Setting the Sails
16 x 12 in.
Watercolor on panel
Available from the artist

Setting the Sails is a tribute to the craft and labor inherent in preparing a tall ship to voyage under sail.

Most marine art includes the sea. Poppy Balser intentionally omitted the ocean in this piece, painting it as a response to her plein air studies of the intricate sails and lines of a tall ship visiting her home port of Digby, Nova Scotia. Rather than looking down at the sea, she looked up into the rigging, delighting in the interwoven patterns and shapes outlined against the sky.

The interplay of delicate lines of rigging contrasted against the solid masts and spars affords the artist the opportunity to play with a sense of space and light. One solitary figure is included in the composition to give a sense of scale, and yet only one so as to not detract from the lines of the ship itself.

Poppy is an internationally-awarded plein air painter from the Canadian Maritimes. Her work is recognized for its fresh brushwork and color. Informed Collector wrote, “Gorgeous use of values and color hues to depict moments in the life of her subjects.”

Having grown up on the shores of the Bay of Fundy, the daily rise and fall of the tides shaped her early days. Now her love of the ocean continues to inspire and shape her work.

A signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists, Poppy paints sailboats with an insider’s eye. A sailor herself, she understands of the purpose and nature of ship construction. Her feel for the working parts of a craft help her accurately and clearly depict a sailing ship without resorting to overt fussiness. She weaves the fabric of the ships rigging into the atmosphere that surrounds it in a convincing and realistic manner. Balser brings the same attention and consideration to all her works.

Read more specifically more about the Tall Ships’ visit to the port of Digby and how that inspired several works.

Also view more paintings by Poppy on her website and sign up for her e-newsletter. Poppy maintains an active presence on social media via Instagram and Facebook.