Friday, September 22, 2006

Barges on the Thames, A Painting a Day

I have found that whenever I feel as though I’ve hit a plateau as a painter, I become depressed and negative about myself quickly. In the past, whenever this happened to me I discovered that a switch in medium is often exactly what is required in order to cure the condition. Switching from oils to acrylics this past summer produced a number of fine acrylic paintings that I was quite proud of. Along the same vein, I decided this week that I needed a little change from oils.

So last night I started with a pencil sketch of two boats, in order to get the values right.

Then I took out my watercolors and painted “Barges on the Thames-Dawn”.

If you’re unfamiliar with these bewitching British boats, here’s a short history:

Thames sailing barges, with their massive sails, were a type of commercial sailing boat common on the River Thames in London in the 19th century. Because they were flat-bottomed, barges were perfectly adapted to the Thames Estuary with its shallow waters and narrow rivers. These fine old ships, with their distinctive red ochre sails, evoke an era long since past. They were once the East Coast of England’s traditional cargo vessel, and at the turn of the century the fleet numbered over 2,000. Yet today only a handful survive. You can see them in museums in England and particularly in the seaports from Essex to Norfolk, where a few have been lovingly restored by barge clubs, who sail them strictly for pleasure. To learn more about them, you can also go :here

This painting was a real switcheroo for me, and not just because of the medium. I finally forced myself to stick with only three transparent primary pigments. Since watercolor is such a capricious mistress, I also forced myself to put the paintbrush down and leave it alone this morning. I wanted to keep the water and sky irrelevant and focus attention solely on the boats. You can click on the picture to see more detail.

The painting is signed on the front and also comes with a certificate of authenticity.


, , , , , ,

1 comment:

AscenderRisesAbove said...

lovely little sketch; the color really makes it pop. I switch mediums like that too and understand completely when you feel the need