ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

George Wesley Bellows' Painting, In a Rowboat

Updated on March 24, 2017


George Wesley Bellows’ painting, In a Rowboat, involves the viewers in a dramatic experience with nature. We often notice the beauty of nature and forget that it can be both beautiful and dangerous. The painter utilizes contrast to create drama and emphasis to this event. Bellows balances the composition by using lines and colors. The rhythm of the work guides the viewer’s eyes and unifies the composition. What caught my attention the most about this painting was: subject matter, content, and the techniques used to achieve the final work of art. It also shows the painter’s ability to express his personal struggles through art.

Creating Drama in His Painting

In a Rowboat is a representational painting by George Wesley Bellows created in 1916. The size of this painting is 30 ½ by 44 ¼ inches, and the artist used oil paint. The predominant colors used were black, brown, white, and green. There is a contrast between the dark and light colors. The painting has various shapes and lines. The painting also has bold brushstrokes in some areas while in other areas the painter focuses on more details. Rhythm and implied lines are used in the water and trees.

Bellows utilizes a contrast between light and dark colors to create the clouds and mountains. This technique allows our main focus to go towards that area of the painting. In creating the clouds he uses white on top and black and gray right beneath them. The mountains are dark with hues of green, and the darkness of the clouds is right above them. Another way contrast is used is in the water by using a mix of white and dark blue.

Expressive Lines

In the larger areas the painter uses bold brushstrokes while in smaller areas like the boat he focuses on small details with more precision. This bold brushstroke technique is also noticeable in the trees, where the painter focuses more on color and rhythm. When the painter created the clouds he used the brushstrokes in a downward position and used dark colors, this gives the impression of the rain falling down.

Implied and expressive lines were also used to direct the viewer’s eyes to the focal point. One way this was done was by using color to give the illusion of a downward movement from the clouds to the mountains. Also the attention of the people in the boat is directed towards the clouds. The lines on the water and throughout the painting were all directed towards the mountains. Some areas showed more expressive lines like the trees.


The use of rhythm is also one important part of the painting. The artist utilized the repeated lines on the water with a contrast of dark blue and white to give it movement. He also used the technique in the trees where they appear to be vanishing towards the mountains but have a repeated pattern that gives the illusion of blowing wind. Also the painter added various surrounding mountains which were smaller, but gave a sense of movement.

George Wesley Bellows was fascinated by boxers and painted them often.
George Wesley Bellows was fascinated by boxers and painted them often.

The Story Behind the Painting

George W. Bellows created In a Rowboat to reflect his personal experience with nature. He went on a summer vacation to a small coastal town where he decided to go on a boat ride with his family and a friend. A storm surprised them unexpectedly, and his painting reflects clearly how dramatizing this experience was for them. Luckily everyone onboard survived. The painter was able to capture such a horrific event in his painting.

The main reason why I chose this painting was because the minute I saw it I knew there was more to it than just what my eyes could see. This painting brought to mind my own experiences with nature. Many do not go through storms literally but figuratively they do. They go through emotional breakdowns, sadness, and even diseases that may seem overwhelming. I think anyone can identify themselves with the painter. Many of us would have felt the same emotions he felt as he went through that experience.

The Painter Captured the Beauty of Nature

Three Children by George Wesley Bellows
Three Children by George Wesley Bellows

A Few of Bellows' Paintings

The Big Dory by George Wesley Bellows
The Big Dory by George Wesley Bellows

What do you think about Bellows' painting, In a Rowboat?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • firstday profile image

      R Beggs 

      3 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thanks for your in depth analysis of this piece of art George W. Bellows created In a Rowboat. I enjoyed and shared with my social network TSU so they can enjoy it too. You can find me there at, be sure and check out my profile. I gave you a thumbs up and interesting for this hub. Good work!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)