Close Ups

Text Box: Commercial Street

When I first saw this derelict boat up on chocks I fell in love with it and wanted to draw it. I don’t think I paid much attention to the dirt-floored shop next to it until I actually started the drawing. I have no idea how long it was there but I do know that it didn’t last very long after I drew it in 1989. 

A local painter told me that one of the quirks of the town government is that when a new business applies for a license they must clean up and remove things like this derelict. We drove by a year or so after I did the drawing and the “Gallery Studio” had become a kite shop. The kites displayed all over were festive but the boat was gone. 

That “dead boat” should never have been removed. I think these skeletons should be treated as shrines instead of garbage.

I did two drawings in this series. This scene is in the background of the second drawing. That drawing is featured on this month’s “more” page.

Commercial Street was the maritime heart of Wellfleet before Duck Creek became filled with silt and was too shallow for the sailing vessels that used to tie up there. After the harbor became too shallow to support maritime trading the street became more bucolic.

I usually sit pretty far away from my subject but there was only one possible place to sit for this one and it was at the edge of a driveway across the street. The house seemed to be filled with people who worked at a restaurant in town, “The Lighthouse”. Usually people are very friendly when I’m drawing but I think one of the tenants didn’t welcome me because he seemed to enjoy getting his beat up old station wagon as close as possible to my arm as he blasted out of the driveway onto the street. 

I am amazed that this structure is still standing. It always seems very fragile to me. 

Adam and I used to go into the kite store every time we were in Wellfleet and every time we asked for something that we didn’t see the owner would tell us that the item was on order and would be available “in about two weeks”. After a couple of years I realized that most renters stay for “about two weeks”.

Amy’s holding a tasty bluefish given to us by a fisherman who had caught more than he could use during a feeding frenzy. This fish kept jumping in the trunk while we were driving it home.

Everyone but me enjoyed a horseback ride. Somebody had to take the pictures.

All material copyright 2016 Neil Borrell

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