perspective and boats 101

What is more boring than c-span, matching socks, tax law or dusting the house?  Perspective! Especially learning about it...And really, who needs perspective? It's just one of those stupid rules of physics.  Rules, rules, rules... we don't need no stupid rules. That is unless we are trying to make something look like it is adhering to the laws of nature in a drawing or a painting. Tell anyone out there that the building lined street they are standing on gets smaller as it goes to the horizon and that all parallel lines recede to a single point and they will all say, "Duh, I can see that." But give them a sheet of paper and ask them to draw it, that's a different thing. If it gives you fits, don't feel bad. Drawing perspective wasn't really figured out until the middle of the 15th century, or is it the 14th. Anyway it was staring them all right in the face and they couldn't see it. No worries. I'm surely not going to bore you with my perspective on perspective, but I get asked a lot "How do you draw boats?" and my answer is.... I'm not sure. Boats are really complicated things. Like women. There are rare few straight lines, lots of compound curves and they move around a lot. They seem to defy logic.  So I started thinking about it. Rule number one when you are trying to paint a boat, or anything else  for that matter, don't think of it as a boat. If you try to paint a boat you will revert to your idea of a boat when your brain can't figure out what it's seeing. And you end up with a little smiley thing with a triangle on top. I've seen it happen.

First thing with boats is to think of the basic frame of the boat, it helps to draw a line that goes from the center of the front to the center of the back, and that line is going to be the basic perspective line of the boat. In the above example, the boats are all parked in parallel which means that all those center lines are going off to a single point on the horizon, just like the buildings on the street. ( See how I brought that around?) Once you have the basic frame of the boat then the curves part is a little easier. And when in doubt, use the horizon line and a vertical line to compare the angles you are seeing. Mostly that's all I do. The pic at the bottom is kinda oddly fuzzy and sharp at the same time )iPhone) but I like it. I'll post the finished painting once I get it shot.