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Progress report, Samuel Plimsoll, emigration and Plymouth Cattewater

This new marine painting along with it’s little sister have already absorbed over 100 hours art work.Cattewater_large_06.03.10_IMG_6986_d.jpg

I am not pleased about that!


The principal difficulties are lack of studio space and moonlight.

The latter is simply difficult.

I have always been in awe of the night sky and happily here in SW France the night skies are often stunning.

The small painting and the one recently sold via this blog of  Talthybius are intended as test pieces for the large version of  as yet unnamed but more or less about “Emigration, The Samuel Plimsoll at Plymouth Cattewater”.Cattewater_small_IMG_6953_d.jpg

The idea came from often seeing the Cattewater after an evening racing with the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club and some stunning moon rises more recently in SW France.

The idea to show the Samuel Plimsoll was part luck, part inspiration.

I could not have chosen a more appropriate ship.

Samuel Plimsoll, named by and after her very famous name sake, this splendid clipper, a product of the same yard that built the renowned Thermopylae, regularly carried emigrants out to Australia and returned with wool.

Samuel Plimsoll was also recognised as a “crack” ship making many very quick passages.

The Cattewater is a very historic stretch of water and has witnessed countless voyages commencing, hundreds of thousands of people departing, many never to return.


The frustration here is caused by a lack of studio space.

It is very difficult to work on a 48″ wide painting in a confined space.

It is a mostly issue of viewing distance while painting.

One can’t tell, only guess how the picture will look at 15 or 20′ if working in a 6′ space.

This in turn makes both composition and colouring more difficult.

On the plus side unlike many amateurs, I am aware of the problems and know the solutions.

Of course when ever the studio is empty I can make more rapid progress and this picture will be finished quite soon ~ Failure is not an option!

My host and friend Chris Boddington does his best to accommodate me but, it is his studio and he invited a third artist to join us, great fun but it has further reduced the space available for me to work in.

I am confident that given a larger studio, at least 4.5 x 4.5 m, I would be more productive, able to work faster, but where?