Winslow Homer: Looking For Sea Details
When you paint,
try to put down exactly what you see,
whatever else you have to offer
will come out anyway.
Winslow Homer, American Painter
When off the coast of Maine and the weather is beating in, just as when seeking medical solutions to ADHD challenges, details always matter. Details create safe havens, and a good passage. Without measurement instruments you can remain lost at sea, or right up there on the rocks.
Brief Personal Report
This past weekend my wife and I visited with our daughter in Portland ME, and enjoyed a memorable break: fly fishing for stripers in Casco Bay [we caught and released a bunch - more later ;-)] , spent wonderful evenings visiting with friends at great restaurants in Portland, and enjoyed a memorable visit to the Portland Museum of Art for Weatherbeaten, – to see the Winslow Homer exhibit there now.
Homer Repeats The Message We Love At CorePsych
Details matter – and when dealing with natural forces, with anything from biology to rocks, to weather, the the best way to get from here to there is by paying attention to the details. I love this particular Homer painting: Eight Bells. Some additional particulars on sailing and sextants:
The painting’s title is a reference to nautical time, computed as one bell every thirty minutes. Although “eight bells” can be either 8 o’clock, 12 o’clock, or 4 o’clock, the painting refers to taking the “noon sight” at local apparent noon, a standard during the days of celestial navigation. Most other sights are made at dawn or twilight. More monumental than the three panels that preceded it, the two figures dominate the foreground of Eight Bells, and the details of the ship are minimally rendered. Homer has taken some artistic license, showing the figure at left using a sextant to take a reading of the sun, the other apparently reading the altitude of a completed sight on his sextant. In reality, both observers would have had their sextants to their eyes, rocking them back and forth to determine the highest elevation reached by the sun, thereby establishing local apparent noon.
A later biographer wrote of the painting that the men “performing their required tasks, immediately engage our confidence in their competence to deal effectively with any situation the treachery or violence of the sea may produce.” [From Wikipedia.]
Improved details put you on the map, even though the most informed markers don’t plainly appear to the casual observer.
Dig deeper. Sightings at sea matter.