Monday, November 12, 2007

How to make a painting

Recently, I mentioned to my First Mate that I was now blogging. In HER blog, ( she started to brag about my "many talents" and I thought, "Gee. Why not share a little about the other side of my life... the side not directly related to boat reconstruction?" So, I offer here a little diversion:
One day we went walking through the park in downtown Guaymas and I started taking photos. Once downloaded to my computer I started pawing through the images for A STORY. Paintings can be hard work, time consuming, frustrating! Don't waste your time making something that just matches the curtains or the new sofa. Tell a story. And in one of my 8 or 10 photos, I found a Mexican Car Wash... look carefully at the center of the above photo.

I printed out a color version of the area I wanted to create and transferred the image to a canvasboard. The first step is to use a wash of thinner and oil paints to establish shadows, large areas of color, skin tints... the works. I often find that as I progress through the painting, some of these washed-in areas are perfect the way they are... I just leave them alone.

Then I start mixing paint and dabbing in the regions I want to define: the characters in my story... This is when I may experiment with changing the colors of clothing, cars, whatever... that needs to be either brought in the foreground or pushed back because it doesn't add to the story. In this case, I didn't change much. I did, however,  make the car a brighter red to create a focal point in the center of the composition.

In the version above I thought that maybe the iron lampposts would look good as wrought iron black, but as you can see, they seemed a bit overpowering and I moved back to white... something you can do in oils. In watercolors, you're stuck with what you put down first most of the time.

Here also, you can see that I am working in a triadic primary palette. The blue, yellow and red dominate the color space and really bring the scene to life... 

The strong shadows in the background emphasize the brightness of the day, the warmth of the climate, the clarity and quality of the light in Mexico.

A few more hours of detail work and the "Mexican Car Wash" will be ready for framing and a place on my wall.

Getting way out there.

This is what we call the Flying Saucer Version.
Looks different, huh? Is it feasible?
Hey! It's PLASTIC! Anything is feasible!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

One year later...

Yesterday was the anniversary of the first time I saw the GF and stepped aboard. I had purchased the vessel from photos I had been emailed by the last owner... hmmm, perhaps I should tell the story?

For the last couple of years, I had been perusing the internet for a larger boat. But the interior designs/photos I had seen were tight, crowded and dark. It occured to me that if I could design my own interior, I could have a boat that serves my needs and not the needs of some strange sailor/owner profile... so I started looking into damaged boats, hurricane vessels, and the like.

As I continued the process, I started getting an idea of the ideal hull for a project boat: I wanted it to be already gutted out to save me the work; I wanted a boat over 40 feet in length; I wanted a modern, fast, efficient hull shape that could give me a good turn of speed and sail upwind well; it had to be cheap; and it had to include all the standing rigging in good shape; I didn't care whether it had a motor or not, I would probably repower anyway; and I wanted a center cockpit with a nice large aft cabin.

My reasoning was that I might not be able to purchase a 40 foot boat outright, but I could pay for the materials over time as I needed them, and labor rates in Mexico are a fraction of stateside prices.

Last fall, I noticed a posting on the Morgan Owners discussion board about a project boat going up for sale. (I also own the Morgan 33 Out Island, Bliss). The vessel was located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The owner had been struggling with physical problems (a torn rotator cuff) and hadn't been able to do much with the boat. Then, his wife reached retirement age and was quitting her job, his house sold, and now he had the cash to go out and buy the cruising boat he wanted to sail off into the sunset with his wife. He could sell the project cheap and get out from under the storage costs.

Russ and Shelley Terry sent me the pictures of the boat, along with construction estimates, and lists of included gear. It matched my list above to a "T". Actually, it was even better... it was a Morgan! And I knew Morgans, and about Morgans, and all the people who owned Morgans.

Time for the morning cruisers net on channel 72 in San Carlos, Mexico. I'll continue later...