John Clapp
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(13 k), large version (61k)

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Bluehands

Art for "Dr. Blanke's First Command" by C.S. Forester

Watercolor on paper

Problem:
The story is about a young bookish naval doctor on his first voyage. Pathetic at his early attempts at being a naval officer, a sympathetic old navy salt gives him a U.S. Naval manual to read on the voyage to his first ship. Successful applying his medical school habits, his memorization of the manual saves his life and the lives of the seamen in his lifeboat when their ship is torpedoed en route.

Solution:
I wanted to try and capture the nautical feeling of the book as well as the drama. The rope was such a nice vehicle for this I couldn't resist it. In my mind the story was about self-suffiency and saving one's own life through directed effort. I thought the hands pulling on the rope were a nice visual way to suggest this. The guys at the local hardware store thought I was some kind of blockhead buying just TWO FEET of 1" diameter rope; you can barely bend the ends together.

Another one of the traditionally popular pieces in my portfolio, this painting has since been used for "labor" illustrations among other things.

Check out the large version of this one, it's worth the wait.

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