A new Rowboat Painting—Step by Step

My initial step is always the drawing. I knew I wanted to continue my rowboat series, but this time I was not sure exactly how I wanted to have them configured. So I began with drawings of rowboats from diff angles.

And I continued until an idea began to gel. I did know I wanted perhaps as few as three elements: the boats, land and trees. Keep it simple. Throw out detail.

The four rowboats clicked, and I proceeded with the next elements.

And I knew I wanted to work on a very diff point of view than my normal looking down on the scene. I wanted the boats to be more eye level. With the rowboats jutting out from the right, and the land jutting out from the left. And holes where I could see the light beyond the trunks. At which point I disassembled (cut out) the drawings, and started to work with them on a new clean piece of large 48 inch wide paper--repositioning and finally taping the composition together when it felt believable.

Then I transferred the VERY simple elements of the drawing to my canvas--which was primed a warm gray (black, white, and iron oxide).

And then the blocking in of colors started with very very transparent colors--working with the light source first. The emotional impact was very important. Drama. But calm as well.

In the beginning, my color pallet consisted of only two colors, cad orange and brilliant blue (and of course white). I continued to work with this limited pallet well into the process, working layer on layer of translucent mixtures. I all but avoided the rowboats until he latter stages of the painting. Basically I waited to develop the sky so I could then see how that direct and reflected light would influence the reflections and shadows.

About 2/3 of the way into the process, I then added a few more colors to my pallet: brilliant green, cad yellow and a neutral blue--cerullian blue chromium.

It is not quite finished. I need to comeback to it with "fresh eyes".

Now I see I need a little more drama. as it feels unfinished. So I push the contrast slowly and very very carefully, as it is near the finish point. Voila. I am sure I will see something I want to change in a few days, but time to let it sit.

Thanks for taking the time to look and read.

Comments are more than welcome.  Jack Dickerson, 9/23/09