Watercolors by
  Bill Hudson     
Monthly Newsletter 

        Jenkins Creeker

 15” x 22” Watercolor by Bill Hudson
                   Not For Sale

   Ref. An Island Out of Time (2019)
        by Tom Horton, Dave Harp
           & Sandy Cannon-Brown

   Last month, I told the story of lessons learned in my youth from watermen on the Chincoteague Bay. And the month before, I tried to remind artists of the value in YouTube videos.

   As a maritime artist, this past month I’ve used YouTube to research “deck boats” for possible paintings. The rear-engine powered “deck boat” and the “Chesapeake Deadrise” were the most common boats used by crabbers and oystermen in Greenbackville, Virginia when I was a kid spending summers at my Grandfather’s store in the 1950s. “Pop’s Store” sat at the dock of the small L-shaped harbor where men unloaded and weighed their daily catch, monitored their soft crab floats, and fueled their boats. Afterward, watermen came into “Pop’s,” grabbed a Yoo-hoo or Nehi soda from Pop’s cooler and began telling stories like they were Mark Twain.

   I found particular value with the YouTube films An Island Out of Time (2019) and Beautiful Swimmers Revisited(2016). Both are by Tom Horton, Dave Harp & Sandy Cannon-Brown. I was so inspired by the films, I once again read the book Beautiful Swimmers, written by William W. Warner in 1976 which was a national best seller and won the Pullitzer Prize.
   The films and book reminded me of a boat I had only encountered a couple times before. Yet the graceful lines, wide beam, and low-draft left a permanent impression. It’s simple, unique beauty has a rare, singular purpose…to catch soft crabs. The boat is called a “Jenkins Creeker,” “Crab Scraper,” or a “Bar Cat.” A typical boat measures 28 feet in length with a 10-foot beam and 18 inches of draft depending on the load. The boat, as shown in the photograph by Jay Fleming, is operated by only one waterman…one very strong waterman.

   To allow growth, the blue crab moults, or sheds its shell, approximately 20 times in the course of a lifetime. The state of being “soft” lasts only a couple of days but leaves the crab vulnerable to prey. Therefore, the “peeler” typically seeks the refuge of shallow-water eelgrass which becomes the work grounds for the Jenkins Creeker. Without the use of bait, the lone waterman pulls crab scrapes through the eelgrass targeting peeler and soft crabs. 

   A crab srape is roughly a 3-foot x 1-foot metal frame attached to a 6-foot trailing net. The scrape weighs 40 pounds dry. However, after a drag along the eelgrass bottom, loaded with grass, mud, crabs, and shells…the scrape can weigh up to 100 pounds. The waterman brings them in by hand explaining the intentionally low freeboard and unusually large arms of scrapers
Again, I thank each of you for your continued interest in this Newsletter. I particularly appreciate your responses. If you wish to make any art related announcements or comments that may benefit the readers, feel free to submit them for the next issue.
Past Newsletters
Past Newsletters are listed chronologically by title in the Newsletter section of my website www.BillHudsonArt.com/newsletter/

Events & Galleries
Singulart, an online gallery selling original art from juried artists with free global shipping and returns. I recommend Singulart for any collector or contemporary artist.
Fine Art America, is an online print-on-demand gallery which sells nearly all my images. These are available in a wide range of sizes on many substrates and objects including: coffee cups, shirts, towels, greeting cards, puzzles, phone cases, and tote bags.
Art Instructor, Laguna Methodist Art Association, Mondays in January, 9:30 to 12:30