Sailing Lesson Redux

"Sea Breeze" by John C. Traynor

"Sea Breeze" by John C. Traynor 30" x 24"

Oh my these great paintings in the Petite Salon! The Avants are magnificent and the little Olivares charming, the Balderous quick-witted glimpses of water and sky…but the Traynors! Oh my goodness John never ceases to pull at my heart-strings. All week the oohs and aahs have circled around the Avant rendering of watery viscosness, John Boat afloat at its mooring, egret emerging as a sun bathed aura poised for action. I love the Avants, the children he paints, eliciting the sun-kissed beach memories of my own children: gritty, burnt and happy as clams. Oddly as I spend afternoons in the salon I find my psyche keeps lingering in the moody corner with the storm cloud filled “Shrimp Boat in Shem Creek” (also a work of John C. Traynor’s), all action and strength. I find the close tonality, values inching in and out of themselves fitting my mood as the storm clouds of spring roar through Charleston, making boat stays scream and clang, whipping over whitecaps reminding me we are on the big cold Atlantic Ocean which is capable of swallowing us all ala Daiichi Fukushima. The counter point to the storm clouds of course is the Traynor depiction of the sailing lesson in his piece titled “Sea Breeze” (image above). Puffy clouds, sparkly gentle breezes, kids in orange preservers no more at risk than a wader in a puddle. I love the crouched boy…obiously ready to crash headlong with a thump into the equally out of control girls in the larger craft struggling with the jib pole. The whole smash-up appears imminent and slo-mo, foretold a hundred times and resulting in bruises, dents and a good laugh over lemonades but no harm done other than to paint, egos and harbor etiquette. When my own dear children learned to sail out of the Neenah Wisconsin Nod-a-way Yacht club the water at the top of Lake Winnebago and the Fox River was so noxious the ducks could literally walk across it on giant algae islands and the paint like bacterial slick from the farm run off occasionally burped a noxious flammable gas we all wisely avoided. The orders to the budding sailors were to avoid falling in at all costs, not out of fear from drowning, but rather the required round of antibiotics that were required following a dip in the lake. I think about our boat scenes, my laughter filled cheering during the slapstick sailing lessons in Wisconsin. I wonder aloud how I suddenly arrived here in Charleston staring at these magnificent paintings (although in reality the children, now adults, learned to sail decades ago my internal time clock says it was only a nano-second) . When I recall how filthy the Fox River was when my children were learning to sail (it was designated a “dead” river and is now quite better (certainly not pristine but well enought to support marine life). It gives me hope for our Japanese friends and their recent nuclear troubles. I muse over all the sunny beach moments, the joys brought by my sand sticky children, the violent storms clouds as a planet we’ve all endured, dished out by acts of nature and man and I find great balance and comfort in my Petite Salon Azure as I hope you will. These magnificent works can be seen at M Gallery of fine Art SE in Charleston SC at 11 Broad Street or of course on the web at


About mgalleryoffineart

Owner of M Gallery of Fine Art in historic Charleston, SC
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