Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Red red sail

Red sail in Paimpol harbour

At the risk of boring you I'm sorry but I'm not done with this subject yet. This is a small oil painting on Arches huile paper distilling the subject down to it's basic elements. It's based on a sketching trip one afternoon in August to Paimpol harbour which I did tell you about at the time. I was waiting to meet my friend Lori Putnam off the train and couldn't believe my luck to see a few boats with their sails up in the harbour.

Here's my first drawing of the day, I was struggling to make sense of the lighting conditions and I think you can see my confusion in the sketch...

As I was finishing this one the red sail went up! I was SO excited, but I got to work quickly because I didn't think it would stick around....

But it was still there, and I thought I could do a better job so...

Yes! I was happy with that one. By this time the front of the buildings were in darker shadow which was making my life MUCH easier, and I veered towards green-blue in the shadow colour to help that red to sing out :-)

But as I was leaving I saw a better view, with the red sail on the right of the white sails so I had to sit right in the middle of the pavement there... it was awkward but it had to be done and the people who stepped over and around me seemed to enjoy the spectacle too...

Now please don't be getting sick of the red sail just yet because I'm working on a BIG one now in the studio, and I'm just hoping I can keep the same vitality.

I find if I'm working 'en studio air' it's best to tackle up to half a dozen at the same time and flit between them. This helps ward off the possibility of an unhealthy fixation forming with a rising pressure level, tense shoulders and a disposition towards tightening up. I also chant 'Just because it's big, doesn't mean it's got to be special...' (repeat to fade)


  1. These are great sketches. It looks as though some w/c pencil or crayon was used ? Did your note say it was a sea shanty festival day? (Chant marin?)

    1. Yes it was the start of the festival du chant marin although no music was happening at that time but in the evening. A black ink pen and several coloured felt tips were used as well as the watercolours :-)

  2. The red sail makes for such a fantastic contrast with the other details of the painting, thanks for showing us some of your artistic process!


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