Canary 5"x7" oil on panel
The Naming of boats is a big deal, especially for the owners!
When I paint boats, I often change their names, unless I’m painting the boat for its owner. And for me the naming of boats is fun. I can choose whatever name I want, and it gives a bit more mystery and a little bit of a story to the painting. At this point, I like bird names, they are often short and very descriptive. What could be more yellow than a canary?
The Owl and the Pussycat 10"x10" oil on canvas panel
So, how do I paint the names onto the boats? There are two approaches. Since I paint alla prima (wet paint into wet paint) the first option is to paint the name into the wet paint, the way I do the rest of the painting. I did that for the Owl in The Owl and the Pussycat, above. Alternatively I can scratch the name into the wet paint, like I write my signature. I’ve tried this, but haven’t so far liked the look. Perhaps a bright color to scratch into would help.
The Sternman 16"x20" oil on canvas
The tried and true method is to wait for the painting to be dry and paint the name over the dry paint. This is the easiest approach. And If the paint is really dry,the name can be wiped off if it doesn’t turn out right the first time. I used this approach for the Osprey in The Sternman, above. And with this approach I can make a pattern for the name and tape it to the painting, so that I get it straight with even spacing between the letters. I used that method on some of the boats in Rafting Up, in the example below.
Changing the name of a boat is an even bigger deal than naming it in the first place, with special rituals to remove any bad luck that could be associated with doing that. For example, I’ve heard of people scraping off the name, throwing the scrapings over the transom and backing over them, to remove the bad luck from changing the name. And you need champagne to do this properly!