Friday, March 18, 2016

My First Sailboat Plein Air - Lighthouse ArtCenter Plein Air Festival

"One of a Kind" (oil on panel, 14"x18"). Photo by Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts.
Continuing the theme of firsts, here is my first ever painting of a sailboat. One of the locations for the Lighthouse ArtCenter Plein Air Festival was Port Salerno, Florida. It's an awesome fishing village founded in the 1920s filled with interesting boats both in and out of the water.

Believe it or not, I had never painted a boat en plein air before, and this particular scene called to me. I set up, once again in a shady spot on the shore and dove right in. There's quite a bit to consider when painting a scene like this - the strong shape of the hull, the reflections on the water, and the many shapes in the background created by other vessels. I approached it as I always do, forgetting about what I was painting, and just reacting to values, shapes, and colors.

As I painted, a number of salty characters came up to tell me the same thing - this sailboat is a "one of a kind." Someone had added a rear cabin after it was built, and this raised the bow much higher in the water. I was also repeatedly informed that this particular boat is for sale. Looking around, I noticed that almost every boat is for sale. Is that a thing?

Needless to say, I enjoyed the experience, and Kimberly and I returned to the port a number of times for more paintings which I'll share in upcoming posts. - Patrick

In progress shot by Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts.

© Patrick & Kimberly Saunders, Plein Air Streaming, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Thought it was going to be a bad pun, all these boats are for sail. Nice painting, really feels sunny.

    1. It would have been hilarious if it was a pun!

  2. Great pun Jessica! And Patrick: your painting is exquisite - the highlights are so well placed and I especially love the way you added those gentle white calligraphic swirls. This really captures reflected sunlight both on the both and the water. I'd say your have a real feel for boats!