A full pallet has been mixed; and, I am beginning the work of creating the Robt. E. Lee steamboat. I have spent a little time working on the presentation of the boat and her appearance in the river. Steamboats were free-form objects. Actually, I feel they were floating sculptures. Many of the painted images produced don't exhibit the graceful lines of the 19th century vessel. Too often an image is produced of a flat, more "barge like", vessel. To produce the feel of the lines of the Robt. E. Lee, it has taken time and some trial and error.
To my knowledge, there were no formal plans made of any steamboat in the 19th century. The above plans of the Robt. E. Lee were made in 1934 by a model building company in New York City.
The plans above have been taped to the canvas as reference for my work. These plans were very helpful in the creation of my quartering view of the boat. Using these plans helped me to see the position of the general working elements contained on her four decks.
Because the painting depicts the steamboat racing at night, I am able to depict the boilers being fired at full capacity. From my plans, it can be noted that the Robt. E. Lee had eight boilers. The round figures depicted above my brush are the boilers and the retangular bright spaces below the boilers are the fire boxes with doors wide open.
All the best to you,