HMS Racehorse Further reading

One of The Nelson and Trafalgar Collection

Racehorse progress 06.10.17

Racehorse progress 06.10.17

Painting By Gordon Frickers, a marine art,  75 x 100 cms (29.5″ x 39″), Oils, available.

This page is at present a collection of half edited notes, I hope you can enjoy it enjoy for what it is and see the potential here.

This painting is conceived as closely as possible, from the ship’s log book, mid to late afternoon, 17 th September 1777.

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With author Peter Goodwin

With author Peter Goodwin

HMS Racehorse, this ship was sometimes documented as ‘Race Horse‘.

Originally built at Nantes as a French privateer (Lettre de Marque), she was known to James Cook (present at the siege and taking of Quebec) and to ‘a young gentleman’ who ‘blagged’ his way onto the two ships that made up the Royal Navy’s carefully prepared first expedition into the Arctic, the young man in question was Horatio Nelson.

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Report for the day 27.09.2017:
How Racehorse was painted
You can follow the development here of in easy stages of quite noticeable changes to the new ‘HMS Racehorse‘ painting.
My aim is to encourage viewers to use their imagination, to feel and sense the scene rather than have every dot on place, every ‘t’ neatly crossed.
The trick is to blend that with technical and historical accuracy without paying out to little or to much cable.
Can I achieve that?
I try.
Racehorse sketches 31.03.17

Racehorse sketches 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 1 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 1 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 2 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 2 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 3 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 3 31.03.17 ~ this sketch has been sold.

While some of my paintings have been valued at £45,000., I am quite happy to release sketches like this one for as little as £100. if I’m assure they will go to a good home.

Racehorse, a new painting being developed in conjunction with Peter Goodwin who previously in his distinguished career, was “Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory for 14 years, was a technical adviser for the film “Master & Commander”, is author of some 17 ‘naval books’, a most excellent thorough researcher and all round good win value.

To acquire or commission a similar painting

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T: + 44 (0)1865 52 2435  Mobile 00 33 (0) 6 10 66 19 26

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Racehorse sketches (2) 31.03.2017

Racehorse sketches (2) 31.03.2017

Exploring Racehorse sketches 31.03.2017

Exploring Racehorse sketches 31.03.2017

Exploring Racehorse sketches (2) 31.03.2017

Exploring Racehorse sketches (2) 31.03.2017

Here, Peter is pushing me hard, no bad thing, we had another hour plus conversation yesterday by phone , mostly about the steering and anchoring equipment used by Racehorse.

HMS Racehorse, preparatory sketch

HMS Racehorse, preparatory sketch

In both instances I was surprised and duly educated.

In the process not really relevant but fun and one never knows where it will lead, Peter described how he fired cannons and from aloft and a musket (he owns one). Peter is fun and immensely knowledgeable, I feel privileged to work with a great authority, Peter.

Racehorse sketch 09.05.17

Racehorse sketch 09.05.17

In turn Peter has said he is very pleased with the way our experiences overlap, generating a rather special painting.

Racehorse Sketch 11.06.17 IMG_0331

Racehorse Sketch 11.06.17 IMG_0331

Racehorse Sketch 11.06.17 IMG_0360

Racehorse Sketch 11.06.17 IMG_0360

Following his invitation to visit and stay at his home in Portsmouth, author Peter Goodwin and I worked together to develop his ideas for the new painting.

I’d prepared some concept sketches, possibilities explore, from which we developed a drawing which would form the basis of the new painting.

Peter Goodwin, Captain Jack Sparrow and Gordon Frickers...

Peter Goodwin, Captain Jack Sparrow and Gordon Frickers…

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Racehorse 01.08.17

Racehorse 01.08.17

Dated 10.09.2017, this follows a lengthy discussion with author and historic ships authority Peter Goodwin and a good few hours solid effort on my part.

I’m spelling as  ‘Racehorse‘ because that is the spelling used on the official drafts and recommend by historian Peter Goodwin who is currently writing a book about the Royal Navy’s first North polar expedition, voyage of Racehorse and Carcass to the Arctic circle.

Peter has decided it’s fun working on the painting with me and has suggested a booklet on the story of the Racehorse painting.
The ship’s hull is much changed, the basic shape is near correct, many other changes.

 08.08.2017 ~ Big change to the composition:
The major change to composition was decided for several reasons.
To show her starboard side meant the sail would mask most of her decks thus hiding what would be interesting accurate details and by showing her port side we are looking from the East by North East to the South West so the lighting and colours offer me more possibilities.

Today I’ll refine ‘Racehorse‘ and begin to sort out her masts, spars and sails, all info from the log book and the combined sea & ship building experience of Peter Goodwin and I.

Racehorse 09.08.17

Racehorse 09.08.17

Racehorse progress 27.09.17

Racehorse progress 27.09.17

Today, 08.08.2017,  I’ll refine ‘Racehorse‘ and begin to sort out her masts, spars and sails, all info from the log book and the combined sea & ship building experience of Peter Goodwin and I.

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

The Swedish brig on the horizon, we know Racehorse spoke with a Swedish brig earlier that day, we even know where she was bound and her course steered.

Here she looks unrecognisable when close up.

Yet mysteriously, when seen from normal viewing distance looks very much like a distant brig in turbulent weather.

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

At this stage I am now fairly happy with the basic dimensions of the hull, spars and sails.
I’ve had to alter the mast rakes, they were raked to far aft.
In turn that meant altering all the yards and sails except the stays’l.
The mast and spar dimensions Peter Goodwin sent were very helpful for improving the scale and perspective.

Her sails included a main trysail, standing jib, middle jib.

She set a bowsprit, job boom and outer jib boom, the latter was routinely derigged for heavy weather.

Source, ship’s log, 25 October 1777

Possibly the most obvious change is the jib boom (37 ‘) now notably shorter in the painting; easy to lengthen if we think longer looks better.

With Peter Goodwin and Captain Jack Sparrow

With Peter Goodwin and Captain Jack Sparrow

I noticed shorter was appropriate when checking the spar dimensions ~ and it does fit in well with Peter Goodwin mentioning to me the record shows she has a flying jib boom to further extend the rig in lighter airs;  which would have been struck inboard before a storm.
I wonder where it was stowed and if it survived the deluge that smashed most of the boats…
I expect to make further refinement.
Usually as I begin to add more detail I work out from the centre.
That way errors reveal themselves naturally and are easy to correct.
I have made a number of changes to the sky but left is basically as was.
It had been my intention to work over the entire sky however, visitors during August were so enthusiastic about the sky I’ve left it as is for now.
My intention is to suggest the main light source is on our left, much modified by the storm.
As Peter Goodwin agreed, to avoid making the scene to scary for landlubbers, I’m aiming to show the weather clearing.
As mentioned, I had in mind a sky similar to “I Have Urgent Dispatches” however given the different location, month and sea state, our sky has taken on a very different appearance to “I Have Urgent Dispatches”, very much its own creature.
I suppose, being a submariner Peter Goodwin didn’t see much of the sea and sky… trust me, I have.
The Swedish brig looks unrecognisable when close up and yet mysteriously, when seen from normal viewing distance looks very much like a distant brig in turbulent weather.
I hope you like that?
I do.
One of the things I try to achieve is a strong sense of emotion,  and as we know, in reality there is a difference between what we see, what we feel and what we know is there.
I see that as a trap and an opportunity.
What I do not want to do is so over detail my paintings that they become the sort of picture that used to be so fashionable on chocolate boxes.
An illusion of detail, yes, always a puzzle too, mysteries that you are invited to ponder, which like good poetry, mean different things to each individual.
My aim is to encourage viewers to use their imagination, to feel and sense the scene rather than have every dot on place, every ‘t’ neatly crossed.
The trick is to blend that with technical and historical accuracy without paying out to little or to much cable.
Can I achieve that?
I try.
There is still a lot I wish to do to the sea besides the obvious colouring and texture.

I’ve been using a knife for the sea in the foreground and plan to phase the paint textures towards the horizon so that should make a pleasing contrast with the sky.

At this point I made what felt like a hard decision, for several reasons, to reverse the composition, undoing and covering much of the previous work.

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Good news includes the first indications of the cross sea are appearing, the main swell being from the West, with a confused NW topping, and Racehorse is beginning to look as if she is afloat in her element.
There is rather a lot of wet paint so over the next few days I’ll only work on parts easily accessible, the bow area for one.
I’ll check up on the crew, make sure they are where we want them and doing the tasks we have allotted them.
We will also have to make a decision re the surviving boats, where were they most likely lashed in the waist.
I guess those that survived were the least exposed when the seas climbed on board?
Racehorse 10.08.17

Racehorse 10.08.17

 

Racehorse 09.08.17

Racehorse 09.08.17

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Racehorse 07.08.17

Racehorse 07.08.17

Contact Us

T: + 44 (0)1865 52 2435  Mobile 00 33 (0) 6 10 66 19 26

or Skype ‘gordonfrickers’

Email: artistfrickers at gmail.com

 Simply, securely;  to place a deposit or payment on our Payment page  to make this or a similar painting, your Gordon Frickers original painting (or acquire subject to availability, a beautiful Heritage quality print)?

Copyright 2017:

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Gordon Frickers 08,08,2017 © updated 11.10.2017

Gordon Frickers, the only artist member of British Marine

Gordon Frickers, the only artist member of British Marine

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