"Windy Bay"

On a cold, Winters day in 1976, I stopped by my friend Tom Kelly’s house, just North of Suttons Bay. For several weeks I’d passed by, noticing his boat, “Windy Bay,” laid-up in the back yard, it’s black hull , stark against the frozen bay, flanked by a tangle of trees, all covered in freshly fallen snow – just perfect for an etching!

Looking forward to this day, I’d prepped a copper plate with an asphaltum ground, bought a pocket hand-warmer to keep the ground from chipping in the cold and shaped a scribe from a nail. At last, I stood in the snow and stillness, and drew through the ground revealing a web of shiny copper lines, until the scribing was done…or maybe my feet were cold from standing. Back then, I had use of the printmaking room at NMC in Traverse City for the acid baths and printing presses. I etched, engraved and printed a small edition, selling some, giving copies to Tom, other friends and family. A year later, Tom sold the boat to me. My family and I enjoyed several seasons sailing her on the bay. I named my new art gallery in downtown Suttons Bay after the “Windy Bay.” Around the time dry rot began to soften her transom and flake chunks of punky wood from around her plank fastenings, my art gallery had morphed into Suttons Bay Stained Glass Co. leaving me no time to become a boat rebuilder. I sold her to a friend from Toledo.

I’ve heard she’s restored and still sailing: a 24’ Winslow Sloop built by “Bones” Lehman decades ago. If you see her, please send a picture! In the meantime, when I’d traded up from black & white to the colors of stained glass and paint, I decided to create this larger painting – A reminder of a most beautiful boat on a winter’s day, great times and great friends past.