Empty Slip

 

Empty slip at Marina del Rey.

The Empty Slip

Walking the docks in any marina I always feel a sense of potential. Most of the slips you see are occupied. When you see an empty slip it means the owner is out having a good time. The boats moored and docked are like horses in a stall, wanting to be out and free. They are an invitation to go to sea. Taste the salt air, experience the weather, feel the swell, be transported to life on a more elemental plane. It’s always an adventure. Some days you think you’re living in a dream. You come back sunburnt and salty and know you’ve braved the elements. Boating gives you a sense of accomplishment too, the knowledge of maritime skills, navigation, keeping the boat in tip top shape, all require effort on your part. And then there’s the companionship of being with and doing something together with like-minded ocean lovers. I’ve had friends I’ve sailed, motored and fished with and it is always a special experience. So normally when I walk around the docks and see an empty slip I wish I were out there too; working the sail, coming about, sailing, motoring, fishing. 

Boating also gives you a sense of accomplishment–the knowledge of maritime skills, navigation, keeping the boat in tip-top shape–all require effort on your part. And then there’s the companionship of being with and doing something together with like-minded ocean lovers. I’ve had friends I’ve sailed, motored and fished with and it is always a special experience. So normally when I walk around the docks and see an empty slip I wish I were out there too; working the sail, coming about, sailing, motoring, fishing. 

This painting is about all of that, but it also has a deeper meaning. I decided to do the painting on a day when my wife, her sisters, and brother and I had all gone out to sea on their father’s Chris Craft “the Reliant.” It was a beautiful clear morning with perfect weather and not much swell. We were out for only a couple of hours to bury their parents’ ashes at sea. The sea accepted their ashes in a dazzlingly beautiful display of swirling meaning. Later there was a moving memorial ceremony, but on that morning it was only us. I got off the boat and was walking the docks when I saw this slip. Empty. And it struck me that an empty slip has a beautiful other meaning. For me, an empty slip also represents a memory of a man I shared time with on boats out at sea.

This entry was posted in Coastal Paintings.

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