Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Flying Moleskins - Cat Nap for Angela's journal


Mabel on Deck
S.V. Tamara
Grenada to Norfolk Voyage
acrylic in Moleskine journal


My entry for Angela Elledge's journal for the Flying Moleskin's journal swapAngela's theme is places. I don't know if it's spring fever or feeling a bit stuck in place or both, but I've had a bad case of wanderlust lately. I started thinking about the places I've felt most content, and realize most of those places involve the sea or companion animals or both.

In the late 90s, lifetimes ago it seems, I helped a friend's mother bring her Alberg 37 from Grenada to Norfolk. We made the trip in one shot, no stops, across the Caribbean and then up the Atlantic. 20 days at sea. It was just the two of us, and sweet Mabel the cat.  During calmer weather Mabel would wedge herself between the air vent and companionway hatch, and doze in the shade. During bad weather, she'd snug in the cabin, and during my 3 hour sleep shifts, she'd bunk with me for company.  Tropical Depression Danny hit us just before it was upgraded to hurricane status.  Gusts to 60 and sustained winds of 45 were a challenge at the helm. The week before we landed the forestay snapped (which holds the mast upright), and we had a thrilling rollercoaster ride down some huge seas while we wrestled the head sail out of the surf and hooked up an emergency forestay.  We also hit the doldrums-- endless days on glassy seas.  The water tanks fouled, we ran out of propane, and blew an oil gasket that needed repairing.  It was one of the best times of my life. Every day was new, and the colors of the sea and sky changed hourly. On calm nights, I'd lie on deck.  Millions of stars above reflected in the water, and it felt like floating through the universe.  When the wind was fair, and we'd make good headway, dolphins would show up and play around the bow wake. Bliss.

I don't know what happened to Mabel after the return trip, but I like to imagine she's living out another of her 9 lives, belly full of fish, dreaming of far-away lands.


a few snaps....







moi.. exhausted and thinner as we 
near Norfolk.







53 comments:

Cathyann said...

MY gosh, Liz...what a whale of a story...:-))
No, really, you are my hero...how brave to do that....I am so impressed. I would have been hiding down below. The painting is wonderful, as are those photos of sea, sky,you and the dophin.

Vern Schwarz said...

Liz, I'm not sure which I love more, the painting or the story...let's call it a tie. That is an amazing tale that a prairie boy like me can only marvel at. You got grit lady.

Manon Doyle said...

Liz...... the painting is fantastic. Your pics and story are fabulous. I have to admit that I got a little seasick reading though. I wish I could spend that kind of time on the water but my stomach would rebel...lol!

Mona said...

Wow Liz, you are so brave!! I love the blue undertones in your painting and the feeling of the sunlight.

Many years ago I had one rare night sleeping on the deck of a friend's boat, where I too felt so transported star-watching and floating as I fell asleep. It must have been such a wonderful adventure for you!

Ellen Byrne said...

You make me feel like I was along on the trip! LOVE the painting, love, love, love it!

Mariano Zucchi said...

Hi Liz,
You exactly right. The sea is superior to land, and life in it has anoter dimension

Ann Rogers said...

Let me see...which am I most impressed with: your painting for Angela, your incredible adventure at sea for 20 days, your knack for writing and storytelling, or how good you look in a bikini! All are pretty much in the WOW category! Liz, you never cease to amaze me!!!

dacoop said...

What an adventurous spirit you have Liz, I love that story and the painting...spectacular!

Edward Burton said...

Wow, what an adventure you had, Liz. It does sound quite memorable and you've created such a wonderful piece to go along with it.

Joan Sicignano Artist said...

Liz, first of all it's a wonderful contribution to the Flying Moleskine. Thank you for sharing your adventure. All the best to you.

Barb Hillier said...

Wow, wonderful painting and what a story to go with it. I too have some great memories of adventures on the seas and I agree it's a great place to be especially in good weather.

dominique eichi said...

Wow with your artistic talent lies added ones of creative writing, passion for the sea and adventures spirit. Fabulous exploits, hoorah for you. The work you did in the moleskins is so refreshing and beautiful. I can understand you deciding on this subject with the tail end of winter in your neck of the woods.

Carolina said...

Hi Liz,
I like the painting, it's so peaceful and the cat is lovely. The scene is great (it takes you away ...)
And your story is amazing! That's what I'd call "adventure"! (the photos are awsome)
Warm regards,
Carolina

Arti said...

Wonderful painting and lovely photos, not to mention the interesting tale of the sea!You seem to have seen it all....

Celeste Bergin said...

Here is a post that literally "has it all"--a beautiful painting, a lovely memory (that we all now share)--a dolphin, a sun tan--a happy ending. It all reminded me of my sailing days when I lived in Florida. It all made me smile.

artbyakiko said...

What an amazing adventure you had! I LOVE the painting and the cat!!

-Don said...

I think I said "wow!" at least a dozen times as I saw your wonderful tribute to summer (and Mabel), read your wonderful story and viewed your lovely photos. Wow.

-Don

adebanji said...

Never knew you had a very humourous side! Love your whole experience and I like the composition and colours of the painting!

Can't believe that's you at in the last picture!

LynnK said...

Liz, this is a wonderful painting - I wish I were an artist so I could send you my journal to you for fabulous paintings - amazing!

FCP said...

Liz!
As soon as I saw Mabel, I knew there had to be a story behind the lovely painting--but I never expected it to be one full of such adventure and courage! I savored every word and was so taken by your recounting of the events that I'm quite certain I forgot to breathe until the very end! Your words paint a lovely picture of surrendering to each moment as it occurs--and what a loving tribute to nature, the sea and stars. Thanks so much for sharing! I assure you I will be "buoyed" and inspired by your adventurous spirit for days to come!
Faye

Michelle said...

What a beautiful journey, Liz. Thanks for sharing! And what an incredible painting for Angela! Mabel looks so content.

Sheila said...

Wow, you're the Amelia Earhart of the seas only you have a happier ending to your harrowing trip! Lovely painting, great photos and me in awe and so respectful of your bravery and guts to get you through this trip. hugs!

Pearle said...

Thank you so much for your compliments and well wishes for Groovy. I truly appreciate both. I dig this blogging thing. I am so new to it but think I may be getting the hang. I look forward to following your blog and seeing where you take your readers on the ride that is your art and life. Thank you~ xoxox Pearle

Angela Elledge said...

Just stepped in to enjoy my journal again. I wanted to mention earlier how much I love Mabel completely in shadow contrasted with that bright white light just behind her; outstanding!!

Karen Bruson said...

Thrilling rollercoaster ride? I would have a heart attack. I only sail on what you call the doldrum days. Glad it was a great experience for you, though.

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Wow Liz, your story is amazing. One day I would love to make that or a similar trip.

I love the sketchbook entry of the kitty! and I think all cats have 9 lives at a minimum!

Don Coker said...

A beautiful painting... a beautiful spirit!

Stephen Parker said...

Wow, Liz, what an amazing sailor you must be. Your life does not sound like one of sitting around, to say the least. And, by the way, you did a great job with Mabel for Angela's theme. You obviously have some incredibly powerful experiences to draw from in your art. It must be instant inspiration, whenever you want it.

rahina q.h. said...

Liz, you are quite a writer! i was totally absorbed: there was all necessary information to feed the imagination. and wonderful pictures of the journey and a delightful sketch too!

Alice Thompson said...

After reading this post I had to dive into your blog archives to find all that I had missed. Now I know why I like that face. Wonderful painting and inspiring story. Lets go sailing sometime!

Greg Little said...

Hey Liz, Great painting! It is enriched by the tale of your adventure. Thanks for your comment.

Kaylyn said...

Oh my. Living as I do smack in the geographic center of the US, this sea tale is quite awe inspiring. Wish I had more experience around the ocean and the courage to sail for twenty days!

Great story.

Liana Yarckin said...

both the color palette and the composition is wonderful! i love how you treated the reflected light and the shadows. what an adventure!

Gary Keimig said...

The painting is just that much better with the story. They are both great. With that sense of adventure you would do great on a pack trip out here.

Jala Pfaff said...

That's quite a tan you have there!
Thanks for the lovely reminiscence, even with photos--what more could we ask for?
Love the idea of a cat on a boat. Somehow it had never occurred to me that people might have a cat onboard (I've only really been on a boat once or twice). Okay, one question: where/how did this cat go to the bathroom?

labrown said...

Fun story Liz. Glad you made it. I'm painting a boat this weekend. What a great time to stop by! /Lee

Maggie Mayer said...

my Gosh Liz what a cool story! I love the painting and the photos...makes me crave the ocean. Wow what a once in a lifetime experience.

James Parker said...

Great story. Great art. Just great Liz...you are one brave and talented lady. And the pics are splendid. But when you ended the story with whatever happened to Mabel and the next thing you see is the shark swimming around.... well, it kinda threw me. :-)

sharon said...

You're as great a story teller as you are an artist! I really enjoyed reading this and seeing your photos and art. Thanks for sharing!

Ann Buckner said...

I felt as though I were there with you on the trip thanks to your wonderful story telling abilities. Love the painting and envy the cat lying in the sun.

Deborah Ross said...

What a great experience, Liz! Mabel looks like she is really enjoying her nap. It must have been comforting to have her around on that isolated voyage.
I think of you often and hope all is well. When are you going to come down to see me?

Dean Grey said...

Liz!

The journal swap is such an awesome idea!

Your latest entry is great! The sky blue background just glows.

Love the old vacation photos too!

-Dean

Jill Berry said...

What an experience...
described so perfectly~
thanks for the art
& the artful story!
I'm seein stars***

sam said...

Great story Liz, how very brave. The painting is so peaceful, a lovely pose.

Gwen Bell said...

What an adventure! Terrific story and painting. And awesome photos. After reading the story I appreciate the painting of Mabel even more. What a gutsy cat! And look at you Ms tall-n-tan-n-young-n-lovely...

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DEB said...

Liz, you should write a book about your adventure! Two ladies and a feline adrift....This is the stuff Hollywood movies are made of! Lovely painting!

Tracey Clarke said...

What a great painting!!
I knew you were something special...;)
I think it takes a certain bravery to do this sort of adventure. (Unfortunately, "JAWS" ruined any interest I once had in the ocean...)
I really enjoyed your story and hope you write more about this very cool time in your life. Fantastic.
More photos please!

Cindi said...

liz been thinking of you and wanted to check and see how you are doing... what a great painting.. and a wonderful story to boot!!! take care...

Scott D. Tillett said...

Hi Liz....love the painting and the story. Funny you mentioned Norfolk. That's right down the street from me. Glad you made it safely.

L.Holm said...

Thank you so much everyone! Doing a group thanks this time... I appreciate your comments so much.

(Jala - we strapped the cat box in the cabin, and changed it frequently. )

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Adding my 2 cents to the FIFTY comments!!! You rock, Liz - I cannot even imaging having the courage to do this! And you are so sweet to tell us about Mabel - and what a cat! (She must have been thinking.. "These women are crazy!") What a great memory. Thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

Liz, how cool! You are so talented, and I think sailing across the sea would be so cool (for a day or two anyway! lol) I loved your painting as well! I can't wait to read your other blogs!