It took me a while to think about it because it had been a long time since I had carved the scenes for the box lids, but there was a storyline involved. The little sloop is close to a disastrous jibe, and in the tempest, it is sailing in it will probably lead to a knockdown – the sort of scenario that haunts every sailor’s dreams. But careful seamanship might still save the boat from disaster.
So all contained in one carving is a small dynamic story. You are entering the story in the middle. But from the waves and sky, you can conjecture the beginning. You can see that depending on the abilities of captain and crew, the outcome will be a disaster or a victory. To some extent, that outcome is yours to imagine.
A comment made to me about this carving a few weeks ago got me thinking about how and why I carved it. My style changed based on what clients wanted in their boat and ship portraits – more pacific treatments of boats effortlessly sailing on calmer seas. But I think I’ll print a copy of this picture to hang in the shop to remind myself that other approaches and techniques work and that they tell stories.