Decaying Boats by Michael Screen


Artist Michael Screen, has recently developed a deep interest in nautical art, and is currently working on a portfolio based on studies of decaying and abandoned ships and boats.

Originally from Wales, he has been based in Portsmouth for the last 20 years.  Portsmouth’s coastal location is clearly an advantage to his work.

Decaying Boats
Drawing: Ink on Paper.

Screen commented about the work above: “This is part of my many studies of decaying boats in our local harbour. I enjoyed the finicky detailed work of the boat itself, but also of the surrounding, done in ink pen.”

decaying boats
Drawing: ink, ink wash on Paper.

Screen is inspired by nature reclaiming the built environment. “I use a combination of drawing techniques and processes to document the textures and contours as living organisms begin to envelope the structure of the object.”

boat studies
Drawing: Conte on Paper.
drawing boats
Drawing: Graphite, Acrylic, Watercolor on Paper.

Screen thinks of the boats as “Carcasses of sea creatures run aground.”

Decaying Boats
Painting: Watercolor on Paper.

I asked Screen what he would say to students who wanted to create work inspired by decaying boats and he had lots of advice.

“Look for the geometry and perspective to convey a convincing boat form. Even a decaying structure has perspective, volume and form. Don’t be too concerned with contours and trying to outline everything.  Tonal changes define form as much as an outline. Locate your drawing/painting in its background. Finally, plan your viewpoint so the viewer sees the detail and angle you want to convey and don’t be afraid to use lots of dark/wide tonal values to convey depth.”

Decaying Boats
Painting: Acrylic on Paper.

Even successful artists have to experiment.  The decaying fishing boat below was painted after many hours of studying different techniques and processes.

painting boats
Painting: Acrylic on Canvas.

Whilst painting ‘Abandoned timber fishing boats at Mull’ below, Screen commented that ‘I wanted to achieve a gritty finish involving working on tangled parts and texture.’

Painting: Acrylic on Canvas.

The project below features Michael Screens work and asks students to draw from the beautiful decaying boats that are included.  Click the image to find out more.

drawing dilapidated boats

The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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