Painting with tar…

So how does one go from bike riding and strolling the local community garden ( to holding a paintbrush with tar?  Let me share a story…

It started when I arrived a little early at the Lincolnville Farmer’s market and decided to walk over and check out the “Espiritu” at the dry dock of Riberia Street.  Part of my creative process involves getting out on my bike and visiting quiet green spaces around town.  I stood on the street quietly gazing through the chain-link fence up at the massive black hull (formerly a Shrimping vessel called “Applejack” which has undergone extensive remodeling to become a Caravel) and its distant upper deck with the wildly flapping Spanish flag.  A volunteer cat called to me with a big invitation which sent the owner of the boat, Kenny, in his truck to pick me up at the main gate, a block away.  Go figure.  In my black leather jacket and bright pink scarf I’m still perplexed about the invitation? What did I look like to them? A person eager to volunteer on a big rough boat?

The next thing you know I’m chatting with Kenny and sitting atop a cooler/ tool chest in the cab of his truck curled up like a cat facing backwards with an array of drills and tools.  He tells me about all the work he has done on this boat that he owns and wants to resurrect as a Caravel.  Then I’m at the boat with his deliberate yet casual instructions: “just go up the ladder.”  OK. There really is nothing else to do once someone has fetched you in their pick-up truck and hand delivered you to a massive boat in dry dock.  One just goes up the ladder, as told.

Then I met the volunteer crew of three very busily painting the rim of the deck with tar from a 5 gallon bucket.  Without pausing from their purpose they instructed me to just grab a brush.  OK.  There really is nothing else to do after you have scaled a ladder to the dizzy upper deck and engaged in casual conversation.  As asked, you grab a brush and get busy.

One of the volunteers was the owner/publisher of the free circulation mag “Entertainer.”  The other was a Flagler College student with a major in Theater.  And the volunteer I budied up with was Warren Clark (  who wrote the article I read in the paper that same morning, “Building a Spanish sailing ship one ‘deadeye’ at a time.”  He’s also a local artist and we exchanged cards. ( Sometimes it’s a great idea to stuff your jacket with a few biz cards even if you are unsure “why.”)

For the next 30 minutes I painted a portion of the starboard rim of “Espiritu”and engaged in all sorts of friendly conversations.  Filled some gaps and divets in the wood to seal it from the elements, all with even strokes of my black brush.   I’m not a lover of boats, but I do love the story of this Caravel.  I loved painting a little tar on it and meeting the volunteers.  And if I was a journalist, I would have written about it right away.  The privilege of participation and the preservation of our history.

Espiritu “just go up the ladder”


04. March 2013 by Jean Drayovitch
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