The Danforth Anchor - Oil Painting by John Morfis

The Danforth Anchor Painting

The Danforth Anchor - Oil Painting by John Morfis

Now here’s a big painting I made of a Danforth anchor.  This thing is really old and had been hanging off of a family member’s fence along an outdoor workspace for years.  I’m not quite sure if it’s an original Danforth Branded boat anchor but it’s certainly made in that unmistaken Danforth style.  It’s rusted, bent in spots and really well used… perfect for painting a still life!

The Danforth anchors were quite clever when originally conceived as they are much lighter than what we think of when compared to a traditional styled mushroom anchor.  Like mushroom anchors, most traditional anchors require massive amounts of weight to be effective, but the Danforth is much different.  It has “flukes” that dig into the mud on the bottom of the sea.  It is clever and its lightweight, slim design make it easy to stow.

The proof of just how light these anchors are is the fact that I was able to suspend a Danforth anchor from a single nail in my still life staging area.  And this anchor was about 28 inches hight, just to put things in perspective!  There is no way on earth I would have been able to do this with a big, heavy mushroom anchor.

I keep on insisting on painting rope but it does take a long time.  Painting that one little section of braided marine rope took nearly as long as painting the entire anchor.  It’s just very, very time consuming and there is little room for error.  With the anchor I can actually be a bit carefree as to where the rust is.  As long as I get the big picture right with the anchor’s form all is well.  But the rope?  Each little twist of the braid has to carefully sized and modeled or it just won’t look convincing.  So like all of my serious paintings, I work out all of the ahead of time with a pencil drawing.

I must say, I was in my glory rendering all of the rusty spots.  I love painting old things and my earth-color oil paints make quick work of most of that stuff.  I think it’s rather obvious, to me anyway, but I choose to go with a looser background as compared to many of my other paintings.

I really worked up the large brushstrokes in the painting which I rather like.  It almost reminded me of a seascape painting, you know, the type seascape painting  in which the artist has used many brushstrokes to evoke a feeling of water.  Well, I’m not trying to pull off water pictorially, but inspiration can come in many forms and if that enables me to paint a more interested background well then I’m all for it.

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