Simon Bland

A Blog About Oil Painting

Plein Air Painting of a Ship

by Simon Bland / Jun 2, 2017 / Plein air Seascape Boat

Abstract impressionistic painting of a ship with strong light/dark contrasts.

A Bridge Too Far (plein air). 9x12, oil on linen panel. 2017

I've done paintings of boats and ships a few times, albeit with varying rates of success, but I felt the need to do something different today.

To start, I did a loose outline drawing in charcoal (actually charcoal powder mixed with cold wax). No block-in. Then I went to work with gobs of thick paint and a painting knife.

The ship was at anchor off in the distance, at least half a mile away. That made it hard to see any detail: all I could make out were the big shapes.

And that's what stopped the painting from turning into a mess. I can get pulled into these kinds of things and end up trying to do too much detail. There was no chance I could do that when the ship was so far away.