Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Allegro

One of my paintings just returned from a show in Coos Bay Oregon at the Coos Art Museum. The Marine Art show up there is a beautiful show sponsored by the American Society of Marine Artists. I've been fortunate enough to be juried into 3 of their shows. My painting, "The Demise of the Allegro", is one that I painted after a huge storm in January 2010 washed 12 boats ashore on East Beach in Santa Barbara. The owners of these boats have a set time to remove the boats or the city will bring in heavy equipment to shred the boats into bite sized chunks and off to the dump they go.
Some of the boats are live-boards, some weekend boats and some are just waiting for an opening for the limited marina slips in the protected harbor. The boats can anchor offshore off East Beach but they are open to the ocean storms that roll in from the Pacific. Once a boat breaks it's mooring line or drags a flimsy anchor they will wash ashore and be pummeled by the heavy surf. Fiberglass hulls will crack, keels crack or the deck cap can separate basically sheering off the deck from the hull. All of this results in costly repairs to owners so sometimes it's easier to scrap the boat. In all cases it is sad to see a boat come to it's end.

I've decided to post some of the stages it took to create this painting and some of my reference photos taken that day.
In the background you can see two more boats washed up on the rocks. Directly behind me were 2 sailboats and a Uniflite cabin cruiser...farther down were 4 or 5 more boats. You can see how the hull has been scraped against the rough sand and rocks.
  Another pic of the Allegro as the storm winds down.
I did a simple sketch of the boat and then painted in my background. I tried to keep that heavy mist that was in the air that morning.
 The seawall and boat painted in. I was told by another person there that the seawall had been under the sand before the storm hit.
At this point I began working the water in the foreground. While working the foreground the upper half of background would be tacking up to paint the rigging in last. It is way too hard to paint rigging over wet paint. After painting in the boat and water I decided I didn't like the seawall cutting the painting in half and shortened it to make the painting work better.

My finished version of the Allegro. Being at the actual location taking my reference photos really helped to add emotion and feel to the painting. I have owned a couple of boats in my life so I could totally understand how the owner must have felt over this event. I could feel some of those feelings inside of me just standing there taking photos. I have a strong connection with this painting now due to having been there as she lay aground. The owner tried to get help to dig the boat out but since the cabin was facing the sea she filled with too much sand and water. The owner ended up cutting the boat up. Here is an article in Noozhawk with a pic of the owner cutting her up and a video showing heavy waves washing another boat into the Gaviota pier. 


Mick Carney said...

The only comment I can make is, 'Why was it returned?'
A first rate piece and great demonstration of your process.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick,
I felt the same way! hahaha. I've been told your economy is not much better than ours so that would explain the likely answer. Coos Bay used to be a booming logging town. That ended years ago and so there is very little industry left up there.

When Linda and I went up there last year to deliver work to the show it was kind of sad. There was this great looking town but I'd say 1/3 of the businesses were closed. Beautiful looking place though and still worth traveling up there to stay a few days.

Our family used to drive up to Canada every Summer for vacation back when I was in High School. Coos Bay was booming back then and our camper was running as fast as it could go to keep from being run over by the logging trucks, haha. There is none of that now and I miss it. I'd move there in 2 seconds because it is just a beautiful place along the coast that's why it came back, haha.

Sue Comtois said...

I love your sailboat paintings. The name of the boat is perfect for this painting. "Allegro" is such a graceful word--totally appropriate for a sailboat. Your painting captures the poignancy of the fact that such a free and graceful thing came to such a sad end. Thanks for the "progress" photos too. They're very interesting.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Sue,
I've gotten a lot of comments about that name of the boat. Another couple owned the boat first. Bought it in bad need of restoration, did a lot of repair work on it once and thensailed up and down the coast here. They then sold it to the owner who had it at the time of the storm. He had only had it for a couple of months. Glad you like this one Sue.