A preview of the sailing series.

Racing No. 1

My goal is to keep the paintings simple with clean colors.  I want the viewer to feel the wind filling the sails, the tension on the lines and the angle of the boats cutting through the water.

Sketchbook drawing: Drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.  I kept the color palette limited, warm and cool blues into violets with just a touch of  yellow.

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I crept up on this one, being careful to save the white of the paper for the middle cluster of sails.

Watercolor Study of Sailboats

The sky began as a very flat wash.  I like it much better with the suggestion of clouds.  The organic shapes of the clouds balance the angular shapes of the sails and creates a sense of air and distance.  The pattern in the sky also allows for more color play in the water.

I used several layers of glazes for the water, the sky and the sails.  The sails of the boats on either side of the cluster of three have the look of off-white cotton canvas sails rather than the sharp white nylon sails that are on the center boats.  I played with the values of the cotton sails to create lost and found edges against the sky in order to avoid competition with the center sails.

Having invested so many hours I decided to continue working on the painting I posted yesterday.  I learned a great deal.  For me, that’s what it’s all about.

Watercolor Study - 9" x 16"

I spent hours carefully drawing the boat, rigging and figures.  Unfortunately, I forgot that the watercolor paper was from a package that had been in Betty’s basement when it flooded.  The mold showed up only after I applied a wash of color.  The mold is on the left side where the figure stands, waving to the crew of the other sailboat.

First two washes, building layers of color variations and value

The images below show the original pencil value study and the value study in a monochromatic watercolor sketch.

Value studies in pencil and monochromatic watercolor

Close up of figure showing the effects of mold in the paper.  I had bleached the paper hoping to kill the mold.  The paper looked fine but obviously it isn’t.

Splotchiness due to mold

Close up of second figure:

Beginning stage of figure

A new subject to explore:

Sailboat Race, Watercolor Study

I’m working on two very different paintings simultaneously, a special watercolor of sailboats based on photos Michael has taken during races and the 24″ x 36″ oil painting of the building facade in Villeneuve for Mlle. Jane.

This morning I put an extra coat of primer on the canvas.  To improve the surface of pre-primed canvases I apply one or two additional coats of oil base primer with a palette knife.  I give it a couple of days to dry.

While Jane’s canvas is drying, I’m playing with several watercolor studies of sailboats.  It’s been a long time since I’ve painted boats in water.

Close Encounters

A pencil sketch of the crew aboard the Santarella in the 408 mile Fort Lauderdale to Charleston Race.

Crew aboard the Santarella

In my recent reading I have been reminded several times of the idea of placing one correct shape of the correct value beside another correct shape of the correct value moving outward one shape at a time until the drawing or painting is complete.  This is the first drawing I have done using that method.  Nothing was outlined.  I began with the central figure and worked out one shape/value at a time, always comparing the correctness of the value and shape before moving on to the next shape.  I have to admit that I was surprised by the result and I will definitely do it again.

That is my son, Mike, on the far right bending forward wearing the short-sleeved dark shirt.  I am used to sketching in a skeletal form to capture a posture.  I think drawing shape by shape captured Mike’s characteristic way of sitting more successfully.