October 7, 2010

Red Rowboat sketches

I was asked to paint a picture of a rowboat that is moored each summer in one of the small bays in the town of Digby.  I have wanted to paint this for a while as it is a pretty little rowboat.  It is bright red and often sits in the waters reflecting the green of the trees and reeds around it.  (Red and green are complementary colours and the red of the boat stands out quite dramatically against the greens which predominate in our summer)

I started with the requests of my client who wanted a picture of the boat when the tide was coming in with the water halfway up under the boat. She hoped that I could include a line of white at the edge of the water, which she she has observed is a means of determining if the tide is coming or going.  Armed with this I spent a couple of weeks chasing the tide and the weather.  I had to get good photos to work from as this was a surprise for her spouse, who would be able to see me painting if he passed by the beach where I would be working.  It was astonishingly hard to get the right combination of good weather and the right tide at the right time of day.  The best time of day would be early morning or later in the evening as the light would be coming in sideways and highlighting the side of the boat.

I made several trips and got photos of the boat on the sand, the boat in the water and the boat in the middle of the day.  But none that matched what I was looking for.  In the end, in desperation, I dragged the kids along with me when conditions were good and got a few photos that I thought that I could work with.  I almost missed the tide as it was as I had to disentangle a child from the pile of rocks that he was climbing...  However, now I had something I could work with.  (Distraction with bagels from Tim Hortons helped this trip immensly, it was only when they were done with the bagels that the mountaineering began!)

Then I started doing thumbnail sketches, and here they are:

Because I had a few that looked promising, I then started doing some colour sketches.  I will post them in the next day or so.


  1. Hi Poppy, I especially love your water scenes. Great to see your sketches and look forward with enjoyment to your next series of posts on this subject :D

  2. Thanks Susan. I thought that seeing as there was so much before hand work in making this painting that I would share the thought process that went into it.

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