About this artwork
Homer created sparkling watercolor sketches of sailboats in Bahamian waters during his 1898-99 Bahamas trip. When he visited Key West, Florida, in the winter of 1903-04, he further indulged his interest in the details of local boating. There, Homer painted Stowing Sail on December 22, 1903. Everything about this watercolor points toward rapid, plein-air execution.
The artist’s graphite underdrawing is a quick and sketchy series of lines that establish the major contours on the sheet. Pentiments, or shifts, in the underdrawing show that when he began the sketch, the figure was leaning further forward, gathering the sail over the back of the boat. This adjustment suggests that Homer was working quickly to keep up with the man’s progress.
Homer applied all of his washes directly within the forms marked in the underdrawing, working wet-on-wet, as if there were not enough time to wait for one to dry before adding the next. When he brushed the heavy, red stroke at the front of the boat, it bled upward into the still-wet blue shadow on the side.
- Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Winslow Homer
- Stowing Sail
- United States (Artist's nationality:)
- Transparent watercolor, with touches of opaque watercolor, rewetting, blotting, scraping and graphite, on thick, moderately textured (twill texture on verso), ivory wove paper
- Signed recto, lower left, in graphite: “Sketch from Nature”; in brown watercolor over graphite: “Dec 22 1903”; in brown watercolor over black watercolor over graphite: “HOMER” Inscribed verso, center, in graphite: "M.K.W.C. 1021-//Stowing Sail, Bahamas"; upper left, in graphite, “25811”; upper right, in graphite, “8”
- 35.5 × 55.4 cm (14 × 21 13/16 in.)
- Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection