Winslow Homer’s Breezing Up

Winslow Homer;s Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)
Winslow Homer;s Breezing Up, located on the West Main Floor in Gallery 68 of the National Gallery of Arts, perfectly captures the beauty and splendor of nature and innocence. The painting, which was completed after three years of work in 1876, is displayed among the works of other oil painters including additional works by American and naturalist painter Winslow Homer.
In this painting, Winslow Homer depicts a man with three boys in a small wooden sail boat that is riding along the choppy waters. At the center of this painting is the stern or rear of the boat. The oldest of the boys is sitting on the far end of the stern with his knees up and his bare feet planted firmly on the deck. Although the subject is directly in front of the viewer, Homer uses a slightly diagonal linear perspective that goes from the rear of the boat to the right and distant horizon. It is this boy, not the man, who is steering the boat almost effortlessly with one hand on the line. His face is turned slightly away from the viewer, yet Homer adds so much detail using line and color to accentuate the boy;s chin, left cheek and eye.
Throughout the artwork, Homer;s use of lines is only hinted at by the detailed contours of the figures and boats themselves. These detailed features stand out greatly against the thick layers of puffy clouds, painted with thick and loose brush strokes, which linger over the water. The use of expressive lines is also hinted at in Homer;s ability to recreate curves just as they would appear in nature, such as the shape and form of the rolling waves in the sea and the clouds hovering overhead in the sky. Winslow Homer also uses the technique of line of sight, in which lines are created from the two boys on the left and their father looking to the sail while the boy steering the boat is looking towards the shoreline, their destination. Implied lines may also be app…


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