Simon Bland

A Blog About Oil Painting

Plein Air Washington at the Center for Wooden Boats

by Simon Bland / Sep 10, 2016 / Landscape Plein air Seascape Sketch

Wooden Boats (plein air). 9x12, oil on linen panel. 2016.

Wooden Boats (plein air). 9x12, oil on linen panel. 2016.

Saturday was my first chance to get out and paint with Plein Air Washington. We painted at the Center for Wooden Boats which is right on the south shore of Lake Union in Seattle.

This painting is an example of why I usually try to avoid man-made objects (like boats) in my paintings - they tend to draw me in too much. The forms and hard edges make it difficult to paint with any kind of looseness. To be honest, this kind of painting isn't at all what I would paint in the studio!

I worked the values from the bottom up - starting with the darks in the reflection of the building and working up from there. By the time I got to the boats I had run out of values. What happened then (and I think it was partly related to the value squeeze) was that I got stuck on painting the very top left of the picture and I couldn't find a good solution for it on site. I worked on this for an hour back in the studio to bring it completion.

After leaving the painting to sit in the studio for a few months, I glazed over the cloud reflections in the water to make them stand out a little more.