Sunday, 24 July 2011

Ned Hanlan II

Ned Hanlan II
Watercolour on Paper
34cm x 24cm (13.5" x 9.5")

During our holiday in Canada, Elaine and I spent a sunny afternoon cycling on the Toronto Islands with Lori and Peter. The Ned Hanlan II was moored in front of the bike hire shop.  It is a Toronto Works Department tug and is named after a famous 19th century Toronto resident and world champion rower (thank you Wikipedia).

I set out to paint a stormy scene instead of the wonderfully sunny reality because I wanted to simplify the background and experiment with an inclement sky for some paintings I have planned for the winter.

Last week, I posted a work in progress (see Works In Progress). At the time, I thought it was going to be reasonably easy to finish, but it took more effort than I anticipated.

I wanted to darken the sky around the boats, but leave the top of the painting light and cloud like. Unfortunately, I ended up with an ugly dark halo around the boats (I’ve had this problem before - see Short Tempered Swan). I kept adding more and more indigo and eventually, I managed to get rid of the halo, but I had lost all the light from the top of the painting. Fortunately, I was able to restore this by adding washes of gouache and feathering them out with a hake brush – a technique I learnt from the books and DVDs of John Lovett (see

It has ended up more of a nighttime picture than a stormy picture, but it is not too far away from what I intended.

One of the most important skills I am learning is not to give up on a painting - there is usually something you can do to salvage them. The discipline of blogging every Sunday is a major incentive to stick with a painting because I always need something to post.


  1. It is fun to go back to original paintings that failed in some way as a marker to the next stage...also with watercolors that fail...once you have a few..try cutting them up, sticking them onto a another sheet of paper, collaging the shapes, not concerned to make realistic but more of a play in tones, shapes, color contrast and then take your lithographs crayon and practice more mark making...add more dripping water colors...this is to more about abstract...nice break from reality!

  2. Hi Minaz,

    Thank you for the suggestion. I will give it try.

    I have plenty of candidate paintings for turning into collages.

    All the best,