Thursday, December 15, 2016


(Click on image, please)

  I've been looking at this painting, "Fog Warning" by Winslow Homer, for sixty years. My father bought it (just a print, not the original) at the Woolworths  in Roslindale, Mass. and hung it in the front hall. My mother didn't like it there so it went to my room in the attic. I can understand my mother's attitude. She didn't love boats or the sea and this is kind of a scary image. The lone fisherman has had a successful day and is ready to go home, but his home seems to be sailing away from him. Also a huge fog bank is moving in. The guy looks to be in trouble.
  I asked my father about this and he said everything would probably be fine. The fisherman was in one of several dories that had been dropped off earlier to set a trawl of hooks (see keg).  They were after cod, haddock, or in this case, "just for the halibut." as my father could not resist saying. The schooner off in the distance was making a circle, picking up dories as she went. Yes that fog bank is worrisome but chances are good the fisherman will be picked up so he can spend the next few hours gutting and icing down the catch.
  I took the painting with me to college, but not into the Navy. That would have been overkill. After the service I lived for a year with my parents. The painting was on the wall of my bedroom. I left it hanging  there when I got married, but eventually got permission to move it to Minnesota. It sat in storage till we built the Shêdeau where it now hangs in the workroom/art gallery/storage area. I should touch up the frame but I doubt I will.
  While thinking about this blog, I looked up "Fog Warning" on the Internet. There's a three minute YouTube video in which a man and woman analyze the work. They paint the fisherman as a goner. In the comments section people argue about whether he's rowing vainly after the schooner or if the boat is coming back to pick him up. "He should row to land," someone says. I wanted to stick my oar in and say "land is 90 miles away," but what's the use? At least no one suggested he call an Uber. Even the Museum of Fine Arts which owns the painting says on it's website that he's trying to row to the schooner. Am I going to believe some museum flunky who's never seen his life pass before his eyes or am I going to go with my father? There's a no-brainer for you.


Joe said...

I'm with you. He got picked up, then enjoyed some fish and grog.

Catherine Stenzel said...

Cool pic. Reminds me of my youth when I lived at an airport and was always watching the skies, and frequently participating in bringing the "angels" home via radio communications, runway lights, beacon, and the like. Few people have a steady diet of being at the mercy of the elements. Your fisherman is an exception. So was I for many years. I still have a habit of scanning the skies, noting a change in the air, and paying attention to those creaks in my bones to try to stay ahead of bad weather.