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Posts Tagged ‘Sailing on Lake Superior’

***Treacherous 4

A psychologist would have a ball with the fact that I love to paint sailboats in trouble.  My most terrifying life experience happened on a small cub sailboat, tossing about in Lake Superior.  Joe and I were camping with our two teenage sons and our large dog, near the Apostle Islands on the Northern Wisconsin edge of Lake Superior.  Joe (the ready-for-anything sailor) suggested we sail out to one of the remote Apostles where it was rumored there were lots of animals.

Joe could always persuade me by presenting the idea of animals.  Maybe I expected to be cheerfully greeted (upon landing on the island) by a delegation of wolves, black bears, and a moose.  So off we sailed, from a calm bay into the big, open, and hyper-active water which is said to never give up its dead.  Suddenly we were tempest tossed—and I thought of the hapless folks on the Statue of Liberty inscription.

The guys (human guys that is) seemed to think this was great fun—although Joe admitted later that he was scared.  But my canine guy and I cowered on the bottom of the boat.  I prayed.  Obviously Duffy (dog) didn’t join me in prayer, but since he had been my shadow since puppyhood, he joined me in cowering.  Although I do love water, I prefer a canoe on a quiet stream, or a row boat with hardly any horse power—or even better with just oars.  To me, water should be a means to tranquil contemplation, rather than hectic and frantic “coming about” while being dashed every which way on a choppy sea.  Perhaps I’ve been brain-washed by Henry David Thoreau and WALDEN.

I’d gone sailing with my adventurous family for years, and gotten bopped on the head by the mast more times than I could count.  But never had I experienced abject terror like I did that day while flailing hither and thither on the largest in square miles and second deepest (1332 feet) inland freshwater lake in the world—in a very small inland boat.  I hung on to Duffy as if my life depended on him; at least I had warm, fuzzy although wet, company.  We never made it to the remote island.  Our smart captain returned to the bay and dry land.*

Now I paint storm-tossed sailboats with impunity, in my warm and dry home studio.  I love the motion of the paints, and the gracefully precarious angles of the sails—plus all the color my imagination can fling into the process.  When painting, I’m totally fulfilled—enjoying all the adventure I’ll ever need!

The above rendering, titled “Treacherous”, is on YUPO paper—that glasslike, slippery surface which is a kind of plastic rather than paper.  The temptation with YUPO is to never quit.  One can always make changes, wipe areas back to the original white, add and subtract forever.  A dab of this, a swipe of that; I can pass an entire afternoon playing with one piece of YUPO.  But finally, with this treacherous undertaking, I had to say STOP!  That’s enough.  I didn’t want to get seasick!

Margaret L. Been, ©2015

*After Lake Superior, messing about on a sailboat in our Southeastern Wisconsin lakes was quite relaxing.  Who minds getting wet or even turtling in nice warmish water?!

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