View Full Version : June 2013 Watercolor Challenge - Lobster Boats Ilfracombe

06-01-2013, 03:50 AM
Another total change of subject this month, a photo of two lobster boats in Ilfracombe harbour, North Devon take on a recent holiday.


There is a large version in the RIL here. (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=175780&size=big&cat=&ppuser=1046)

Here's my version, 1/8 sheet (11x7) done in class last week. I used some white gouache on the masts etc but next time I will use masking fluid with my ruling pen.


I plan to do a 1/4 sheet version.

Hope you enjoy the challenge :)


06-01-2013, 05:02 AM
What a fun challenge, Doug. Really like your version. Love your stone wall and the stylized background trees.

06-01-2013, 07:04 AM
pretty scene!! your achievement is very nice Doug!
You invite me for a ride at sea? but I think we'll have to wait for hours and hours is not it? thank you anyway!

leisure artist
06-01-2013, 07:21 AM
Ohh love this one Doug...was looking for a ref photo with boats a few days ago...will definitely try this one.:)

06-01-2013, 07:42 AM
wonderful and loose.. wow Doug this is great work

06-01-2013, 08:00 AM
That's lovely Doug. I particularly like your foreground.

06-01-2013, 08:14 AM
Spattered by covering the background and swinging the paintbrush.


06-01-2013, 08:44 AM
Beautiful work, Doug! You certainly handled all of the different angles, subjects, and textures very well. There's quite a bit going on in this photo!

06-01-2013, 09:35 AM
What a fun challenge, Doug. Really like your version. Love your stone wall and the stylized background trees.

You are right, Your watercolors are amazing. Love them all:clap:

06-01-2013, 09:41 AM
Well done Doug. I like the way you made the picture lighter compare to the original photo. :clap:

06-01-2013, 10:32 AM
It's a bit scary - sometimes I think, you can read my mind Doug :D

thanks for the reference, it's a great photo with one of my favourite subjects. I hope I can manage a see-able work from that ;)


06-01-2013, 11:56 AM
Nice job on your rendition, Doug...This is right up my alley! Almost everything I paint has boats in it (usually includes water, however...this is a scene that one would never see in Florida!) Looking forward to trying my hand at it...

06-01-2013, 05:31 PM
Hi, what a tough subject, was hoping for a simple landscape.

great work doug,

I have sketched out, its approx 9 x 12.

I really dont know where to start now - i have taken out some stuff to make it easier (artistic license im told).

gonna mask out the really white bits and then start getting some washes on and see what happens - but dont want to spoil my drawing.

cheers for looking

ps - does this go in studio or can it be posted in june challenge

06-01-2013, 05:34 PM
Yes, post your painting here. Nice sketch.

I started with background washes, a variegated wash on the stone walls then added stones with a small flat.

I will mask the whites too when i do it again.


06-01-2013, 05:49 PM
Cheers doug. What colour mixes did you use to do the walls.

06-01-2013, 05:50 PM
I used Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber wet in wet.


06-01-2013, 06:14 PM
Doug -thanks for the excellent subject for this month.:clap:
Here's my contribution....4 hrs total...sketched with pencil first
then I applied my washes & finished with my pen.:wave:
Royal & Langnickel essentials 108.1# watercolor paper 12" x 9", Pitt pens & Sukura Koi water colors

06-01-2013, 06:16 PM
Super job Larry, I love the crispness that pen adds to a painting.


06-01-2013, 06:19 PM
Doug - yes they do..... I would be lost without them....thanks again.

06-02-2013, 08:36 AM
I was very much out of my comfort zone with this. But it is all practice anyway so I had a go.


06-02-2013, 09:10 AM
A lovely loose version Irena, it's good to try something different form time to time.


06-02-2013, 09:33 AM
Wonderful work, Doug! We passed close to Devon when we visited there. It is a lovely ref photo!!

06-02-2013, 01:55 PM
Seems that every picture I've seen of English harbors lately, there's no water in them... you all must have a lot more tidal range than there is where I live! This photo fascinates me for that reason.

Now that I've come on here to be a smart aleck, guess I'll have to paint the challenge this month. Doug, Larry, and Irena, you've already set the bar pretty high! Fevrover, looking forward to seeing how yours ends up.

Mine will be small, I have some 8"x10" Twinrocker samples to try out :D

06-02-2013, 02:24 PM
I was out of the hotel at 7 am and caught the harbour at low tide. Yes that part of the Devon coast has the highest tidal range in the UK. I returned later when the tide was in but of course the boats had gone fishing.



06-02-2013, 03:18 PM
This is quite the challenge, Doug. I like your version, particularly the textures.

Super, Larry, you don't waste any time!

Lovely soft expression, Irena!

Excellent drawing, Ferover, but don't get too caught up in preserving the drawing, it can make you scared to touch it with paint......been there, done that! I try to just start working on the shapes one at a time and it doesn't feel so overwhelming.

06-02-2013, 07:17 PM
Doug -great colors & texture:thumbsup::wave:
Irena -nice loose style & soft colors:thumbsup: (certainly more than practice:) ):wave:
Fevrover -I agree with Lynn's advice....just wade right in & do it.:) :wave:

06-03-2013, 03:07 AM
:clap: What an interesting subject this month. I love your detailed paintings, Doug and Larry! And Irena, your loose interpretation is wonderful! I agree-the bar is really high already this month. I'm not sure if I'll have time to fit it in, but I'm going to try.

06-03-2013, 07:29 PM
Looks hard, but I'm willing to try...even though I am still working on April and May! I'll get there...one of these days. :)

06-04-2013, 09:40 PM
Wow: I really love Larry V's version! Nice work. Yorkies great photo of the "Ilfracombe harbour Shrimp Boats".
>>>For myself, I did a watercolor 9.5x13" or 24x33CM on Whatman 140#CP. This paper acted as if it had never heard of sizing. But it is what I had started with and so I pressed on regardless. You will note I extended the picture to the right because I wanted the boats to be 1/3rd up and 1/3rd in from the nearest edges... roughly the "sweet spot".
This is the first pass after I removed the liquid masque:
Then I worked it over and as a final step dragged a knife at places I wanted some white, (boat aerials).
Yeah, I know the orange boat is not drawn accurately. Having fun!

06-05-2013, 01:39 AM
Love your loose treatment Dave, I know you work fast from your Kansas plein air marathons.

Thanks for taking part.


06-05-2013, 02:29 AM
Wow, all 4 paintings are really good!

I've finished one but it's got a few problems, my orange boat looks as if it's slid down the cliff, and the clump of stuff near the wall doesn't even look like a clump of stuff :o I'm a bit out of my realm here. Any advice would be more than welcome!

Arches 300gms torchon, not sure about the size, it was a bit that was cut off...


06-05-2013, 02:39 AM
Well, you got all the essentials there Deborah. I see you used almost a monochrome palette, I used lots of earth colours.

The angle of the boat isn't unusual, they adopt all angles when they are stranded. the "stuff" is a clump of rocks covered in seaweed.


06-05-2013, 08:01 AM
Am I allowed a second try? :)


06-05-2013, 08:38 AM
Of course!


06-05-2013, 04:29 PM
:wave: From a landlocked US midwesterner regarding this month's challenge:
First impression: "Ohhh balloons on a boat it's party time, but where's the water?"
Second impression: This is an infernal game of "What The Bleep is That?"
Are those little triangles stairs? I think that's a seagull? What's that kite looking thing? Are those little round haystacks bundles of rope? What is going on with the brick to the right of the wood 2 x 4's (well I suppose those beams are much larger than 2 x4's as those tiny bumps are cars :eek:). That's one heck of a compost pile behind the boats - glad you mentioned they are seaweed covered rock.
Now onto drawing - Nancy

06-05-2013, 05:35 PM
LOL Nancy, yes, the triangles are steps down from the quayside, the "balloons" are floats which mark the lobster pots (the haystacks) when they are dropped onto the sea bed. The "kite" is a diamond shaped radar reflector that many boats carry. The timber baulks are much bigger than 2 x 4's more like 12x12:


Here's a close up of some lobster pots:



06-05-2013, 05:54 PM
Thanks Doug! The close ups are especially helpful! Those chains look huge, wrapped around what I thought was a garbage can in the original photo!
I also had no idea why the tops of the timbers looked so strange - goodness they have round metal caps on them!

06-05-2013, 10:20 PM
Dear All, I think I have finally mustered the courage to upload a picture of my attempt at the lobster boats of Ilfracombe. I used to go to Ilfracombe when I was a little girl many years ago and my main memory is walking on a path overlooking the sea. I now live in Arkansas, USA which is a little different from Devon!
I have been lurking around this site for quite a while now and love to see how others interpret a scene. So many of you are so talented! Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to upload my attempt which in my case is a challenge of it's own. Thanks Marianne
PS I am a beginner

06-05-2013, 11:20 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Jun-2013/1018552-Wetcanvas_upload_018.jpg Dear All, I am hoping that this is right. The picture is 9x7 and is on Arches 1140lbs with Daniel Snith paints Thanks Marianne

06-06-2013, 02:02 AM
Welcome to the forum Marianne, interesting memories for sure.

You did a fine job at that small size. I am going to paint a quarter sheet version too.

I look forward to seeing more of your work.


06-06-2013, 04:38 AM
Oh, what a nice variety of paintings. Thanks for the added references, Doug. Mine is still a WIP.

06-06-2013, 12:33 PM
Here is my attempt. 9x12 on 140# paper.

I cropped the image a bit before starting. I had a hard time getting the texture right on the walls. It's too smooth, just a hint of the rock wall.


Thanks for a great photo. It was a lot of fun to do.

C&C always welcome. I'm a beginner with a lot to learn.

06-06-2013, 01:05 PM
You did an excellent Job Ali, welcome to the forum.

I laid a varied wash on the walls and when dry I used a small flat brush to indicate a few blocks of stone.


06-06-2013, 01:34 PM
Dave-very nice style:thumbsup:
Deborah-looks good to me:thumbsup:
Marianne-nicely done:thumbsup:
Ali C-well done:thumbsup:

06-06-2013, 08:46 PM
Thank you very much for the encouraging words Doug and Larry. Loved your paintings I have learned a lot from looking at the way others paint on this site. I also enjoyed Dave's, Irena's, Ali's and Deborah's paintings. Marianne

06-07-2013, 11:22 AM
These are all looking great. I can't help wanting to put water in it, though. I hope to get around to it before the month is out.

Welcome, Marianne, and a great job from another Arkie.

06-07-2013, 11:27 AM
Just a heads up - I am away on holiday for a week starting tomorrow but don't stop posting your paintings. I hope to be ab;e to log on in the hotel in Jersey.


06-07-2013, 11:37 AM
All the post are great. Here's mine on strathmore 140.9x12.davinci paints. trying to be a little loose...James

06-07-2013, 11:43 AM
A good start James. Why not add a shadow side to the the sloping timbers and a shadow side to the front boat, it will make a big difference.


06-07-2013, 12:09 PM
oops . thanks Doug, forgot those shadows.....James.....can we post a second attempt?

06-07-2013, 12:13 PM
Yes of course James.


06-07-2013, 12:15 PM
Thanks Doug, have a good holiday.

06-07-2013, 04:35 PM
Working on my boats, I decided to try listening to music while painting. Normally I paint in silence. Two albums later I am sweating and some paint has hit the ceiling. I've spent more time twirling around the kitchen, living room and hallway, paintbrushes in hand than painting. Note to self: Latin dance music and Tom Jones are not painting music.

Have a great vacation Doug.

06-07-2013, 05:21 PM
Doug Thanks for hosting these challenges. It's interesting to see all the different interpretations and I learn a lot from everyone who posts. I like the fresh look of your painting and especially the expanded puddles in the foreground. Just right for the scene.
Irv--great details and I like the way the violets in your color scheme compliment the yellow greens and harmonize with the boats.
Irena- a nice loose rendition that gives me the feeling of a dreamy mist.
Dave- Like your style and the confident application of the paints
Deborah - When I stand back from the monitor a bit I really notice how well your values -- light and shadow -- stand out. FYI, I took advantage of being able to do a retake in last month's challenge and am looking forward to seeing your "take 2".
Marianne - Nice job. I love the wet rippled sand effect in the foreground.
Ali C - well done
James - A simple, loose rendition. Will stay tuned for your take 2.


06-07-2013, 09:23 PM
I really like the postings so far, cant wait to see more. I hope to get started on my own this weekend.


06-07-2013, 11:16 PM
After attempting to draw this freehand three times with various way-out-of-whack wonky results, I opted to grid the picture and draw it a little larger on graph paper. Whew--that mostly worked! 1/8 sheet Arches 140 lb. cold press; W&N, DaVinci. -- Lee


06-08-2013, 02:55 AM
Lee, you boats are really well done, I still have the back one a bit wonky on this second try.

31x41 cms, Arches 300gms torchon, sennelier tubes

I spent a bit more time than the 30 minutes I did on the first attempt. I tried getting the cool and warm shadow right, but I'm not sure if I managed it, and I spent way too much time on the trees and bushes as I've just read the lesson about creating foliage with splashing, and I was sooo tempted. I know it looks a bit weird, hubby says it looks like two different people painted it :eek:

Any thoughts and comments welcome!


06-08-2013, 06:09 AM
Great challenge, I'll soon to upload my drawing

06-08-2013, 06:10 AM
This is my first upload, C & C welcome, thank you


06-08-2013, 07:49 AM
James-good one
Lee-very nice
Deborah-good job
AbityA-well done

06-08-2013, 01:16 PM
Congratulations on your first upload AbityaD. A fine effort.


06-09-2013, 05:24 AM
Wow, some very nice watrercolor sketches... they are all great... always found watercolor very appealing.... I did mine on Strathmore 140lbs watercolor paper 6x9 with W&N paints... I think I need to push up some darker areas... There are somethings I like and somethings I dont like..... I forget to paint the top of the back boat, just saw that :evil: like my background trees and the front wall... probably should have paind more attention to the boats :D

Doug, thanks for the reference... I liked a couple of the other pictures you took as well... I had to chuckle at our midwesterner friend's first impressions... cant find the post again so dont recall the name, sorry....

I started out in pencil then used pen then painted......



06-09-2013, 08:42 AM
Very nicely painted Paul.

06-09-2013, 01:40 PM
I would say this was one of the most difficult paintings I've done. I'm not entirely pleased but decided to show it anyways.

12x16 cold-press

06-09-2013, 03:20 PM
Good work Paul, I loke line and wash.

Very colourful version Jan.


06-09-2013, 08:20 PM
:clap: :clap:

Doug here is my attempt , not at all happy with it but will let it stand . I had trouble with it all the way through for some reason . 8x10 w/n waercolour paints a little gouache and a little pencil work .

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:


06-10-2013, 02:23 AM
A sound painting Les, no problems I can see. :thumbsup:


06-10-2013, 10:04 AM
I've enjoyed paging through the thread to take a look at all the watercolors...great work everyone!

06-10-2013, 04:08 PM
Great painting Doug!
May I ask you what colors did you use for the stones on the walls and for the walls in general?

06-10-2013, 05:48 PM
This is fun, I have not painted boats before. I really like pjartwc's. There is so much going on though, I cropped it down to just the boats. Also, it is entirely painted in blue and orange except for a bit of magenta on the floats. Christine


06-11-2013, 02:39 AM
Good crop Christine, lovely painting.


06-11-2013, 01:20 PM
Hi everyone! Here's my first attempt.

I'm a beginner so I know mine doesn't even compare to your paintings.
I am personally not satisfied with the result but I think it's something that happens to beginners: your brush doesn't work as you want it to.

I used watercolors, indian ink pen (I don't know if it is really Indian Ink, I used a technical drawing 0.5 Koh-i-noor Fiber) and some white gouache there and there.

Crits welcome. And most, what can I do to make it better.

06-11-2013, 03:24 PM
Hi Josh, welcome to the challenge.

A good start, your drawing could be better, but that will improve with practice. I always say it is the shadows which make a painting, and the timbers along the quayside work well. You could add a few shadows on the rocks and mabe on the wall side of the front boat.


06-12-2013, 06:29 AM
Doug/ Irv thanks for the positive feed back....

Josh.... I am new at this art thing as well :D I can see progress in my work and that is pleasing.... when I first started doing this I had someone tell me I was wasting there time but as usual I didn't listen :D .... I have a long long way to go on this journey but I have the time and will continue to work on improving.... I read a little do a little, read a little do a little... I find something to focus on then chase after it.... In my view the most important areas to focus on early are Drawing, form, light, color and the medium you use... there are more elements but I find these to be at the top of my list for the moment...

One of the biggest drawing aides I found helpful was GIMP ( this is a free software tool that is similar to photo shop)... you can use this to evaluate your drawing to see where you are off.... It works like a light table and so by superimposing your sketch over your photo you can see what needs to get adjusted.... You want to use the GIMP as an aide not a crutch.... I rarely use it anymore other than when attempting a portrait drawing and then I try to use it to help with adjustments........ hopefully this is helpful...

I can see from your painting you have a pretty good eye for detail so practice and you will begin to see improvements.....

06-12-2013, 09:04 AM
Josh...good effort...Doug gives some good tips about shadows...he is very wise in that area...

I like that you did your own drawing...tracing is such a temptation and IMHO an unfortunate habit to get into...paintings that have been drawn freehand seem to have more personality & charm to me, even if there are imperfections...

06-13-2013, 10:04 AM
I might try this one Doug- as I posted on the value and contrast thread my attempt at boats- so my co incidence boats look good at the moment

06-13-2013, 06:17 PM
Here is my attempt- on langton rouch 140lb, using cotman student paints, and cotman brushes.
its about 12 x 9 inches

I stuggled with finding the light source on the ref photo. Sort of made some shadows up, but some are wrong hehehehe.

anyway again the point i have taken from this is dont give up, at first it looked rubbish then i added darks and texture and detail, then bam, starts to look like a painting.


06-13-2013, 07:02 PM
Where is the painting that I posted this morning, Was it that bad?

06-13-2013, 08:11 PM
My attempt at this months challenge 7.5 x 11 inches Arches 140lb CP

Thank you for hosting Yorky - appreciate your time and effort


06-14-2013, 02:30 AM
Keep 'em coming!

Nice work Rich, it was early morning and overcast but the light would be coming from the front right as the harbour faces north west.

A colourful version Tresgatos :thumbsup:


06-14-2013, 02:44 AM
Thanks yorks, so I have put the shadow on the beams on the wrong side, I could just add a darker woody colour to opposite side.


06-15-2013, 09:54 AM
My second shot...I found the cabins a little difficult the blue boat especially because the centre 3 windows protrude out a bit..James

06-15-2013, 10:20 AM
OK I will post it again. 9: x 12" Here it is


No I am not pleased with it.:(

06-15-2013, 11:17 AM
You are right James they do protrue but it's OK to use artistic licence. Lots better.

Hi Emmy, nice work, you made it a cosy harbour scene.


06-15-2013, 05:06 PM
Doug, I think the light is from the top left, see the barrel at top left. James

06-15-2013, 06:13 PM
You are absolutely right James :o, look at the shadow of the Quay and the sunlight on the sand. I was thinking back to a photograph I took early in the morning.


06-15-2013, 08:53 PM
webLes -well done
Christine-good job
Tresgatos-good one
James-looking good
Emmy-very colorful

06-16-2013, 06:24 AM
I took this opportunity to practice using the subject of challenge. Here is my monochrome version in 1/8 sheet of Fabriano Artistico 640 gsm HP. I am thinking of adding more colours later.


06-16-2013, 06:34 AM
Nice work Deepak, and effective monochrome.


06-16-2013, 08:08 AM
Thanks Doug.

06-17-2013, 01:43 AM
Lee - great painting. I like the way you did the texture on the walls and how you accented the bright light in the background.

06-17-2013, 07:49 AM
Added a bit of colour to the monochrome version.


06-17-2013, 07:59 AM
A wonderful coloured version Deepak, you really caught the atmosphere.


06-17-2013, 11:11 AM
Thanks Doug.

06-20-2013, 04:26 AM
Incidentally here's a great picture of a lobster boat in Gorey Harbour, Jersey with floats, lobster pots etc and a prop to support the boat when the tide goes out.


There's a large version in the RIL. (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=176106&size=big&cat=&ppuser=1046)


06-20-2013, 09:25 AM
With the deck so jammed up with gear its a wonder the crew can get around.....James

leisure artist
06-21-2013, 12:59 PM
Really struggled with this challenge...this is my 4th attempt...bockingford 140 not 1/4 sheet with artist quality watercolour...thanks doug for the challenge.As usual some really lovely renditions.Allcandc welcome...Christine:)


06-21-2013, 01:04 PM
Bravo Christine, I hope you find next month's challenge easier.


06-23-2013, 02:03 PM
Arches 300 lb cold press.

This months image was a challenge for me, but I did enjoy painting it a great deal.

C&C welcome.


06-23-2013, 02:09 PM
Glad you made it Brad. A few shadows would be an improvement.


06-23-2013, 03:17 PM
1/4 sheet Saunders Waterford Rough


06-23-2013, 03:23 PM
Beautifully done Nancy, excellent shape on your boats. Love that background too.


06-23-2013, 03:47 PM
Still a bit of June left, so here is my version

300gsm fine NOT paper, windsor/newton colours

This was my first use of resist (all the white parts of the boats) and I found the colour range a challenge with only 4 colours.

I found I was not brave enough to darken the deep tones and found the large stone walls interesting but not easy to represent.

Comments welcome


06-23-2013, 03:53 PM
Hi Andrew, welcome to the forum.

There's no real time limit on the monthly challenges.

I think you could add shadows to the side of the timbers on the quayside and strengthen the shadow of the boat on the wall.

It helps if you upload rather than attach your picture by the way, the when we reply we can scroll down and see the picture.


06-25-2013, 09:49 PM

Thank you again for hosting these challenges! In watercolor I do not have a comfort zone, but if I did I am sure lobster boats would not be in it! Live and learn.

Nice work all around! Thanks to Dave for posting the WIP, it gave me a clue to the process.

Here is my effort: (sideways, sorry, can't figure out how to flip it)


06-26-2013, 02:06 AM
You did well Cleo, nice strong colours and good shape on your boats. Your scene is flooded with sunshine :thumbsup:


06-27-2013, 03:00 PM

This was truly a challenge as I always avoid any structures like boats, buildings in watercolors...but this one just had to be painted!! It puled me out of my comfort zone..Firstly, i sketched it over and over again..even did a study on the parts of the boat!

Then sketched it on the larger watercolor sheet(all without grids etc) and then painted it!:cat: Am not extremely happy with it, but am proud that I tried this..and I enjoyed it too!:clap:

Strathmore Windpower paper
used Gouache for the white
c&C Please!


Thank you!:wave:


06-27-2013, 03:04 PM
I think you did really well Kish. If anything the shadow on the quay side of the boat looks a bit dark but that could be the photo. Otherwise I would say you have cured your fear of structures.

Next month's should be easier.


06-27-2013, 10:27 PM
Thanks Doug! Couldn't wait to read what you had to say! This is the kind of painting that you want to attempt again to get that perfection:-)its like I know I can do better the next time!! I will use masking fluid and also sharpen the lines with a pen maybe.. Yes, you are right, I did get carried away by the dark shadows:-))

Thanks and see you soon'


06-28-2013, 01:50 PM
I think the dark shadows added interest to the painting , it makes the centre of interest stand out . You did well on that--- cudos to you--

06-30-2013, 10:20 AM
OK I finished the quarter sheet version.


Somehow the quick version was more fun.


06-30-2013, 03:17 PM
Well this one shows that all that work pays off! The forest and the boats are both spectacular. A very nice finished product!,


06-30-2013, 03:19 PM
Thanks Cleo.

Stand by for a much simpler challenge tomorrow.


06-30-2013, 03:56 PM
Great second version Doug, I really like the reflection in the puddle.


07-01-2013, 02:55 AM
Congratulations to all who attempted the Lobster Boats, next month's challenge should be easier.

I have posted the July Challenge HERE. (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=19685336#post19685336)