Based on its name study the painting was done to commence Sea based painting, for example, the effect of light, how various colours blend in a sea painting, especially with brush strokes.
The painting depicts the sea with several boats around the background and the horizon. The painting depicts daytime. There are five sailing boats on top of the painting.
Two boats on the left side are upside down meaning they do not share the same background with the other three boats. The painting must be turned anticlockwise to be seen. The sailboat on the centre of the painting is fully completed. We can see water around it, and its sail cloths are white.
On the other hand, two boats on the right-hand side seem to be heading in the opposite direction. Their sailing clothes are barely visible. These represent an incomplete sketch or drawing since the background colour is visible.
At the bottom of the picture we can see the sea water, a sailing boat, on the right side we can see a pier with human activity on it. This section depicts clear skies. Also, at the bottom, we can see land and an overturned fishing boat. The boats brown colours are clear.
Additionally, we can see Claude Monet custom signature with his name and signature at the end.
This painting utilises the new approach towards painting using rapid brushstrokes and painting the effects of light which is known as impressionism. Monet used oil on canvas. Oil paints were mixed with linseed oil. The paint was combined with other solvents to make it thinner. The thicker paint was used to show different textures. The sailing boats depicted in the painting utilized several layers of paint. Each layer is thicker than the one before. Oil is easier to remove before it dries hence Monet must have rectified his painting many times to perfection.
There is one common theme about this painting the background colour for all the painting is light blue, imitating the colour of the water from the open sky. Claude Monet at this time was practising with brush strokes, which he had favoured over the traditional methods.
It depicts human activity, broken boats. Monet was trying out new approaches towards art and painting together with Frédéric Bazille, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. This painting culminated in Monet's painting The Woman in the Green Dress which brought him fame and recognition.
Monet's love for nature made him practice on how to portray the environment like the sea, and show us the activities being carried out. Sail Boats were permanent features of the sea at the time hence he had to portray them. The vibrant colours of the sea in open skies were excellent. Monet needed to be careful and soft with the brush strokes.
Without the fine work of the Renaissance and Baroque artists, it is probable that the world would never have gotten to enjoy the impressionists that followed. As such, the importance of the likes of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and School of Athens by Raphael cannot be overplayed.
Related works include; Boatyard near Honfleur 1864, Hauling a Boat Ashore, Honfleur 1864, Boats in the Port of Honfleur 1866, Sailing Boats at Honfleur 1866, Fishing Boats on the Shore 1867, Fishing Boats at Honfleur 1868, Fishing Boats at Sea 1868, and Sainte-Adresse, Fishing Boats at Sea 1868. Other related artworks completed after the 1870s include; Boats at Zaandam 1871, Boats at Rouen 1872, and Boaters at Argenteuil 1874.