This small (5 x 7 in) painting is from a photo my wife took while on a trip to San Francisco. I’ve drawn from this photo set before, and I just really enjoy looking at boats; so despite the complexity here, I decided to tackle it anyway.
I was challenged by a lot of things in this painting. Perhaps I was trying too many things at once, but I learned quite a bit.
I didn’t care for the pronounced canvas texture in my last painting, so I coated this one in several very thick layers of gesso earlier this week. I’ve only done a couple of paintings, but I’m fairly certain I prefer the smoother texture. I will alternate the next several paintings to see if I change my mind.
I started this painting with brushes that were probably inappropriately large for this size painting. By the time I finished, though, I was using a much smaller brush. I tried to use a palette knife to create the masts, but I haven’t figured out the touch for that yet, resulting in a mess; I actually did better using the tip of a flat brush.
I screwed up the hills in the distance. They were a nice gray-purple, then something possessed me to wash them with raw sienna – turned them to mud. I desperately need to spend some time working on color theory.
But the big thing for me, was that I loosened up a bit. I focused more on the big shapes than on producing a photographic representation. I worried very little about getting the details in – you’ll notice most of the masts in this painting don’t actually connect to anything. It was a lot of fun.