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Critiques for Boat Repairs

May 6, 2022
By Richard Robinson
Critiques for Boat Repairs logo

"Boat Repairs" 14 x 14" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson.

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Moss Landing, CA, USA


Paint this classic boat scene with broad gestural brushwork.

Sometimes you find a scene that only needs a frame on it, with, well, a liiittle tweaking. Such was this scene in Moss Landing, California. 

My motivation was to capture the character of the old boat, and so the painting needs little else to spell that out, which suggested to me the 'visual concept' of the small vibrantly coloured shape set in a large grey plane. View it from 20 feet away and that's what you see first.

The nice thing about painting time worn subjects like this is that if you're a loose painter like me it allows you plenty of freedom because the looser your brushwork is, the more character the boat assumes.


Student Critiques


Drydock by Michelle Therrien.

Good work, Michelle, and good on you for giving oils a go. So far so good. Good colour, decent drawing, great that you're playing with the palette knife too but not getting carried away with it as is so easy to do.

I'm not sure if it's just your photo or not but the darks under the hull have gone all the way to black and that's generally to be avoided in outdoor painting as it gives the impression of a hole rather than a shaded area.


Artist: Bronwyn Rennie

Hey Bronwyn, this is really cute! I guess it's the omission of the figure that lets the boat seem that it could be a really small tubby vessel. Nice. Your colours are greyer than in the demo. Was that an intentional choice? If not, it's something to be aware of. The red in the reflection is more vibrant than the boat, which is disconcerting. Great fluid brushwork.



Wow! Beautiful work, Elisa. Great handling of colour. Elegant brushwork. Crisply detailed. I only have three suggestions for you. You could send the background further away by adding more blue/grey into it all (atmospheric perspective), thereby letting the boat take more of the stardom. You could add a little blue grey (sky reflection) into the cast ground shadow on the right of the boat. (Adds a vibrating cool note against the warm red hull). You could add shade to the orange cable when it enters areas of shade. (picky!) Great job!


April workshop- Boat Repairs 10” x10” Acrylic on canvas by Karen Woodhouse

Nice vibrant painterly work Karen. Looks great! Cute addition of the dogs. Drawing's a bit wobbly - suggest you do some pencil sketches of objects from life and images trying for accuracy. That's all the mathematical side of painting but it's worth practicing unless you want all your work to have that charming naiveté.


Boat repair Oil on canvas 50cm x 50 cm

Artist: Anne-Dore Leisering

Nice one, Anne, pretty big size too, which is always harder. Good colour, decent drawing, just your brushwork needs work. Learning to say more with less isn't easy, just takes some time to focus on it. As an exercise I suggest for your next painting that you take a smaller canvas, 10x12", find a simple subject, big brushes, lots of paint and try to paint the whole thing in a small number of brushstrokes, say 100, and that's it, brushes down, painting done. Good luck!


Boat repairs, acrylic

Artist: Evelyn Tuhi-Herewini

Beautiful little painting, Evelyn. Strong colour, exciting fresh brushwork. Very cute having the boat smaller and alone in the middle like that. Check that a lot of the uprights throughout are leaning to the right. A mahl stick can help with that. And viewing the painting in a mirror can help you see it more clearly. Avoid lining seagulls up.


The OldTimer, 16 x 16, oils, by Marie-France L’Ecuyer, QC, Canada

Artist: Marie L'Ecuyer

Great painterly work, Marie. Greys to do with a little more colour. Drawing is strong. Perhaps a finer, longer brush for the boats cables and stairs? A mahl stick? Whatever you need to make a line elegantly without overpainting it. Practice loading the brush with the right amount and consistency of paint and make lines on your palette before you commit to the painting.




Boat Repairs

Paint this classic boat scene with broad gestural brushwork. Learn how to make a leading gestural foreground and how to paint with big masses and finish with calligraphic details. Follow me step by step or use the resource photos below to paint something more your own. Enjoy!


Learn About

  • Creating a leading foreground 
  • How to paint with big masses 
  • How to create large colour movements 
  • How to finish with calligraphic brushwork 
  • and LOTS more!

Get the video lesson here:

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