Misty Marina Pyrography Artwork boat wood burning

My husband, Todd, loves to take pictures.  He’s been known to get up early, so he can reach his photo destination as the sun is just rising.  One day he was at the Ilwaco marina, it was a touch foggy, and he took several pictures of the moored boats.  One of the pictures I just loved, so decided to create a pyrography rendition of it.  This blog is going to discuss the creation of the Misty Marina pyrography artwork. 

If you’d like to watch a YouTube video of the artwork being created, then click on the image to the left.





Here’s the photo he took.  I loved all of the detail in the photo and how the distance boats and docks are faded from the fog. 






I had a piece of basswood that had lots of character to it.  Most of the time basswood is plain and uniform in color, but this piece broke out of that mold.  I had been holding onto this piece of wood waiting for the right project to come along, and I finally found it with the marina photo.   The super pale blotches or streaks in the lower left corner would become part of the water reflection area.   The grey and tan streaking in the upper portion of the board would become my fog.


It took me several days working an hour or two at a time to get all of the trace lines drawn onto the board.  In this photo I’m starting to burn in the anchor logs along the dock.





In this photo you can see some white charcoal lines that I’m burning dark around.  I had debated on whether to emboss (carve the lines down into the wood) or try to avoid burning on the lines.   I obviously went with the avoidance method.



Continued work.







Continuing to burn along the side of the fishing trolley, or at least what I think is a fishing trolley.







I quit working on the log I started on because I couldn’t decide how dark to make the log.  I wanted it dark, but not as dark as the boat, so burning in a good chunk of the boat allowed me to compare the contrast between the two better.




With a good chunk of the boat side done, I’m can finish burning the log.






I exercised my artistic license and created my own texture for the log and I think it turned out nicely.  The log in the reference photo was pretty dark and you couldn’t see much texture on it.





I liked my version better and used it on the other anchor log, piling, or whatever the thing is called that was attached to this dock.  I’ll warn you now that I’m not very versed with nautical terms, so I’m sure that I will call many items the wrong thing in this blog.




With the second log done, I’m starting on the underside of the dock.  After writing numerous blogs about my artwork, I’ve discovered that I have a fondness for burning in the darker areas on the art first.




In this photo you can see that I’m working on the boat again, but you can also see how far along I got with the dark dock area.




Now I’m starting on the dark dock area in the next boat slip.  I hadn’t burned in the trace lines, so I was starting to get a little concerned that my hand might smear or erase the lines of the dock in the foreground.




Because of that concern, I began to diligently work on the dock in the foreground instead of bouncing around like I normally do.   In this photo I’m working on the water reflection of the first log.





Now I’m starting to burn around the plastic pipes that run along the side of the dock.  I’m guessing that they carry fresh water and power lines.







Continued work.






I’ve got the area around the piping burned in on this section and now I’m working on the wooden planks on the top of the dock. 





Now I’m burning another water reflection.  One thing I loved about this piece of wood was the super pale streaks along the bottom.  As I mentioned before, they are going to become part of my water reflection.




Continued work on the water reflection.





With the lower left corner mostly done, I felt safe to work on other areas.  The reason is that I’m left handed, so my hand was resting in the left corner a lot.  Now I’m burning the funky thing with a handle.  I want to say it is a motor for hauling in the fishing net or something like that.




There was a LOT of stuff on this first boat, so here I’m using a micro writer to burn in the trace lines.  I’m sure that all of the stuff has a purpose, but while I was working on it I keep thinking he/she needs to clean out some junk.  🙂




Behind the fishing trolley was a white boat and that’s what I’m working on here. 





Now I’m burning in some the rigging on the sailboat






The white boat had white railings around the front deck, so I’m burning the fog around the railing to make the railing look white.





The front of the fishing trolley had a deck protrusion with metal railing around it.  I’m working on the metal railing.  The railing had mesh sides, so I was letting my brain ponder how I was going to handle that.





This picture shows me working on the hand held dipping net.  I wasn’t joking when I said there was a lot of stuff on the fishing trolley. 





Now I’m back to working on the side of the dock.  This area I’m working on is in the lower right corner of the artwork, and is where the dock is the closest.




Continued work on the dock side. (no star wars pun intended) 😉





In this photo I’m finishing up the gritty details along the side of the empty boat slip.





I’ve got almost all of the dark dock areas done.  Until I did this artwork I didn’t have a clue how much stuff was on a marine dock like all of the piping, metal tie-offs, etc.




Even the side of the boat had a lot of stuff hanging from it or intersecting it.  There were bumpers and lots and lots of rope.  Some of the rope was thin, some was thick, and some was made of metal links.




More work on the water reflection area.   The super pale streaks really worked wonderfully to convey light reflections on slightly choppy water.  Ironically those streaks were only in the lower left corner.




In this photo I’m working on the water reflection in the area between the two empty boat slips.





Continued work.





Here I’m working on some sort of power junction or at least I think it’s a power junction.





Now I’m working on the cab of the fishing trolley.





I will admit that all of the rigging lines were a pain in the butt to deal with.  I loved the complexity their lines gave the artwork, but I didn’t enjoy burning around them.





Burning in the little windows on the boat.






Working on the ladder on the first sail.







Continued work.







Now I’m burning in the canvas sail that was down and lashed to the bottom pole.





I decided that the white railing needed a little more contrast and that the bottom edge of the railing needed to look shadowed.  To accomplish this I’m using a knife edge to burn a thin semi-dark line along the bottom edge of the rails.




This photo shows that I’ve gotten a good chunk of the left side of the artwork done. 





I’m continuing to work my way along the fishing trolley burning in some of the stuff on it.




In this photo I’ve used a white charcoal pencil to mark a pale rope that I want to avoid burning on.  After the line was draw I carefully burned around it to get the cab to the final darkness it needed.  I know I said it before, but I’ll say it again.  The numerous ropes were a pain to deal with.




The charcoal line has been erased and you can see a hint of the line.  Currently I’m burning in the dark wood around the upper deck on this boat.




I had mentioned before that the front of the fishing trolley had meshing along the sides.  Well so did this section of the boat and I’m burning in the lower edge of the meshing. 





I decided to burn the meshing a few shades darker than the white of the boat, and hoped that this would be enough to convey the impression that something was there.





Now I’m working on a storage locker on the dock.  There was another locker near the empty boat slip, but I found it distracting and left it out of the artwork.




Adding details to the side of the dock.





Continued work on the dock.





In this photo I’m working on the boat anchor.  Just to the right you can see a section of chain link rope I had burned in with a micro pen tip.






More work on the front of the boat.







I decided to burn the mesh along the front in the same fashion as I did the side, so I burned it a couple shades darker than the unburned wood.






Now I’m starting on the dock that is in the distance and a bit obscured by the fog.





Here I’m burning along the bottom edge of the second sail.






In this photo I’m working on one of the distant vessels.






Working on the mast of the second sail.






Using a knife tip to burn in the rigging.






Back to working on the second sail.  The front of the sail was lashed down with lots of rope to keep it from moving, so I used a micro writer to burn them in.





Now I’m burning in the canvas on the sail.






The sail is done and I’m finishing up the boats in the foggy background.






Burning the ladder on the second sail.






Working on the last of the foggy background stuff.  In this case it’s the distant docks.




Back to working on the fishing trolley and all of the lovely ropes dangling off if it.





Here I’m using a micro writer to burn in the chain link rope that is attached to the front of the fishing trolley.






The top deck of the fishing trolley had a lot of stuff on it, but most of it was covered in tarps or canvas.





Using a micro writer to burn in the rope railing along the side of the boat.






Finishing up the stuff on the top deck of the fishing trolley.






Adding the last of the little details to the artwork.






Below are progress photos.  Each time I stopped burning I took a picture of the artwork.

























Here’s the reference photo. 






Here’s my final artwork.  In the last progress photo I had not burned the frame around the artwork.  I think burning in the frame really helped give the artwork a more polished look.





Here’s the artwork after it was sealed with lacquer. The lacquer brought out a beautiful golden color in the wood and made it seem like an old sepia tone picture. 






That’s it for this blog.  I did enjoy working on this project and I’m rather proud of all of the fine detail I got into the art.  To date this is the most complex piece of artwork I have created.  It is probably my best work that incorporates the features of the wood into it.  I was very fortunate to have this particular board on hand when I decided to create the Misty Marine as the unique features of this board really enhanced the look of the water and fog.

Now to answer a couple of questions I get asked frequently.  This artwork was burned on basswood that measures 11 x 17 inches (27.9 x 43.2 cm).  It took me 29 hours to complete the artwork.  

Until the next blog,


May 18, 2018

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2 thoughts on “Misty Marina Pyrography Artwork boat wood burning

  1. You have done AMAZING work here! Thank you SO much for the step by step progress footage you captured as well as your attention to detail in describing how you went about this project! I too am left handed and have been considering learning pyrography. You have given me perspective that I should try it. THANK YOU!

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you very much for the compliments. I really appreciate them. I’ve read that left handed people are more creative and a lot more intelligent than their right handed counterparts. Ok, maybe not, but my husband is right handed so I tell him I have read that. 🙂 Pyrography is a wonderful hobby and I enjoy a lot. I highly recommend trying it, but purchase a burner that has a temperature control on it. I’ve tried the craft burners that are the plug and go style, and I didn’t enjoy trying to burn with them at all! Thank you for your comments and I really hope you’ll try pyrography and come to love it as I do. Brenda

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