Boatyard abstracts

With abstract art I can create in the moment. No preconceived ideas. I just put some color on the canvas and keep going.

Peggy Guichu

Hanging around the boatyard last year while we were getting Windsong II ready to launch, I practised “fresh seeing” — or seeing in a new way, as I’ve been striving to do.

I started to look more carefully at what I had ignored before — the peeling, chipping paint and barnacles on the old boat hulls and noticed a wealth of detail that I had overlooked before.

Most people ooh and aah over boats when they are shiny and clean and pristine. But I was captivated by the imperfections — the marks left by time and use and history. The colour and lines and shapes spoke to me as art.

I imagined that an abstract artist had paid a visit to the boatyard and left her mark — the hulls being her canvas.

I made several photographs of pieces of these beautiful hulls, and even framed and mounted one I loved for my dining room.

What is it that draws me to abstracts — both in art and photography? “No preconceived ideas” sums it up nicely. Freedom. There is nothing that I have to think of them based on what they are supposed to represent — I am free to respond and feel whatever comes up. They may or may not remind me of anything familiar — mostly not. I don’t have to rationalize or explain. I just am in the moment with them.

So this year I was eager to return to the same boatyard this year and see what was new. I wasn’t disappointed.

boat hull 1

boat hull 2lr

boat hull 3

The Simplicity Project, Nos. 12, 13 and 14

abstract orange blue

Boat bottom abstract #1

Abstraction generally involves implication, suggestion and mystery, rather than obvious description.

Robert Genn

If I were a painter, I’d want to be an abstract painter. Well, that won’t happen in this lifetime, but I can make abstract images using my camera.

Hanging around a boatyard this last while, getting our sailboat ready to launch, and doing my Simplicity Project at the same time, I’ve come to appreciate the exquisite beauty of deteriorating bottom paint on boats.

red abstract

Boat bottom abstract #2

A lot of boats have a build up of bottom paint that hasn’t been removed. Most bottom paint is like a bar of soap. As the boat moves through the water the paint dissolves. And every year or two a new layer is put on that may be a different colour. By changing the colour the owner of the boat can tell when the bottom of the boat needs to be repainted. The particular accumulation over time can become visually arresting.  Some boats with iron keels have rust spots too.

So in the spirit of “use what you have” and “appreciate what’s around you,” I’m taking advantage of the startlingly lovely patterns and colours that I used to look right past to make images that intrigue me.


Boat bottom abstract #3

We’ll be busy launching the boat over the next few days, so I’m grouping three days of my project together in this post since they’re all related “boat bottom abstracts.”

For many splendid images of simplicity, visit the Flickr group, Photographic Simplicity. Inspired by Kim Manley Ort.