The Art of Crabbing. . .

Several weeks ago I blogged about cruising to the Rhode River and being awaked by crabbers before 0600 (see Cruising to Rain).  Below, I’ve reblogged a post from my wife’s blog recounting that experience and the drawing it inspired.  Ruth had a similar take on the experience – grumpy at first, then coffee, then everything was okay!

The sketch below will serve as a starting point for a watercolor painting.  You can see this, and more of her art on her blog at and


Time Out for Art – Get out a Pencil!

June 28, 2013 in Maxims to Paint ByTime Out for Art | Tags: ,

My pencil drawing this week is from an overnight trip on the sailboat last week.  We sail on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, and crabs play a large role in the state’s economy and gastronomy.  While on the water in the summer months, it is not unusual to be awakened (early!) by people, both amateurs and professionals, who are out catching crabs.  The professionals, especially when working alone, tend to be quieter than those who do this for fun and good eating.  Shouts of delight and exclamations over the size of large crabs woke us before sunrise as this group worked several lines of bait.

Value Study for Crabbers, pencil, 9" x 12"

Value Study for Crabbers, pencil, 9″ x 12″

After drinking a cup of coffee, we were less grumpy and able to rejoice with this group as they shouted, “Jumbo!”  Since sound carries easily over the water, we soon surmised that for two of these crabbers English is not their native language, and “jumbo” was a new word, one that will not be easily forgotten.

Doing a value study like this serves several purposes:  Having already drawn the picture, I am more familiar with the subject matter (practice) and will be able to paint it better.  I can spot corrections that need to be made before doing the painting.  (e.g. The man holding the pole needs to be up a little higher because he is standing in the boat.  The pole needs a slice of the net above the water to allow viewers to know what it is.)  If the value study conveys the idea, then the picture will work in color if I get the values right  (i.e. “color gets all the credit, but value does all the work.”)


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