Nautical art by Kirk Larsen: See how this nautical painting of a racing sailboat built in 1921 came to be, in a behind-the-scenes look with the artist himself.
by Kirk Larsen
My nautical works derive from my actual experience racing sailboats. Conveying the thrill as well as the beauty and romance in painting, I strive to relate to the viewer what it feels like to be out there on the water. I race more than 60 days per year, mostly on classic boats, which provides a rich abundance of inspiration.
This work of Clio was painted in the studio from reference photos taken during a Classic sailboat race, during which I crewed on another boat, Caper, a 1957, 56′ Rhodes sloop. It was initially conceived in a 1:3 ratio and lost out a place on the easel to another design.
Months later I revisited the composition and realized it called for more sail included in the image, and settled on a 2:3 ratio. I knew I was onto something delicious when I could hear the sound of the water splashing along the hull. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute as I rendered wind filling her sails, the nuanced touch of the skipper’s hand on the tiller and the crew hiking o’er the high side as Clio glides across the waves in a bright sunlit afternoon classic race, in Oyster Bay, New York.
About the boat featured in the oil painting:
Built in 1921 by famed Scottish boat builder Sir William Fife III as his own personal racing sloop, Clio is 30 LWL, 45’9″ LOA. Called Sheevra when she was fully restored from 1983 to 1985, by Jeff Law, Olive Adshead, and Donn Costanzo (on helm in the painting), she and her racing record are legendary in St Tropez, Imperia, Sardinia, Monaco, Palma, and Oyster Bay. I have had the joy of racing on her several times, and she continues to race in spring, summer, and fall Classics where, with a breeze and water, she can be seen … in all her glory.
Selected for the 34th annual International Maritime art show at The Gallery At Mystic Seaport, the ASMA (American Society of Marine Artists) 16th annual exhibition, the Oil Painters of America Eastern regional show 2014, and the Salmagundi Club New York summer members show and now the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) 40th Anniversary Invitational exhibition at Principle Gallery Charleston (South Carolina), opening November 2, 2018.