Saturday, July 05, 2014

Boat hunting

I've taken a couple of weeks holiday and have been using my time searching for boats, planning paintings and generally working like crazy on the art side of my life.  Funny how we think of holidays as relaxation - seems that's not on the cards for me much, but I do fit in some lounging time to sit with my coffee or wine in a chair in the garden.

I travelled all over the Burin Peninsula for three days, searching every cove and harbour for wooden boats.  Armed with a tireless driver and knowledgeable navigator, boats were found but it did take some looking. The trend is towards fibreglass boats instead of the traditional wooden boats and I can understand the change, as it makes fishing easier with low maintenance and lightweight structures.  But the lines and shapes of a handmade wooden boat are things of beauty and its sad that they are becoming harder and harder to find.

The boat that is reknowned in this region is the Grandy Dory, a large sturdy  fishing boat used for generations of inshore fishermen.  It proved very difficult to find one in the water, but finally on a day that was pouring with rain, one turned up. 

I am creating working sketches to go along with the paintings for my wooden boat series.  I'm using pen and wash to create the sketches, along with notes and additional information about location and boats that will be included in a small book about the paintings.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Sketching is the exercise for artists.  It keeps eye/hand coordination sharp and drawing skills intact.  Like anything that you wish to become proficient at, it takes practice.  Daily practice. Its easy to say there is no time to sketch, but I disagree.  There is always time.  However we choose to use it becomes the issue.

I choose anytime, any place.  Here was my vantage point for the top sketch.  A trailer was left in the meadow and it made a comfy platform from which to sketch in the sun.

One of the portions of my current art grant project is the production of a book of sketches on the boats that I will be painting.  I don't think I would have ever ventured down such a path if my sketching and drawing skills weren't polished enough to consider it worthwhile.

Tomorrow I head to the Burin Peninsula in hunt for some traditional boats specific to that region.  Hopefully, I'll find a Grandy dory in its birthplace, Garnish.  Between sketches and photographs I hope to have some material for a couple of paintings.  There's a French influence on the Peninsula, which is made up of numerous small towns and is the gateway to the French islands of St. Pierre & Miquelon.

These sketches are in a Stilman & Birn Alpha Series 9" x 6" sketchbook, using pen & ink with watercolour wash.