I’m presently working on a picture of a skiff. It’s actually a mountain lake landscape but the skiff is the centre of attention. The painting board is fairly large; as large as I can fit in my studio area. I have a small studio area. The interesting thing is the perspective is wrong. I think the board is large enough that it distorts my view when I am painting close to it and makes free sketching more difficult. The thwarts are not angled correctly and are not wide enough. Oar placement is done with Thole Pins and there is no Transom or Sculling notch.

The oars are connected to the Thole Pins with a cord (reasonable but I’ve never seen that before). In the photo the cord is ultra-visible because of light reflection. It took me a moment to puzzle out what it was. As a result I intend to simply leave them out of the painting. Anything that slows a viewer from recognising something in the image might reduce the realistic look of the painting. I think I’ve always done things like this but I didn’t think of it in such a geeky way. The oars are laying across the thwarts held there by the cords and some may wonder about the angle. But the final result should be a more realistic looking image. Another option is to make the cords highly detailed so that it is obvious what they are.

The painting isn’t really large enough to have gridded it off for sketching but it would have made it easier, quicker and more accurate in perspective. If I were doing a mural (heaven forbid, I might be tempted to buy a spray gun) gridding would have been a requirement but here a freehand sketch works. It might mean a few mistakes and overpaint but I have time. Deciding what to leave out and what to include is a major undertaking for me with any of my paintings. I try not to add anything because it takes time to make it look like it fits and there are more chances of a failure, but leaving stuff out is easy.

I definitely analyse my paintings differently than I used too. I think this has a lot to do with writing this blog. The analysis results in better paintings and I attribute that to writing about it. I did not intend or think of the blog as having this effect; I started it grudgingly but it has turned out to be useful and a lot of fun.