For me, serious illness was a corrective to the impulse to tiptoe around my calling. It reminded me that time is precious and fleeting.
As I tried to figure out how my carefully-planned day went so haywire, a friend pointed out, “you hate packing and you love boats.” That is the only explanation for giving up what I absolutely had to do in order to join Howard Gallagher and Ken DeWaard on the Dirty Dory.
Camden is full of beautiful boats. It’s easy enough to find opportunities to paint them at rest. It’s much more difficult to see them under sail. I have a few photos from last year’s trip on American Eagle. Two years ago, Howard took the late Lee Boynton and me out to see the start of the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. We shot pictures of modern boats. But opportunities to shoot the massive old schooners under way are limited, and I should grab them when I can.
|Mercantile raising her sails.|
It takes a skilled navigator to get in position while not annoying the schooner crew, and Howard is that. Here’s the video he shot while we were out:
One of the boats we followed out was the ketch Angelique. She is distinctive for her brown-rose tan-barked sails. In 2016, Poppy Balser and I sketched her as she stood off Castine in a harbor that already hosted Bowdoin and J&E Riggin. It was a magical morning but eventually I finished and left. Poppy stayed; Angelique docked; Poppy scored. Timing, as they say, is everything.
|Angelique at the Dock, watercolor, by Poppy Balser.|
The same was true yesterday. I returned to my studio to frame and photograph paintings and clean and pack my car. Ed Buonvecchio called; we chatted about the recent Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival. Kari Ganoung Ruiz, who won Best in Show, is a friend and a fellow member of Greater Rochester Plein Air Painters. She was my monitor for my 2015 Sea and Sky workshop. Kudos to a fine, fine painter.
Ed and I are heading to Nova Scotia this afternoon to paint in the Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival. I was there earlier this year with Bobbi Heath. The landscape is spectacular and I’m expecting great things to happen.
|Angelique leaving Camden harbor.|
This three-day event is full of meet-and-greet events, more than this old recluse is accustomed to. The culmination is a Collector’s Gala on Saturday night. I'm a little anxious at its posh description. Oh, well. One bright side to owning only one dress is that one doesn’t need to dither about what to wear. No, I'm not packed, but in the end, will anyone remember what I wore?
My husband says that after my first bout with cancer, I quit doing things I didn’t want to do. That’s not entirely true; every life is full of mundane and humdrum chores like packing. What has changed is that I try to not let obligation stand in the way of opportunity. Serious illness is a great corrective to the human impulse to tiptoe around our true calling. It reminds us that time is precious and fleeting.