"A THIRST FOR THE SEA"
oil on canvas, 24"x 22"
(click image for detail)
This is the painting that I have recently completed that will be the featured painting for the 2014 Beaufort Wine and Food Festival. I'm not really a "festival" artist but anyone who's familiar with Beaufort (NC) knows that it's no ordinary old seaport town, so I jumped at the chance to do this painting and be a part of this event. There is a palpable spirit to the place that resonates with those who are captured by its allure. From all the historic records that I have read, this little port town has always had this effect on people. In the very early 1700s when houses began springing up along the harbor, recorded accounts depict a place that was creating a buzz amongst the colonists and what are called today, "developers". They recognized the extremely ideal location of this place later named Beaufort, lacking only a good water route to the inland colonial precincts (which was later remedied by the dredging of a canal, an early Intracoastal Waterway). The hazardous sandbars and shoals were also a major concern, but with good charts like the one from 1733 (published in 1738) by cartographer and sea captain James Wimble and is depicted in this painting, navigation became a bit easier. Wimble has denoted on this map with an "X" (seen under the base of the wine glass) the spot on the Beaufort Bar where the pirate Blackbeard's flagship "The Queen Anne's Revenge" famously grounded in 1718 and was abandoned (this is the wreck currently being recovered by NC underwater archeologist).
Perhaps much of that palpable spirit of Beaufort that I mentioned comes from the colorful characters who called at the "Port of Beaufort" including our old friend Capt. Thatch aka Blackbeard whom I acknowledge in somewhat veiled references in this painting. This painting represents not what I see in Beaufort, but rather what I feel in Beaufort. The spirit of that amazing time when ships anchored in the harbor, pirates careened their sloops on hidden shores in tucked away bays, and civilized sea captains from many parts of the world gathered for a drink in the town taverns, disrupted only by the arrival of black flagged sloop or two.