On Saturday afternoon, Bobbi Pratte's plein-air workshop students painted a marina at Solomons Island, MD. Water is hard to paint; boats are even harder to paint. Two of them combined make a fabulous, but challenging subject for a plein-air painter.
The reason why water is difficult to paint is that it's hard to tell what colors a body of water happens to be at a particular moment because it reflects sky and many other things all around. Added to that are the currents, breeze, and the ripples caused by boats going by, which keep shifting the shapes of reflections. Boats come in so many different shapes and sizes that drawing them in perspective is always a big headache. I tried them last year en plein air and was not happy with what I produced. So I challenged myself again this year.
As you can see from the photo above, I moved the boat on the right so that it would be within my picture to balance what's going on on the left side of the painting. You cannot see in the photo the colors inside the boat shed. There was a lot of reflected light bouncing into the wall, poles, and the boat. That's why we paint outside, to really see. It was chilly in the shade; the ducks in their mating season made quite a bit of noise; and sea gulls hovered in the air as the fishing boats returned. Whenever I look at the painting, I will always remember these things.