View Full Version : Dragging the boat in . . . WIP

09-28-2013, 06:23 PM
I would love your thoughts on this pastel painting! It's 18" by 24" on Colorfix; ludwigs and rembrandts. Do you get a sense of distance? Perspective? The distinction between foreground and background?

I'm new to seascapes and landscapes; mainly do portraiture. I'd very much appreciate your honest advice.


09-29-2013, 10:23 AM
I like your style.


09-29-2013, 12:15 PM
Interesting subject and a bit of a departure for you Bongo!
Yes, the boat and the wooden structure do stand out from the background. However, to me the background land looks a little too dark in value to read as being as far away as it should be, if you see what I mean.
I know the front area isn't finished but do try to resist doing too much more to it. The shallow water , the shadows and the foam already look very good to me!

09-29-2013, 05:02 PM
Very nicely done! Yes, the background could be a touch lighter in value, but I think the fact that you have softened all of those edges and put the background out of focus more than makes up for it. Very well done all around!


09-29-2013, 11:54 PM

Thanks for your great comments. I made adjustments throughout the painting. What do you think?


09-30-2013, 03:33 AM
Nice subject, I can understand why you decided to tackle it.

A few things bother me. I know the treatment is fairly loose...but even within looseness, it needs some underlying accuracy.

The two figures which are the closest to us....I find the red head on one rather distracting, it is like that person is wearing a baseball helmet. I would make the head dark, in your shoes, and perhaps slightly smaller too.

I am a bit concerned about the size too.that person is considerably bigger than the person in purple who is only a couple of feet in front of him/her.

Then, do look a bit more critically at the reflections in the water. They are nice vertical smudges...but I think you could do rather better with them, with a tiny touch more positive detail. A hint of the water surface over the reflection might help.

finally.....the shadows of the people go in a different direction to the boat engine shadow....I think perhaps you can get away with it, visually, but I just had to mention it.

10-02-2013, 10:56 PM
Jackie --

Thanks for your comments. I made a number of changes to address them. I struggled with altering the head of the man in red; he remains a bit too large. Please let me know your further thoughts.

As an aside, the reference is from a beach between Galle and Hikkaduwa in Sri Lanka. It seems like you painted there recently.



10-03-2013, 03:44 AM
I love this, beautifully handled ,rich and evocative. The sea is excellent

10-03-2013, 11:26 AM
Hi there my friend, wow - a dramatic event happening here. Since you asked for C&C, I'll offer you some if it were mine.

If my eye goes to the sharpest edges, greatest light/dark contrast typically... then I'm finding this painting to be about the sticks... not the boat, not the people. My eye goes to the super-structure.

How to change this? Well first you need to really decide what the painting is about. Title it if necessary and then decide to pull out things that take away from the "subject" you are trying to convey.

Dull out the background (as you initially asked about) so that it's not about the land in the distance. Neutralize it and lighten it to give it distance and less importance. Also watch that the bow of the boat doesn't intersect with the horizon line... not sure but you may have to be a magician on that portion and "make it yourself".

The other thing my eye goes to is the engine... even spaced shapes and high contrast.

There is so much RIGHT about this and so much I want to know more about this activity. your beach foreground is stunning - I mean FABULOUS. You are gifted and you know it!!!

Felix if the figures were a bit more spaced? or does the land in the background have to be there at all? may it would give your more canvas space to individually lighten around the figures?


do you know Ilya Repin's piece - it's the men dragging the boat across the beach. very dramatic. Look at this if you can and see what you may gather from it.

Felix, your work is always so interesting and thoughtful... your portraits especially. I could enjoy just the water reflections in the sand ... simplify...


10-05-2013, 03:28 AM
Aha, so it is near to Galle! I thought it looked somewhat familiar.

Barb has given you some interesting suggestions although I do think that from this angle, you have to have the background land or it will look odd, I know those beaches. I am not sure why you should have struggled altering a head....you simply brush off, and repaint in another colour, making it smaller! Brushing off is the key.

You are right, I did paint there. Perhaps this picture might give you some further thoughts etc:


and here is a sketch done on the spot, with the landscape in the background


and here is a nice photo for you:


10-06-2013, 02:01 PM
Felix, I like your painting. It has an old master style to it. I think it needs your background to give the painting depth

10-06-2013, 10:55 PM
I love it too. I see the "old masters" look in it as well!

The only distraction for me at this point is the up-strokes where the sky and trees meet between the domed building and the boat -- easy enough to just knock sideways to stop that unexplained upward movement. Very minor.

10-10-2013, 12:45 PM
Thanks for the great comments!

Barb -- good to hear from you again! Thanks for the great comments and the compliments on the water. I should have thought through the focal point more clearly from the beginning -- thinking of a title is a great trick. I will work on the engine. At this point, I feel too risk averse to change the horizon. But I will do some digital revisions and post those just to see what people think.

Jackie -- Thanks again. That first drawing of yours is fantastic. It just shows that you don't need details on the figures to have a good painting. It looks like you were inspired by the same subject matter that led me to do my painting. I did brush off the head and redraw. But then the figure looked too big in relation to the body. I guess what I meant was that redrawing the body would be too challenging at this point.

Marina -- nothing of mine has ever shared the same paragraph with "old masters." ThAt's a very strong compliment, though undeserved.

Art Lover -- only once before have I shared the same paragraph with "old masters." I will work on the strokes of the sky soon and post a new version.

10-10-2013, 01:13 PM
Happy painting Felix!

10-10-2013, 05:16 PM
Felix, i had a look at your painting again and it certainly is not undeserved. The colours you used are certainly old master style, at least on my Ipad. I just love them. Don't be too critical on yourself.

10-10-2013, 06:58 PM
Marina and Barb - thanks!!!

And Mang, sorry I omitted you in the earlier post; thanks!

10-12-2013, 02:59 PM
All --

The version at the bottom is the pastel painting as it currently stands; I provide it only for comparison. The version above reflects some digital changes I made, using a Wacom Tablet, to address Barb's and others' comments. I'd love your thoughts on which version you prefer and why. I may yet go back into the pastel piece and make more changes.




10-12-2013, 03:18 PM
I prefer the bottom one, I like having the background. It seems to complete the story, having a village of sorts to support the boat. I like the boat on the bottom also, having the front come up so high isn't necessary and I find it distracting. Yup, the one at the bottom, don't touch it!

10-12-2013, 04:41 PM
I like the bottom one better too. As you know I love the colors you used. I think it is better with the village as a background than just the sea. It puts the boat in perspective. Don't doubt your instincts. You clearly liked it with the village in the background. That is why you painted ot that way. So why change it?

10-12-2013, 07:01 PM
Love the atmosphere.

10-12-2013, 09:28 PM
Felix, I'm so glad you did it digitally. I have to agree with the others... The village in the background is part of the story.

It's interesting that it just changed the entire story without those buildings.

I bow to your talents.... Barb

10-14-2013, 12:34 PM

The painting is lovely as is! It is very successful in my opinion! The background is needed for the composition. One thing that you have handled VERY successfully is achieving depth and balance. The buildings in the background (to the left of center) balance the figures and boat (which are to the right of center). The depth is well done and creates a movement that takes you from the center of interest and swings down the beach to the village. Thus we are taken into the picture on two levels - into the center of interest and then beyond to the village.


10-14-2013, 09:53 PM
Thanks very much for the replies and compliments! I wanted to see how the composition changed with the background removed for a variety of reasons. Not only did Barb suggest that I consider the adjustment; Jackie's drawing of a very similar scene had the empty horizon just above eye level and it worked very well. Also, I do not have much experience with landscapes and seascapes where composition seems more important and complicated than with portraits. So, it was a harmless experiment. I must admit that I too prefer the version with the background.

Allydoodle -- thanks! The one problem with keeping the front of the boat as low as it currently is: it rises right into the buddhist temple in the distance, which then looks like a balloon or something. But it's too late to figure out a solution to that problem.

Marina -- Thanks!

Barb -- Thanks very much. I'm glad you recommended considering the alternative. It was a good experiment.

Don -- Thanks! I appreciate the detailed analysis of composition and balance; it's important to think of those considerations.