On the easel

elizabeth whelan work in progressI have always enjoyed life on the coast, kicking around in boat yards and spending time on the water in any number of sailing and motor vessels. The variety of boats one can see in any harbor is always interesting, and particularly as certain boat styles are quite regional.

Here's a work-in-progress that I am pursuing between commissions; a busy scene at the New Bedford docks in early summer.

I spend a good amount of time looking at the rigging! It matters to me that it all make sense. At the same time, it's not always necessary to put in every last detail -- the overall design of the scene remains most important, and as I get into the layers of paint, some of these details will elide as the painting takes shape.

My goal with this painting will be to feel the boats gently moving against their lines as the tide changes and passing boats send out a wake.

Studio accessories

Some of my favorite studio accessories:

  • Mahl stick to keep fingers out of wet paint
  • Long metal rulers
  • Rectangular palettes big and small
  • Table-top paper towel holder
  • Rags from old flannel shirts
  • String to tie canvas to easel (accidents happen!)
  • Coated wire and D-rings to hang painting
  • Easel that can move vertically and horizontally
  • Multi-purpose utility tool to open tubes
  • Putty scraper for clearing palette
  • Paint tube roller to squeeze out paint
  • White charcoal pencil for marking corrections
  • Audiobook or streaming music
  • Pot of strong coffee or tea
  • A cat sleeping in the sunbeam (I am sure a dog would work just as well!)