View Full Version : Small boy in boat on the Nile

02-05-2013, 06:09 AM
Hello again - think I've bitten off more than I can chew with this one. Found an old photo I took in 1993 on the Nile and thought I'd have a go at painting it. Painting people is not my strong suit so it could have been a lot better.

However, it is probably good to get out of my comfort zone and give it a go.......

It's 14x 11in on Bockingford paper

All crits and advice welcome.


Dana Design
02-05-2013, 09:42 AM
The one thing that disturbs is that the boy's knees look too large compared to his head and body. But I do like the reflections you've painted!

(The Nile is SO polluted that anyone putting a hand in is taking his life in his hand.)

02-05-2013, 10:17 AM
Your right Dana - his knees don't look right.

Attached is the reference photo (not quite sharp). The boy was actually quite a bit smaller than I painted him and crouched right down in the boat.



02-06-2013, 08:08 AM
Hi Mike! I agree about the knees but it is a fabulous painting! Your colours and reflection are wonderful! You should keep painting people, you are very talented! I love the serenity in this scene. Well captured! Cheers =)) Debs.

02-06-2013, 09:17 PM
Mike the water is really good, and I would not change anything.

Dana is correct, sadly, the Nile today is extremely polluted.
Your painting perhaps harks back to happier and cleaner times.
Rome ended the Pharaohs reign in 30BC, I wonder if it was a cleaner river back then?

02-06-2013, 09:31 PM
Hi Mike

The water is stunning. So 'painterly'!

I'd call it 'Teenager in boat on the Nile' - that was my first impression of him before taking in your title.


02-07-2013, 10:13 AM
Hi Debzy Andrew and Round. thanks for your encouraging comments. I rarely attempt to paint people (and usually as small scale as possible!) Yes, Round, I inadvertently turned a small boy into a teenager.....just shows how difficult it is to paint faces. Glad you liked the reflections-a "happy accident" I think because they don't often turn out so well.
The Nile is a fascinating river and I really got the feeling I was back 2000 years in time. The way of life for poor people on the river probably has not changed much since - but I think you are right, Andrew, the river was almost certainly cleaner in biblical times.


02-08-2013, 09:52 AM
Really like the figure.:thumbsup: The direct looking pose makes it very engaging. Arnie

02-10-2013, 01:57 AM
This is really coming along Mike! I love the match in the colour of the boat. Your proportions are a bit smaller but they work. The paler sky is lacking as are the leaf details but all in all I am enjoying your interpretation very much. Keep up the good work and remember....have fun!

02-10-2013, 04:51 AM
Thanks Yvie. Once I'd drawn the boat and outline of the boy, I pretty well discarded the photo because there was no way I could replicate it. Thought the background was a bit over-exposed so decided to do my own thing and darken it and make it up as I went along. The reflections were a case of taking a deep breath and going for it at speed!

It's interesting to see painting and photo alongside each other - thanks for that - hopefully I have captured the essence of the scene even if I've aged the boy at least 8 years!


Mike :D :wave:

02-11-2013, 05:05 PM
Thanks Arnie - of all the paintings I have attempted recently, this was the most daunting (I really didn't think it would "work") but , to my surprise, I find I like it more than any of the others. The one of the railway volunteers I had high hopes for but the result was very disappointing....so you never know, do you?


02-11-2013, 07:22 PM
Simple pleasures of boating and swimming, reminded me of a Henry Lawson poem from my school days.
Beneath the sheoaks in the bend
The waterhole was brimming -
Do you remember yet, old friend,
The times we "went in swimming"?