Friday, July 19, 2013

Five Boats

During my continuing exploration of panoramic diptychs, I wanted to paint a piece that included a number of boats from Head Harbour, one of Campobello Island's little inlets.  Because I wanted to get a good composition, I chose to work from photographs mostly.  Boats, even ones tied up to the wharf, are notorious for moving.  Moored boats swing in the tide and wind, and boats at the wharf are likely to be taken out to fish.  So, I combined a series of three photographs into a 1:2 panorama with Corel Photo-Paint.  (I'm finding the Corel product a bit easier to use than Adobe's Photoshop.)

After I printed out my new design, I felt that I needed to move the blue boat elsewhere, so rather than go through the complexity of digitally cutting it out, flipping it around and pasting it in another location - and  possibly with perspective errors - I changed the boat position when I made my full-size sketch on a 12x24 panel.  The observant reader will note that even so, I still got the perspective a little wrong on the blue boat.  I didn't notice that until near the end of the painting process.

You'll note that the photos show a sunny day, but I wanted a moody, Maritime feeling to the painting.  So, I softened the light, choosing to add some spotty sunlight at the end.  In addition to the photos, I also used a plein air color reference, which was itself painted on a moody, Maritime day.  You'll note that this reference has an odd shape.  It is a narrow piece I sliced off a larger painting that needed cropping.  (I ended up selling the other portion.  I'll sell this narrow piece for $50+shipping if anyone's interested.)

Along the way, I felt that the painting needed something else.  An astute student, who in the past has helped with chicken-wrangling at some of more rural workshops, suggested a chicken.  Before actually painting one in, though, I decided to Photoshop it in first (or rather, Photo-Paint it in) to see how it'd look.  I really liked the surreal feeling the chicken added to the piece, but decided the painting would be a hard sell to tourists who might want a chicken-free scene.  So, I added some floats instead.

In the process of making adjustments, I corrected some perspective problems and added a little soft sunlight spilling down on the blue boat.  What makes this panorama a "natural divider" diptych?  The little island rock in the center serves to split the painting; each half could be a complete painting on its own.  It's much more subtle a divider than in some of the earlier paintings.

"Five Boats" (finished) 12x24 oil/panel
$1500 - contact me

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