BoatyardPosted: April 18, 2016
Pre-season at the boat club is almost more exciting than when the boats go in the water. The overlapping shapes and colours in the boatyard— light and dark, bright and muted — make for a great subject.
I have my copy of Edgar Whitney’s The Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting sitting next to me as I write (sometimes I even use it as a weight on my scanner!). I often leaf through it and read a tidbit here or there about composition or design. Coincidentally today, after I scanned my version of a boatyard, I opened it to Ed’s painting of the same subject, titled High and Dry. Here’s what he says about his own work: “The first question to ask in any painting project is, “What am I trying to say?” Make this answer, or “telegram to yourself” succinct. The telegram here was boatyard. The second question should be “what is the best way to say it?” The answer to the second question is found by observing and expressing the characteristics found only in that locale.”
What does that mean? For me, it means trying to convey the forms of the boatyard with an economy of strokes. The focus in this little sketch is the boat shapes — both front and side views — and the masts. Once those are in place, the rest is filler. And if I can manage to cram most of the lights and darks and all the bits of pure colour into that area of focus, then it’s a good day of sketching.