DRY DOCK – EARLY WORK NO 5

This delightful painting is one of the artist’s earliest. He was a student of watercolour artist, David Fowler (1924 – 1971), and he learned the importance of smooth paint blending, and the effective use of light and colour.

This is a very neat painting. The brush work is impeccable. The brushstrokes used to portray water are very similar to those used by Tom Tomson (1877 – 1917), the Canadian landscape painter that this artist so admired.

The sunlight on the hardened clay, and the shadow cast by the large boat, suggest it is early morning or late afternoon. Even the rocks cast shadows. 

The painting has been carefully planned. The large boat is placed in the central section of the canvas and attracts the viewer’s eye. The two buildings in the background and the large boat in the foreground form an imaginary triangle, and the three mounds at the inlets in the foreground and the row of mangroves, hold the painting together. 

The circular rocks add interest, and the mixture of curved and straight lines throughout the painting, keep it interestingly varied.

The jetty has rugged posts and they are textured. This texture is in direct contrast to the smooth, flat surface of the roof of the building on the left.

An effect of aerial perspective (visual depth) has been achieved, as mid tones for trees and grass that divide the softer coloured sky and the bright earth in the foreground were used.

Attention has been paid to detail. The treed section of the painting shows fine trunks of dead trees and scrub. The mangroves appears to have ‘pods’ attached.

Rustic colours on the sheds add richness. The violet shades used on the boats are also very rich, and the orange colour of the shoreline complements the cool, blue colour on the large boat. The tints used for the grass in front of the shed are soft, and help give a peaceful feel to the painting.

The artist has captured the ‘way it was’ very well. He had a strong sense of the subject.

Acrylic on Masonite, early 1970s. (Cleaned and framed. Slight restoration.)

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