One of the most fascinating (at least to me) pictures in the “marina” genre of art is “Northeaster” by the American landscape painter and printmaker Winslow Homer. Along with three of his other works, “Incoming Tide - Scarboro Maine” and “The Lifeline” and "West Point, Prout's Neck" he captures the angry Atlantic coastline with both realism and subtlety.
In September 2017, one of that year’s many tropical weather systems skirted the Mid-Atlantic coast as it was transforming into an extra tropical cyclone in the North Atlantic - an early season Nor’easter. So I decided to take a drive down to the beach at Indian River, DE to witness the action. I arrived at around ten in the morning.
The surf was running high with ranks of seething breakers running up the beach under a dark, steely sky. A raw northeast breeze was blowing at about eighteen knots with sharp, frequent gusts of over thirty. Neoprene clad kite surfers were tacking back and forth at breakneck speeds from the shoreline to nearly half a mile out to sea. I settled into the base of a dune and became a spectator.
As I watched the show, Homer’s pictures came to life before me — the colors, the tones, the froth and spray, the endless forms and textures, the dynamism, and the mood. He creates this reality with canvass, paint, and bristle. I wonder if he would have drawn the kite guys. I am left with my iPhone to freeze the same reality. He does it inexpressibly better on his easel. My work is fleeting — Homer’s work is eternal. Nevertheless, here is my little movie.