I’ve got a crush on every boat

It's a start.

It’s a start.
Yesterday I planned to stop in to the North End Shipyard to take a good look at the Jacob Pike, which I think I want to paint. From there I would go home and do an exercise painting the branches behind my studio.
It would be improper to poke about without saying hello to Shary Cobb Fellows (and her chocolate lab, Coco) in the office. Captain Linda Lee of the schooner Heritage was there. We chatted about the Jacob Pike’s history as a sardine carrier. It may have been a vacation day for many people, but for Captain Linda, it was another day in a new season of fitting out.
The "Jacob Pike" in drydock.

The “Jacob Pike” in drydock.
Sometimes what you need to do is just look, so that’s what I did. I looked at that old sardine boat from the front, the back, the propellers, and the top. While I was doing so, I ran into Sarah Collins from the schooner American Eagle. She was crossing the yard in search of wood filler. I talked with her as she sanded that young slip of a rowboat, Roscoe.
In November, Shary took a great photo of the sun rising over Owls Head. In the foreground, the little tug Cadet nestles against American Eagle; behind them is the Rockland light. Yesterday, I noticed that Cadet was back in the same place. That in turn reminded me that I had intended to paint that tugboat last summer; the idea had just gotten away from me.
Sarah Collins making everything ship-shape for next summer's cruises.

Sarah Collins making everything ship-shape for next summer’s cruises.
Cadet was rebuilt over ten years by the American Eagle’s captain, John Foss. She was built in Kennebunkport, Maine, by Bernard Warner in 1935 or 1936 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Captain John Foss wrote in 2011. “At some point she was sold to Ellis S. Snodgrass, who built the Cousins Island bridge in Casco Bay. The Cadet went on to be owned by Cianbro from 1969-1984 after which she was bought by William Clark as the Cadet Corporation in the Portland area. She was used last by John C. Gibson from 1984-1989.”
"Cadet" nestling up to the "American Eagle."“Cadet” nestling up to the “American Eagle.”

Instead of my painting kit, I was traveling with my ancient dog. There would be no field painting with his help. But forget the study of the winter woods. I could paint the Cadet. I went back to my studio and started a small sketch. (Boats are complex; it will take me more than a day to finish it.)
As I drew, Pandora queued up Donovan’s Atlantis. That song combines the coolest groove with the stupidest lyrics. Yet, somehow, his mumbling about his “antediluvian baby” seemed perfectly appropriate to the Old Girl on my canvas. I laughed, and my groove was back.

A @#$% of a hangover

Still life by Carol L. Douglas.

Still life by Carol L. Douglas.
I was busy hanging a show of my own new works. It was a mixed bag—some expressive pastels, but an over-reliance on black and a few things that weren’t framed, which is my bête noire. Then the alarm clock rang and flung me back into reality. No new show, no new works, only the staleness of returning to work after a long hiatus.
Picking up ones’ brushes after a long lay-off is daunting. I’ll start by ‘playing scales’ with a small study. That’s what the still lives here were done for, but I’m more likely to paint the snow-covered branches outside my window today. From there, I’ll move to something more significant. I may be borrowing trouble by anticipating rustiness, but that’s the usual outcome of too long away.
Still life by Carol L. Douglas.

Still life by Carol L. Douglas.
That’s if I can navigate the mess my studio became over Christmas. It’s an inviting, open space in an otherwise small house. People have a way of stashing unfinished projects in there.
Last week was the first week of Christmastide. My house rang with joy, particularly after my grandson discovered the sounds a good piano can make.
The prior week, however, was my semiannual week of medical tourism in Rochester. This leads to my only New Year’s resolution, which is that we must find doctors in mid-coast Maine. On-the-road colonoscopy prep may make for a good story, but it eats up time and energy.
Today is also the official opening day of income tax season. Having just resolved my last tax question right before Christmas, I’m not in any hurry to play again. If I add to that the 903 emails that came in while my laptop was stashed under my bed last week, I might almost feel gloomy.
Still life by Carol L. Douglas.
Still life by Carol L. Douglas.

Luckily, the sky is blooming into another beautiful day. There is an interesting boat in dry-dock at the North End Shipyard, which Captain John Foss tells me is the Jacob Pike, built in Thomaston in 1949 as a sardine carrier, now in service as a lobster smack. Since I have to go out later this morning, I’ll stop and look at her more carefully.
I went downstairs and turned on the Christmas tree lights and immediately felt better. In modern America, we’ve moved the season of Christmas forward to start on Thanksgiving and end on Christmas Day. Among us old-timers, the lights remain on, stubbornly, until Epiphany.