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  • Rebecca Andrus

Capturing Character in the Lowcountry

Updated: Feb 3

One day on a bike ride in the South Carolina lowcountry, I discovered an abandoned wooden fishing boat settled in the marshy banks of the Harbor River. It caught my eye because of the aged detail on the boat. The boat had a certain grace about it. It rested near the riverbank, and the water around it looked like smooth glass that day. I just had to capture this image with my camera. My plan was to render a colored pencil artwork from the photo, in an attempt to illustrate the boat’s beauty and character.


Photograph of Boat

No doubt the old wooden boat had been subject to weather elements over the many years such as tropical storms and hurricanes, and perhaps had also been a refuge for birds and sea creatures.


As I worked on the colored pencil drawing of the subject, I wondered about the story and history behind the boat - who used it, and when? Was the younger generation of the original owners still around, and what could they tell us about the boat and the people who used it? Why are boats sometimes left deserted in shallow water?


I studied each section of the boat – the license plates, the wood grain and peeling paint, the ropes and rusted chains, metal fittings and window frames. I liked that the name of the boat was still intact, and I had learned that people long ago used names of family members for their boats. This boat’s name was “JIMMIE”. It was painted in black on the bow of the boat. There were ropes and a chains draped over the boat name and hull. The hull beneath “JIMMIE” had broken up color areas of blue, tan, gold, white, brown and gray. I used this area of the photograph to start my drawing. Somehow starting with the boat name and the faded paint colors surrounding it made the artwork start to “breathe”.

Colored Pencil artwork


When I stopped to view this old boat years later, the basic frame was still intact. More paint had faded, wood planks separated, and the angle of boat had changed quite a bit. But it was still impressive.


I don't know if the boat is still resting in the water, or if it has completely crumbled away. I’m glad to have captured it’s beauty and dignity – by drawing the subject just as it looked to me that day – firmly planted and just resting there.


The photograph of the old wooden fishing boat is sharp and colorful and is special keepsake of mine as well.


Contact me if you wish to purchase the Photograph of the old wooden fishing boat – 8x10 or 11x14 available.


Visit my website to view artwork samples and prices - Animal Portraits, House Portraits, other custom illustration commissions, etc.

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