Boats on the Water

seascape - boats on the water

One of the best things about having an art studio in Asheville's River Arts District is that I can paint mountains and trees and water (which I thoroughly enjoy), and every time I run out of subject matter to inspire a painting, I just go for a walk and I'm full of ideas agin. The only difficult thing here is that I don't get to regularly paint subject matter that is outside the typical "Blue Ridge Mountain" genre. Do NOT get me wrong. I absolutely love paintings these mountains, but sometimes, it's just really fun to paint something different.

A couple months ago, I was asked to paint a couple sea-sunset themed paintings and I had a blast. I guess my client was happy because they since asked me to paint a third piece for them. "Are you up for a challenge?" they asked. Undaunted, I of course accepted that challenge. 

To be honest, when I was given the photo to be used for this commission, I was nervous. The main subject of the photo were two shrimp boats (I think that's what they were) but the photo was really dark and I could see very little detail in the boats. So the trick was to suggest the detail I saw in the photo (the detail you'd see as silhouetted against a blazing sunset) and leave it at that. And a new challenge for me: how to suggest all the ropes and lines you'd see on shrimp boats without getting too much into the detail of it. Understand, the goal is to LOOK detailed without BEING detailed. If this painting looks right to you, then I figured it out, so...let me know. :)

A Paumanok Picture
by Walt Whitman

TWO boats with nets lying off the sea-beach, quite still, 
Ten fishermen waiting--they discover a thick school of mossbonkers-- 
they drop the join'd seine-ends in the water, 
The boats separate and row off, each on its rounding course to the
beach, enclosing the mossbonkers, 
The net is drawn in by a windlass by those who stop ashore, 
Some of the fishermen lounge in their boats, others stand ankle-deep
in the water, pois'd on strong legs, 
The boats partly drawn up, the water slapping against them, 
Strew'd on the sand in heaps and windrows, well out from the water, 
the green-back'd spotted mossbonkers.