Build Your Own Boat
Docks and shipyards are challenging places to draw. A dock needs to be drawn carefully, and there is a lot to measure. Once you get the main plane of the dock drawn in space, use crossing diagonals to divide the space equally and then again and again for the piers or pilings.
The Concept The mechanism that makes tree-ring dating possible is that trees growing in the same climatic region (Europe) or subregions (Eastern Europe vs. Western Europe) respond in a recognizably similar fashion to the same general climatic stimuli. These stimuli may be temperature or rainfall or some combination of the two. In trees from the Eastern Baltic to the English Channel and even across into Great Britain and Ireland, adverse growing conditions will produce narrow annual rings, while favorable growing conditions will produce wide rings (Bail-lie, 1983). The sequences of such changes over time are unique. Moreover, subtle variations of ring growth, specific to a particular region, sometimes allow the dendrochronologist to determine the precise geographical origin of a panel (Eckstein, WaZny, Bauch, and Klein, 1986). For example, it has been shown that a large number of oak panels now found in a wide variety of Western art collections were cut from trees that grew in the...
Porlock Weir is a magical spot in Somerset. It's an artist's paradise where you can wander around an area of a quarter of a square mile and find enough material for a hundred different paintings. You can then paint them quietly, without dozens of onlookers crowding around. However, this is where skill in composition is important. This scene, and the way it has been composed, followed all the rules. The main object, the cottage, is in the right place. The eye is taken into the painting via the path on the left of the cottage, which is the area of most contrast and color. Even the little dinghy on the right, while not competing for attention, is pointing to the focal point. There is plenty of harmony, gradation, and warm and cool color going on throughout the painting a thoroughly satisfactory design
David discovered the lovely town of Looe, on the south coast of Cornwall, while touring the West Country. The harbor there provided him with great subjects, and in this instance he found the fishing boats tied up against the quay irresistible. Having sketched the whole scene on a separate pad to establish the general composition, only then was he ready to begin his finished painting. As I said before, the preparatory sketch is important because it concentrates the mind and helps decide the positioning of the focal point, and the balance of the painting. In this case David decided that the two foreground boats were to be of primary importance, and so he positioned them at a spot which left a different distance from each edge of his paper.
Hear the crash of the ocean waves. They come up to your bare feet, and the water tries to take the sand out from under them as it recedes into the sea. Watch the waves ebb and flow rhythmically. The empty windows of the beach houses along the ridge above reflect the sky. Sand grasses sway in the temperate breeze. The salty air is heavy with humidity, but the wind is cool against your cheek. A child plays in the sand in front of you using her bright yellow plastic bucket and red shovel to build a sand castle embellished with seashells. Past her, the sea encroaches on the land, and gulls swarm above a rusty fishing boat as it pulls into the old harbor for the evening. You turn your gaze out to the sunset as the evening sky blazes orange over the azure water. In the mood to paint a seascape I sure am
Boats are favorite seascape subjects. You can capture working boats like fishing trawlers, tugboats, and freighters. You can paint pleasure boats like yachts and sailboats. You can render small watercraft like canoes and dinghies. All are excuses to get the colors flowing.
The playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) attributed the launching of a thousand ships to Helen of Troy's face and, although it seems unlikely that that portion of her anatomy was alone responsible for so much dockyard activity, few would deny the singular importance of the face in distinguishing one person from another.
We're back in Maine now, this time looking inland with my back to the sea at high tide. At low tide there would have been only a trickle of water down the middle of the channel. Although there were clouds at mail)' different levels, they were fairly static, and the scene was very peaceful and still. Although it is tiny, the distant dinghy attracts the eye, positioned as it is as the darkest dark against the lightest light. Also, of course, it's the only man-made object in the scene. The lighting in the sky was interesting. The sunlit cream of the distant cumulus contrasted well with the deeper colours and all were reflected in the water below. I've continued this into the foreground grasses.
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