Boats like to break. Fixing them could be an almost full time job. Water tanks, drainage pumps, the dinghy engine, the traveller for the main sheet... sometimes the list of things awaiting fixing feels endless. And Jim holds the title of Chief Mechanic aboard Island Prism.
One of the pulley blocks on the traveller had exploded in a shower of ball bearings as we rounded Cape Brett, affecting the smooth working of the mainsail. When we returned to Mimiwhangata, Jim set to fixing it, and I decided to do my homework for Veronica Lawlor's class at Sketchbook Skool- drawing a moving figure. I trailed Jim as he sawed, filed and drilled. Swear words not included.
I am pretty sure that sawing through metal rods whilst balancing them on your thighs is NOT recommended procedure. Do not try this at home.
I mainly used my Platinum maki-e brush pen. Slowly but surely I've been gaining control with it and am really falling in love with its expressive lines. I pulled out some neopastels too, to add some colour- they gave a nicely expressive line and I used the for the sketch of Jim drilling holes.
There was one occasion when I thought Jim was going to tumble headfirst into the cockpit locker. Boat maintenance is never easy, and Jim rarely does things the easy way anyway.
In the end, we gained a nicely working traveller, Jim didn't tumble into the bowels of the boat and his legs escaped unsawn. It won't belong until he gets something else to work on- after all, cruising is travelling to beautiful places to work on the boat.
Leaving Tutukaka, we headed north to Mimiwhangata. We'd hoped to make it all the way to the Bay of Islands but the winds were light. I took a break from helming in the afternoon to relax and draw Jim and the helm. It's always fun to study the island names on the charts, and this area had a particularly dramatic feel- Danger Island and the Wide Berth Islands. It could be the start of the next Island Prism comic episode...
I used a PITT brush pen for the line work and squinted a bit to get the dramatic shadows. The tarp behind Jim looked a bit odd in black and white so I coloured it with watercolour. I might go back and paint the ocean, but I do like the graphic simplicity as it is.
The anchorage at Mimiwhangata was beautiful, and the sunset complemented the scenery perfectly. We'll pop back when it's time to head south again- Jim wants to cycle the hills and I'll take a tramp- or set up my stool and sketch!
It's been an urban sketching kind of a weekend, despite the heavy rain and lower-than-I'd-like temperatures. I can blame Michael Nobbs for starting it off- our task for his class in Sketchbook Skool is to take a tiny adventure. I packed my sketchbook, pen and watercolours and headed down to Kohi Beach. A coffee from the Store was essential fortification against the rather chilly wind. I started off by sketching Rangitoto a couple of times, experimenting with how to use my ink brush to show waves and the lovely shimmer of the sun on the water. Then I spotted some kids having a tiny adventure of their own- climbing one of the pohutukawa trees which line the bay. I love the trees, so decided to do a quick drawing. Which turned into a more detailed drawing. Which turned into pulling out the watercolours then adding coloured pencils and being finished an hour or so later (JUST as it started to rain!). I'm not sure if it counts as a tiny adventure any more, but I really enjoyed it!
Sunday went a similar way- popping down to the boatyard to see Jimmie working on Island Prism led to a leisurely hour of drawing her. I've been happy with how my Pentel colour brush pen has been working for these sketches- I like the expressive lines I've been getting and have also got better at using it for fine details. The really wonderful thing is the ink dries quickly so I can use watercolours over the top.
As I finished painting Prism, the clouds rolled in. There was just enough time for a quick sketch of Jim before the rain started to pour- which did at least lead to some beautiful rainbows on the drive home!
An Artist Afloat- Painting the world one anchorage at a time.