Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - About Boats

"The Simone & Rachel" 16x20, oil, en plein air

I've been painting boats lately. Boats can be complicated - they're full of compound curves. And boats can be undependable, because they go up and down with the tides, and they are likely to vanish when the fishermen show up for work. But I enjoy them. I like their shapes, especially when I have a big canvas and can let my whole arm swing as I sketch in their curves. I also like their proportions and consider them a worthy challenge. It's a good feeling when everything comes together just right!

The best boats to paint are the ones that are beached. If you can catch them at low tide, they will stay beached - it's not until the tide floats them that there's any chance of them being put to work. Today, I went over to Lubec, Maine, to paint en plein air the "Simone & Rachel," which is exactly that kind of boat. I've seen it at low tide several times, and I reckoned that at today's low tide, it'd be there again.

Once I got it back to the studio, I spent the afternoon adjusting values and edges.

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