The Boat in the Mud

I set myself a time limit on painting this scene, my reasoning being I wanted the class I was teaching to move away from using photographs as a reference. I use them extensively in the classroom as they are a very useful teaching and learning resource, but we have to use our visual memory and imagination when we engage in art. 

I therefore had a good look at the reference and put it to one side. I had to translate on to the paper as a drawing what I could visualise from the photograph. The amount of information you can glean in three minutes is a lot, do not underestimate your visual memory.  

Once my drawing was complete, it was the boat in the foreground that took most of the time to draw I was ready to paint, I started on the background painting quickly yellows, a variety of greens: I applied the sky colour later on in the painting process. 

I then used weak washes of purples, blues, indigo blue to make the shapes of the buildings and windows. I used a variety of blues for the boats and the water including: turquoise, ultramarine, cobalt blue.  

For the boat in the foreground I used a burnt sienna for the wooden trim, turquoise blue for the inside and then started painting in the mud. I used in order: yellow ochre, brown, burnt umber and then I mixed the two brown colours with indigo blue. I used a very large brush to represent the sludgy nature of mud.  

The painting and drawing took two hours to complete, with no reference to the photograph throughout. Why don’t you try this method yourself? You may find you prefer using your memory rather than a photograph.

 

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