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Works in Progress


Step 1

For me as for probably most artists, I have to read or see something that moves me. I was reading about the first cutter of the coast guard ( then called the Revenue Service) Massachusetts, and found no image of it has ever been done of it. This will get my attention every time. There is a good description, form the drawings of the builder and I found an elevation drawing of the ship from it. This was enough to get me drawing up some ideas.

Step 2

Once armed with a sketch I liked I needed to draw a floor plan view of the Mass. to create the exact view of the Mass. that would match my sketch through Descriptive Geometry (D.G.). D.G. allows me to create an accurate image of the ship from any view, like CAD does in a computer. Finding a contemporary hull shape from the New England region and applying it to the elevation allows me to do the D.G. Note ( I do this with ships, planes...)

Step 3

Now armed with an exact view of the Mass. I project it on canvas and draw in sky and ocean keeping with my compassion from my sketch. The Massachusetts was built to “keep the Coast’ in the winter when the seas were to rough for the smaller ships they used to intercept shipping off New England to guard against smuggling. So the subject chosen for this work is the Mass. going out to intercept may be smugglers on a twilight wintry eve.


Step 4

Drama and Magic, that is what I want in my works, the light source is one way of getting it. I want a nice light source that I can play with reflections off the water with and the transparency of the canvas sails.

Step 5

Rough winter sea’s, this was the reason for the building of the Mass. The fact is that the Mass handled poorly and only sailed for one year, probably due to the fact that it was designed with speed in mind and not enough stability (too much Canvas not enough ballast).

Step 6

Blocking in the sails and ship, getting the effects that I want are already being dictated by my light source, all the information is there now the painting paints itself. all that is left are the details.

2003 Craig Slaff