Categories
Landscape Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting Plein Air

Is it called a “Bell Buoy?”

Old Bell Buoy, Oil on panel, 12x9" (click image to enlarge)
Old Bell Buoy, Oil on panel, 12x9" (click image to enlarge)

If this is a “Bell buoy” I wonder if there is any connection to “Bell Boys”–did the latter get named for the former? (A beacon of light with a bell to warn you of dangers?–probably not). At any rate, this is a buoy and it has a bell, so I suppose the answer is yes, but somehow it just sounds funny to me… I keep picturing hotel bell boys weaing red hats with a bell mounted on top.

I didn’t paint this aboard a boat in the middle of a foggy sea. This huge old buoy (about 20 feet tall) is actually parked in front of Quinn’s Lighthouse in Embarcadero Cove near Jack London Square in Oakland but when I started painting it was so foggy we could have been at sea.

I arrived at 10:00 a.m. and there were so many interesting subjects (Victorian buildings, gazebos, gardens, boats, Quinns) that I wandered for nearly an hour, trying to choose. I finally picked this and got to work with only two hours to make the painting before our 1:00 group critique.

I nearly finished the painting in the two hours, with just a few details to touch up once I got home. Someday I will learn to leave a plein air painting alone! I started touching up a little here and there and before I knew it, I’d mucked things up. Then I  spent the next several hours unsuccessfully trying to get back to what I had originally, which I’d really liked.

Plein air finish before studio "touch up"
Plein air finish before studio "touch up"

Despite my efforts, I couldn’t quite get there.  I lost some of the darks, fresh bright lights and interesting color variations I had. Maybe when it’s dry I can do a little glazing and solve those problems, but without being there and painting from life, it’s just not the same, even with a good memory (which I don’t have) and a photo (which I do, below).

Photo of the buoy
Photo of the buoy