Gia Mendoza says:

    I agree with all the positive comments above and wish there were how-to exercises in achieving similar results. What I admire most with your style is that your images all look simple, and wonderfully ‘recognizable’, ‘well-put-together’, ‘colorfully unified and pleasing’, yet, difficult (for myself) to execute.

    Your boats are a perfect example of conveying a picture of many boats behind the more detailed boats in front. The viewer’s eyes accept that, but how does the artist (you) translate that imagery with ink and paint? Any exercises you can suggest?


    • It’s great to hear from you Gia! You have given me a very hard question. I don’t have any exercises for doing this except to try to simplify what you are seeing. I know that’s not a very specific answer. I will try to think about it some more and see what I come up with.


      • Gia Mendoza says:

        Thanks for your reply, Shari. I guess I want a ‘magic pill’ that would duplicate your artistic vision and your skills… (hahaha)


  17. be happy ….. they do look like boats !!


  18. Barbara Beynon says:

    I am especially drawn to your sketches/paintings of sailboats–a subject my grandfather often painted. (He was not an artist by trade but a life long watercolor painter for the pleasure it gave him.) Your description of your process here is delightful and helpful. I recalled an earlier boat basin piece of yours and found it–May 30th. Your blog that day makes a great companion to this one. I agree with Laura’s comment that a class on boats and water would be a wonderful offering.


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