Sketchbook Notes: Merlins

The classic Merlin Rocket carries a two-man (or lady!) crew and has enjoyed a long relationship with Salcombe Yacht Club and the challenging waters of Salcombe Estuary.

I have never helmed, or crewed, this high-performance dinghy. The Merlin sailors love a stiff breeze and to launch their brightly coloured spinnakers when the wind angle permits. They appear to ‘charge’ along, rather than passively sail.

Comparing my source photograph with the finished painting, you’ll maybe notice a number of changes I made to the composition.Merlins

I positioned the shoreline midway, losing much of the foreground water, and brought the choppy water into sharper focus. I also smudged the detail on the beach, so that the sails were given greater emphasis. Last but not least, I added a touch of red, with a buoy, positioned bottom right.

I had great fun with this painting, trying to capture the movement of the Merlins across the estuary and the excitement of their race. And yes, I love to photo the Merlin sailors’ antics; if I blink, I’m sure to miss a dramatic capsize!

The next opportunity to see this fleet – over 100 competitors – in full sail is during Merlin Rocket Week, 10-15 July 2016.


Where can you see this painting?

Merlins is on display at Salcombe Art Club in the Main Exhibition, along with four more of my paintings: Hope Cove, Scoble Point MooringsSouth Pool Sunrise and Splosh of Frogmore.

The Exhibition is open every day from 11am until 5pm, until 24 September.

I will be at the Exhibition, stewarding, on these dates: 19 April (2-5pm), 10 May (11am-5pm), 24 May (2-5pm), 14 June (2-5pm), 12 July (2-5pm), 9 August (2-5pm), and 20 September (11am-2pm).

If you are in Salcombe this summer, why not drop in?


The Sketchbook Notes series

This is one of the Sketchbook Notes, a series of posts explaining what inspired me to produce a particular painting.

If you own one of my paintings, or are just curious about an image, let me know; I’ll then write a blog post especially for you!

  • Patsy

    18 April 2016 at 12:07 pm Reply

    We DO plan to be in Salcombe this summer! Hope to see some of your latest paintings then – if you haven’t sold them all.

    • Stephen

      18 April 2016 at 4:16 pm Reply

      Looking forward to seeing you both. We’ll have the red carpet ready. Sx

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