Original Watercolor, 15″ x 22″
The YouTube films, An Island Out of Time (2019) and Beautiful Swimmers Revisited(2016) remind me of summers with my grandparents and crabbing in Greenbackville, Virginia. Both films are by Tom Horton, Dave Harp & Sandy Cannon-Brown. I was granted permission to paint this scene of a boat I had only encountered a couple times before. Yet the graceful lines, wide beam, and low-draft left a permanent impression. It’s simple, unique beauty has a rare, singular purpose…to catch soft crabs. The boat is called a “Jenkins Creeker,” “Crab Scraper,” or a “Bar Cat.” A typical boat measures 28 feet in length with a 10-foot beam and 18 inches of draft depending on the load. The boat is operated by only one waterman…one very strong waterman who pulls 40-pound crab scrapes through shallow-bottom eelgrass targeting peeler and soft crabs. After a drag, loaded with grass, mud, crabs, and shells…the scrape can weigh up to 100 pounds. The waterman brings them in by hand explaining the intentionally low freeboard and unusually large arms of scrapers.
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