Smitswinkelbaai – fishermen #3

I entered my fishermen painting in the local watercolour exhibition.  mmm ha – OK it is alright – but as my friend Mel pointed out, it is two or three different paintings kind of plakked onto a page.  So I decided to do it again.  I have been asked to submit five paintings for the SASA merit exhibition in Jan sometime (note to self – read the mail bud…)  I am keen to paint in the next few weeks to see if I can’t crank up my skill and create something new and fresh.  Of course this will mean turning down some of the around-the-house jobs.  So I will have to see how well I can work when I sleep in the kennel (just kidding).

Anycase I am rambling.  This is because I have drawn up the sheet and am building up the courage to mix the paints and do the work.  Here is the design – what do you think?  The smudges are from Dobbie and Frodo walking on it while I was supervising my nephew Ben who kindly picked up an irrigation upgrade job for me.  What a guy – thanks Ben.

This is on a full sheet of Arches Cold Pressed.

Oh yes, I also entered one of my paintings of Ethan doing an Ollie, (the first one with the dark tree in the background.  The one you guys who comment here gave me such useful feedback on.  And I entered one of my paintings of The Pipe (well I had to I think).

The judges told me that they argued about whether they should throw the painting out because it was entered in a frame without glass or give it first prize because it was so good.  Talk about a polarised jury.  Anyway they didn’t hang and put it on with a highly commended or something.

Anyway – I will stop procrastinating.  I will crank up Carly Simon really loud and begin.

OK – Carly Simon did the trick – as well as JS Bach on the organ.  So I did the first wash – covering most of the painting though I had not intended to paint this way – it just seemed to go that way.

I had just done this when I was called for pizza made by Aura and Sinead – those girls can make a mean pizza.

Thanks for the comments Leslie and Cecily.  Mmmm – I see the pencil is quite dark.  I actually did do a sort of value sketch but in the end I worked out the composition and relative sizes of the figures, rocks and boat on the page which I guess is a bit messy.  I am going to see the link you left Leslie.  Thanks for the other view.  Some of the people here are very easy with offering criticism.  I am OK with that too.  And your comments provide a nice balance.  One of the judges was  a local artist who approached the whole business in a more intuitive and emotional way and he said he found it difficult to deal with the others who were more formal and I suppose academic.  I love Charles Reid’s comment that people who invented composition had nothing better to do with their time.  (o: – I like iconoclasts…

I hope I can do more tomorrow.

OK it is now Monday morning and I had a chance to do a little work on the painting yesterday afternoon.  Just in one corner.

On Saturday evening I was a bit bushed and tried to get going.  I did the green on the boat and realised I was going about this wrong.  So I retired and read from one of Charles Reid’s books as I lay in bed.  I like the way he does a whole section of a painting in one go – but (and here is the lesson for me) he does not do the whole painting at once (necessarily).  So is it OK to do a section and rest.  You can see I put in the figure with the yellow hat.  The Rastas grow long dreadlocks and put them in hats like this.  I was getting into a bit of flow with this part of the painting when I had to go. I am quite pleased with how it looked.  Here is the detail:

OK it is Monday night and I have had a chance to do more on the painting.  There is a scary amount of colour that has to go onto the rocks in the foreground.  There is a lot of moisture to manage.

The purple rock looks just like that, with these beautiful stripes.   In fact the colours in the rocks are just right.  Shame the little boat is kind of hanging there.  I should have put in some of the surrounding colour.  I must think about the sea too.  Mmmm – big paintings are a mission – fun – (0:

Here we are on Tuesday night and it is time to sleep – but I am now this far:

What do you think?

The purple rock in the foreground has the most beautiful stripes.  But I think it looks like bad watercolour so I am planning to wheel in the Squirrel Mop (gasp!).  I have tried to keep the outcrop in the background more subdued.  And of course the poor little boat needs a sea to cruise around in.  I found some scarlet lake for the boat which has a lovely shiny red hull.  I quite like how the chatter marks on the foreground rock worked – the sea rolls these rocks around on the beach in the big storms.

OK – what do you think of the Thursday night version?   mmmmm – haaaaa??? I am not sure?

OK and here is the final:

And here is me varnishing.  I stick paintings on the wall outside the studio for natural light and there is a tree I lean against to steady myself.   When it was up I noticed the ropes hanging over the back of the boat had not been completed.   And some gross detail; I spit in the palette to wet my brush so rather than going inside – lazy me.


15 thoughts on “Smitswinkelbaai – fishermen #3

  1. Drawing looks good to me, Stephen. Would love to paint on it, myself. I don’t seeall that much wrong with your first one. I liked it and as for paintings that include many stories in one, Echostains just posted a very famous painting during the Pre-Raphaelite period that was a hit because it di have a lot going on! You can find it here: It is the one called “The Railway Station”. Hope that helps. I saw nothing wrong with the first one.

    • Ha thank Leslie – I like the posting and will read it again – I like that he starts with the Turner painting which incidentally did not sell in the Royal Academy exhibition when it was first shown. There is a thought.

  2. A nice sketch Stephen. Can only be a good painting. Do you really leave such dark pencil lines? I have never done watercolours, so I don’t know how it works.

  3. Stephen, now I feel a bit bad. 🙂 I wasn’t telling you the lines are too dark, I really wanted to know how it works with watercolours. 🙂 I should come for lessons at some time. I’ve never tried watercolours. Have a good week.

    • Hey no its OK – I did not take offence – but to answer your question I guess my lines are a little darker than usual but that is OK – Some watercolourists erase their lines but I like to leave them on. Though I must say – these could do with some clean up. Some people don’t draw at all but work directly from sketches or from life. I have tried that too and found it nice and free but also my dimensions can get wonky. I got a chance to do more of the painting yesterday but just a corner – I have some work to do now and will post the update later…

    • And yes – I would love to assist you to get started in Watercolour.
      I am out your side quite often and we can make a plan if you like.
      I am not running a class at the moment but am open to the idea.

  4. I leave my pencil lines in my work. I like it when artists do. I rarely purchase works that I can not see some of the evolution of the work. That means I like to see evidence of the artist’s creation along the way and throughout the piece. I admire Homer and had the opportunity of viewing many of his watercolors a few years ago. There were pencil lines in all of them. Such joy!

    • I agree Leslie – I must say that often when I erase I feel the painting loses something. I like the authenticity of a nice strong pencil line. mmmmm – nice conclusion to the matter I think. Yes it is a joy. The guy sitting in the middle ground however was such a bundle of scribbles that I had to clean up. Actually my whole page got a bit smudged which is not so lekker. This is what happens when you do your planning on the finished thing (imagine if builders did that in houses – oh – actually they do here in SA (o: – a little dig). I did do a little plan though. So there is a step forward. I have been looking at the other version of this. The seated figure is actually too small for where he is in the painting. The perspective is a little wonky there. Not a huge problem but there he is. Well he could be one of those very little guys.
      Right – Avanti – on with the day! Goto get a note out to a client – adesso!

  5. I like both versions of this subject. Seeing that you asked about the design, and now that it’s too late anyway, I might have left a bit more space between the near seated figure and the distant figures, just opened it up a touch. Still, very nice work.
    Regarding pencil and watercolour: I draw lightly and rarely use my eraser. Love seeing the pencil.

    • Thanks Barry – yes I agree about leaving some space. I am going to do it again and I am also going to move the outcrop at the back up a little and flatten it out a bit – make more space in the middle ground. I have it up as I work – hopefully I can get into it later.

    • Thanks Cecily
      By the way I spoke to the guys at ‘Art Jamming’ in Willowbridge mall about the possibility of running a watercolour class there. Just a thought hey. I kind of like the idea – and I get 10% discount at Deckle Edge for art supplies.

  6. Gorgeous piece of work.
    I found it interesting to see the evolution of this piece. When you first put in the green rim of the boat it stuck out like a sore thumb and then at the end, you hardly notice this rim of green.
    Everything is context.
    Those big red rocks in the foreground pull the interest forward and the detail of the figures beckons at the back. It’s a great visual ploy. It works!
    Good luck with your competition.

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