Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pewaukee Classic Boat Plein Air

Last weekend was the 7th annual Classic Boat and Car show in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Over 40 classic boats, lots of beautiful CrissCraft "woodies" were there. It rained early, but I didn't show up until 11am. I didn't enter the plein air event, though I should have, with only 14 artists and $1500 in prize money, even I had a chance at winning! Besides the boats, there wasn't much to choose from from a compositional standpoint. Pewaukee is a pretty small town. So I set up under the canopy of the train depot, which offered shade until mid-afternoon....thinking ahead cuz I've been in this spot before. 

Here is Step 1: Sketching
I liked the three boats with their colors; red, white and blue. They were tied up with matching color ropes so I thought I'd play into that theme. I had placed my new EZ L viewfinder over the area to help figure out what elements to put in.

Step 2: Blocking In- Start

Step 3: Blocking In- Complete

Step 4: Establishing Midtones and major shapes
The sun was on the move already. I'm about 1 hour into it at this point. A LOT of people were on the dock behind the first row of boats, but I decided earlier to just put in a few. My problem grew.

Step 5: Tightening Up

I should have been done by now. I'm 2 hours in and just all over the place. The foreground water is looking okay, but the reflective light on the boats and the water is giving me grief. Felt pretty good about the background lake and distant trees so I'm out of that area.

Step 6: Complete; Ol' Red White & Blue 12x16 Oil (Plein Air)
This is what I left with. The figures proved to be very difficult as they were always moving, like people usually do. I made a critical drawing error early on and though I thought about it, I moved on. The middle boat is out of scale and kinda threw everything off. When I got home I looked at my reference photo and sure enough was WAY OFF when it came to drawing. I didn't pay close enough attention to gridding the area to the canvas. I even had my new EZ L viewfinder and went through all the motions but still missed it in terms of placing the objects accurately on the canvas. The problem was the viewfinder is set up for 8.5 x 11 and I painted on 12x16. It's all in the proportions. Oh well. The crowd had grown to over a thousand people by the time I left. It turned out to be a gorgeous day...and I got to spend it painting. That's not too bad after all.