Plein air painting of a shiprwreck near Cayucos on the San Luis Obispo County coast of central California

I painted this boat a few years ago, grounded hopelessly on the rocks in a small cove on the Central Coast. I had just learned that it had previously belonged to a friend’s family for years. It was even named after her brother, the “Craig G” until it was sold and the new owner renamed it the “Point Estero”.

I know very little of boats and what I do know filters in through little bits here and there until it’s hard to say if I know it at all or just made it up. But one thing about boats I did not make up is this lyric from Bill Callahan’s song Summer Painter:

“I painted names on boats for a Summer, For luck you keep the same first letter…
You don’t want bad luck at sea.”

No, you don’t. This is what bad luck at sea can look like. It could have been worse, nobody was hurt, but still no fun. Bad luck at sea looks a lot like bad luck in the intertidal zone now, and one can only hope it stays there and doesn’t become bad luck on land as well.

So far so good, this is where it’s been since it wrecked back in 2017. Except it’s spun around 180 degrees. It’ll eventually break into pieces here, but not for a real long time. Solid boat. Part of the landscape now.

I wanted to revisit it on this trip. It’s a great reminder that no matter how the world tries to label you, alway remember your true name… or at least it’s first letter, because you don’t want bad luck at sea. And also that no boat stays at sea forever, and for each of us our day will come sooner or later, and often unexpectedly. 

Artwork Information:

Artwork Title: "Grounded"
Original Size: 16" x 12"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2019

Additional Artwork Information:

Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 07/17/2019
Region: The California Coast > Central California > San Luis Obispo
Road Trip: SLO 2019

Artwork Logistics:

Travel Logistics: Had to Sleep in My Van
Miles Hiked: Less than 1 Mile
Geological Hazards: Surging Waves/ Wet Boots
Anthropological Hazards: Surfers Are The Worst
Weather Logistics: Threatening to Rain
Temperature: Uncomfortably Cool

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