It's surprising how much art happens on a sailboat. Despite the size constraints, I am able to turn my relatively small living space into a workshop where I can work on four or five pieces at once. This is important because when I'm doing acrylic washes, they need a good hour or more to dry, especially if they are very watered down.
This works if I'm staying elsewhere for the night. When it comes time to actually sleep on the boat, four or five paintings all drying can put off some fumes. I've made the mistake of sleeping in a sealed up boat full of wet paint and if you don't like headaches it is not recommended.
I have always been a little conflicted with the painting of sealife. The marinas at nighttime those come naturally because I spent so much time at the marina in Lake Erie. The other kind of paintings that seem to come naturally are the paintings that I do of trees and wildlife
But squid and fish and octopus, people don't really want those kinds of paintings in Pennsylvania. I'd always sketched these kinds of things but it wasn't until I came to Alabama that I ever thought to paint one and try to sell it.
You know people say that art isn't about money, but people also forget that commerce is a kind of communication. Yes, it's true that I can't afford to not sell my work. Paintings need to move to make room for more paintings. I need money for supplies and bills to pay. I don't have the luxury of practicing in private and keeping my work to myself until it is to where I want for it to be.
If I did, I might keep these smaller pieces like the one on the left to myself, because they are after all, more like sketches, in the same way that musicians don't put a show on and charge admission to every practice session, I don't really want to put every little sketch-piece I do on sale.
However, I am glad that I'm sort of forced to work the way I do. I'm glad I have to show people every little thing I paint and give them the opportunity to buy it. It challenges me to be relevant. It keeps me humble. It's very humbling to have your best and worst pieces alike put on display for all to see, and humbling to have to put a price on them, especially when you have to lower the price because something isn't selling.