04/17/2016, New River, Jacksonville, NC
As we gear up for the 2016 season, my attentions turned to Sparrow's dink that was passed down from my parent's S/V ARIES.
I have decided to repurpose her to be a petite bateau atelier....a mini painting boat. Last year when we entered our first Plein Air Painting competition I ended up using my kayak, "Magic", a Native Watercraft vessel. But the kayak proved to have space limitations, and I could not set up an easel. Hence the move back to the Little Star. She had been stored beside the cottage for a while waiting for restoration energy to come her way. Seeing how I needed a break from the cockpit project going on Sparrow, and the plein air competitions always give me motivation, I pulled out Little Star and began the sanding and scraping and painting process...and viola....she has such beautiful lines for a sweet little dink.
I tested her out locally to see how she would fair with the extra painting gear aboard. She worked out fantastic! I have room to set up a complete French Easel and Pochade Box and alternate between them. It was so nice to have space to set the water, brushes and paints right there on the wooden thwart seat. I do plan to put down some type of rubber mat for stability. I do know that my pup had a hard time without slipping on the fiberglass.
So on the first day of the plein air competition, after a good many hours of painting, my hands and feet were getting a bit cold. The wind was picking up and I had turned to reach for my pochade box in the bow. As I leaned forward, the Little Star lurched to starboard and SPLASH, overboard went my French Easel, the Pochade Box and my paintings!! I am a firm believer in WOOD...as if I wasn't before. In my state of panic, bringing up the anchor and pulling out the oars as fast as I could, I had forgotten that because they are made of wood and the paintings stretched in wood, they were all floating down river waiting for me to come along side and pick them up. You can never forget your man-over-board maneuvers...they may turn into Art-Over-Board or Easel-Over-Board! Who knows what will happen next onboard the studio boat fleet~
|small boat adventures||
Scheduling plein air competitions, winter project check-offs and preparations for the new sailing season!
We continue to work on restoring the woodwork in Sparrow's cockpit and redesign of her bimini/boom tent configuration. We've been utilizing a Taylor-made bimini umbrella for two years now, but it does not suffice for rain and I believe aided the dry-rot situation. I'm thinking a nice dodger and bimini combo would be a better solution.
Looking forward to hitting more plein air events and to begin Sparrow's tour of duty chartering out Paint Out Adventures for the artistically inclined. Bringing along folks for an afternoon of creative challenge and cruise aspects seems like the perfect combo for a truly restorative experience~ The kind of day that makes for sound & well deserved sleep at the end of the day!
Proud to announce I'll be graduating from my first Diesel Mechanics class in May and am already utilizing some of the tricks I've learned on the Sparrow's iron jenny, "African Queen". Feeling confident to handle any of her issues that arise was my goal!
Tybee and I look forward to many sunrise & sunset events aboard our beloved Sparrow this season~
09/04/2015, MHC, NC
Had some help sent on a wing and a prayer! Sarah and Justin came down to spend the day aboard the SPARROW and helped rip up the cockpit for replacement. Of the many projects we've worked on over the past three years, the woodwork has been low on the priority list, so now, she is finally getting the face-lift she deserves.
We finally replaced the sail-cover so it matches the hull, the boom tent will be next.
While working on replacing the marine-ply bench seats in the cockpit and fiberglassing them, I'm also working on replacing the boom crutch. After much consideration between a crutch or a gallows, I've decided to go back to my roots. When I was a youngster and sailed on my father's John Alden, Malabar Jr. 32' sloop, she had a traditional crutch that looked like giant scissors that held the massive wooden, roller-reefing boom. Because the SPARROW, also has a very long boom, I figured it would work great for stability and ease of stowing while sailing. Gallows would be nice, but I'm afraid of the big smack on a wild jibe...nope, nope, nope. Especially while the boom hangs low until we can re-position the mast at a more vertical angle. So many issues with this boat that were caused by the previous owners...whew!
Some day I hope to sail her proper, as I know she deserves! For now, we take short trips and continue to work on her "issues". And yet, she is always inviting and carries herself humbly through the harbor getting warm smiles~
06/21/2015, Crystal Coast - NC
Looking forward to the kick off of my 'Summer Break' to spend some quality time with the Sparrow~
Sparrow got a beautiful face-lift by dressing her in a new green tweed sail cover. She had been needing an upgrade for a while. An advantage of having art teacher friends...they have 'skills' beyond the classroom. While she was sewing the sail cover canvas, I've been sewing and repairing the cockpit cover and cushions. It has been so extremely HOT here on the Carolina coast, that the air conditioning is a welcome friend. But we've been spending way too much time indoors due to teaching & taking online summer courses. So it is a welcome break to get outside and out on the water~
Sparrow has been patiently awaiting our return, keeping her bilges dry and her engine start turn-over to a couple seconds. YEAH!
Tybee, my new sea-dog has been gaining more & more confidence in his 'sea-legs'. Yesterday he actually walked up to the bow, underway-making way and took his rightful place as the Sparrow's new figure head/hood ornament! He still doesn't like the water and getting on/off the boat is still a fear-factor exercise....so I'm slowly approaching the day we attempt the off the deck, into the dinghy maneuver. Oh boy, he has grown from a 25 lb weakling into a 50+lb chunk of muscle and his claws can be rough. What is truly unique about this cabin-boy is that he seems to love it even though he fears it...so I have confidence that with enough exposure, he will become a first-rate sea-dog!
04/21/2015, New River, Jacksonville, NC
Very FIRST en Plein Air event attempt by the 'Sparrow' and crew. Sadly the 'Sparrow' was held up on her passage down the ICW in Swansboro by an alignment issue in the engine compartment. So the Sparrow's dinghy, the kayak 'Magic' took on the challenge. Paddling between the two bridges across the New River was peaceful but wet, good thing I brought acrylics for painting en plein air. Had been warned about acrylics drying too fast for plein air, but on such a rainy, humid day, it was the perfect choice, as I dipped my paint brush into the dark river water. I was attracted to the 'wild' landscape beyond the two bridges and the cloudy skies contrasted by the dark water. When I painted the last layer consisting of the bridge and street lights, the metaphor became real. The 'wild' nature being muzzled by the urban traffic. It was a wonderful experience meeting all the other painters scattered out across the downtown area of Jacksonville, NC, especially those over at the War Memorials.
Hoping the next plein events will be as fun and my experiences and confidence will grow! Three more events along the Carolina Coast, all in the coming weeks!! : D Thanks goes to the Onslow Arts Council, the Onslow Outdoor Painting Society and the North Carolina Plein Air Painters for sponsoring this first annual event.CLICK HERE FOR ANIMOTO LINK
SPARROW's original mission included Art venues along the coast and it is all coming to fruition! A studio boat is meant to travel up rivers, bays and coastal regions to capture it's beauty en plein air, yes, just like the impressionist, Claude Monet.
We set sail this weekend, heading for the New River ART BLOCK FESTIVAL & PLEIN AIR COMPETITION.
It is an old stomping ground sailing through the Camp Lejeune Marine Base where I once directed the sailing program, but it will be new sailing the SPARROW up river this time.
She still has many projects underway and will continue to be a work in progress, but this opportunity to bring her to her very first PLEIN AIR event was just too inspiring to miss~
Float Plan: 2-3 day voyage down the coast and up the New River
Dock either on base or in downtown marina for the week.
Participate in the PLEIN AIR competition April 16, 17 & 18
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