Watercolors by
  Bill Hudson     
Monthly Newsletter 
Unloading the Day's Catch
Watercolor & Gouache, 15" x 22"
With Custom Frame ... $1,950
by Bill Hudson

The harbor in Newport, Oregon is one of my favorite destinations for reference photographs and for talking with captains and deckhands of small commercial fishing boats. Here, workers are unloading a shipload of hagfish, also known as slime eels. They will be shipped to Korea where they have been overfished and are prized as a food delicacy. Their skins are also used for wallets and leather accessories. 

When Expectations Exceed Preparation
...by Bill Hudson

Last month, I suggested YouTube as a reference for art compositions. This past month, as a maritime artist, I’ve viewed several YouTube documentaries on Smith and Tangier Islands located in the near-center of Chesapeake Bay. Sadly, both are nearing extinction with rising seas and the settling soil. Seems that climate change, overfishing, pesticides, herbicides, and man’s inability to foresee/acknowledge long-term cause and effect relationships have greatly changed the lives of Chesapeake watermen.

   As a boy in the 1950s, I stayed summers with my grandparents in Greenbackville, Virginia…a small fishing hamlet with maybe 200 residents sitting on the marsh of Chincoteague Bay. Since then, water levels have risen over 2 feet erasing familiar homes and covering many memories.

   But the lessons learned in that little crabbing and oystering town remain vivid. (Ref Newsletter, August 2014, “Greenbackville…small town, big influence.”)

   Back then, Greenbackville had about 20 kids (boys and girls) near my age. The boys worked on their dad’s crabbing boats during the summers which required a daily commitment, six days a week, to get up at 4 a.m. and hand-pull a string of about 200 pots from depths of 5 to 20 feet. Each pot was pulled, emptied, re-baited, sometimes moved, and re-dropped. The boys culled the crabs into males, big Jimmies, sooks, she-crabs, sponge crabs, doublers, and peelers, while they worked through the hazards of unwanted catch including sea nettles and oyster toadfish. After being sorted, the crabs were either put in large wooden barrels or bushel baskets depending on the catch and demand for each variety. Upon arriving at the dock of my Grandfather’s small store, boats were unloaded. Crabs were weighed, lifted into a truck, and driven to market. Unloading the crabs required two watermen (or one man and his hard-working son) to lift roughly ten 150-lb wooden barrels about three feet from the floor of the boat to the edge of the dock where other men rolled them to the scales.
   When these boys weren’t working, they were fun-loving kids just like us from Baltimore. On weekends I’d join them in a baseball game where my city talent had gained their respect, but in most other areas I realized major differences.

   They had set up a makeshift wood-plank diving board near the bend in the canal. They were fearless in their gymnastic approach to the water, unafraid to try any dive. I’d watch in amazement, then try some simple swan dive hoping I didn’t belly flop and embarrass myself.

   Whereas we Baltimore boys used BB guns to shoot birds in the woods, these guys had 12-gauge shotguns capable of bringing down ducks with No. 5 shot, geese with No. 1 shot, or deer with a rifled slug.

   Call it stupidity, but one day I got into a fight with one of these boys who appeared to be the same size and age as myself. He was new in town, living with his family only three houses down the street from Grandpop. We were talking, just getting to know each other in his backyard after he came home from crabbing with his dad that morning.

   The fight began with an innocent conversation about what us city boys do all day during our summer vacations.
   I told him, “We play ball and then do chin-ups and skin-the-cat on the monkey bars to stay in shape.”
   He said, “We just pull pots and lift barrels of crabs all day.”
   That short discussion led us to challenge each other to an arm-wrestling contest. One thing I knew for sure—I was good at arm wrestling! But the second we took our positions at a table and locked hands, I realized I had tangled with someone far superior. Just his grip was crushing my fingers. The instant he said, “Go,” darn if he didn’t slam my arm down like he was pushing wind.

   I said, “Hey, I wasn’t ready.”
   “Well, let’s do ‘er agin. This time you say go.”
I was ready the second time. He waited. I said “Go.” And while I pushed with everything I had, his arm hadn’t budged. We were momentarily locked up in a tie. That’s when we made eye contact. He smiled slightly and…BAM! My arm once again hit the table with no resistance to his.

   Wanting to save face I asked him if he’d care to stand up and Indian wrestle because that required both strength and balance. And another thing I knew for sure—I was unbeatable at Indian wrestling. Well, luck must have been on his side, because the minute I said, “Go,” I was flying backward.

   Now, we know how being repeatedly annihilated can lead to verbal miscalculations—such as impulsively and erroneously calling the opposition a lucky cheat. Unfortunately, when those words slipped out of my mouth, my Greenbackville opponent, who had no city sense of humor, became offended, angered, and determined to kick my ass. We were in an all-out fight where I was once again being destroyed when a near-miracle occurred. My younger brother Ernie, who had never been in a fight in his entire life, was witnessing my certain obliteration. He realized an urgent call to duty, jumped on the leg of the guy who was then on top of me, and bit into it. With Ernie’s help, I finally had a fair fight. The guy backed off, concerned that he might also hurt my innocent little brother. At that instant I may have apologized, or begged forgiveness—or begun running. I honestly don’t remember. But another thing I knew for sure—I was one fast runner.  (Ref Setting Life’s Course, pp 185-187, www.Amazon.com)

Lessons Learned
·        Achievement requires preparation.
·        High expectations without preparation yield disappointment.
·        Happiness is contentment with what we have, but contentment is difficult for competitive, creative, personalities.
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