Occasionally I miscalculate and stumble into the cordon of standstill traffic on I-495. That happened yesterday. I spent a lot of time contemplating truck traffic that would have been better employed in the North End Shipyard sketching the Grace Bailey. As much as I’ve enjoyed visiting Buffalo, I was concerned that I would miss her.
Built in 1882 and restored in 1990, the Grace Bailey sailed to the West Indies in the fruit trade and carried granite to build New York’s Grand Central Station. She’s another one I’ve painted in Camden harbor and I would have hated to miss her spring makeover.
Last night, I stopped by momentarily to make sure she wasn’t going to be refloated today. (I’m teaching this morning.) Whew—she is still in the scraping phase.
My husband is among those who wonder why I’m trying to paint each of the schooners in drydock this spring. “Nobody wants a painting of a boat out of water,” he said, as we looked at the Grace Bailey against the dark sky.
“Au contraire,” I answered. “Consider George Bellows’ shipbuilders paintings. They’re among his most famous works.”
“Who’s George Bellows?” my college-age daughter asked. (I guess we have some remedial art history work to do this summer.)
Artists study human anatomy because knowing what’s under the skin makes it possible to draw the body convincingly. I believe that’s also true of boats, which often stand in symbolically for the human form. These schooners are far more individual in their body types than one would guess from seeing them only above the waterline.
An opportunity: last week I was asked about Saturday classes. I’ve always taught on Saturdays, but have been playing hooky since I moved. But it’s time to get to work, so I will be offering Saturday classes starting in June. Please contact me for more information by email or by calling or texting me at 585-201-1558.