A few Saturdays ago, I decided to go on a 22-mile bike ride on the Burke Gilman trail that runs along a portion of the west side of Lake Washington. I didn't set out to ride 22 miles round trip, that is just what it turned out to be. I ride a vintage 1970s French-made Motobecane. Being an older bike, the ride was not one of speed, but rather of leisure. A great way to enjoy the Burke-Gilman.
My ride took place the same day as Opening Day, the official kick off of boating season in the Pacific Northwest. The weather that Saturday was perfect. The sun was out, the sky was clear blue, the temperature in the 80s. It was a classic Seattle kind of day.
While cycling, I passed Matthews Beach on Lake Washington. Already, the beach was teaming with swimmers and picnickers. I was prepared for a possible swim in the lake during my ride and dutifully was sporting a Speedo under my cut-offs and tank top and a beach towel in my bike basket just in case. I made a mental note to stop there and go for a swim on my return. About 30-40 minutes later cycling back, I saw the beach. I pulled off the Burke-Gilman and locked up my bike. I took a dip into the lake. The water was chilly at first, but in about 2-3 minutes, I had acclimated to the temperature. I enjoyed the rolling waves stirred up by the boating activity in the lake. I spent about 15 minutes in the water swimming laps doing backstroke, crawl, and corkscrew strokes, and another 15 minutes on the shore to dry off before riding about another 10 miles to my home.
Close to home, passing over the Montlake Bridge, I found myself in the Montlake neighborhood where the Seattle Yacht Club is located. The Seattle Yacht Club, founded in 1892, sits on Portage Bay adjoining a stretch of public land. I managed to catch some of the Opening Day pomp and circumstance celebrated at the yacht club as awards were given out by people wearing navy blue blazers festooned with brass buttons and crisp white slacks for categories like "Best Antique and Classic Boat," "Best Classic Sail," and Best Classic Power." For a brief time, I felt like I could be on a well-manicured estate such as "The Breakers" in Newport, Rhode Island. Although in this case, I was a conspicuous observer milling about on the edges of the grass adjacent to the well-groomed grounds donning my neon pink Nike tank top, blue jean cutoffs, bright lime green Nike running shoes, wearing a bike helmut. Talk about juxtaposition!
After a great day of cycling, and swimming, and experiencing a bit of uniquely Seattle reverie, I found my inspiration for this new series of paintings:
Because water plays such an important role in Washington State, I will create several mini series of "Maritime" themed works during the course of this project.
These series of daily paintings will cover a range, although not comprehensive, of events and topics where maritime is the primary factor. Whether it is a celebration in the way of Opening Day or the daily passages of boats that traverse Puget Sound (salt water) to fresh water lakes (Lake Union, Lake Washington), I will attempt to share a glimpse of the Pacific Northwest vis-a-vis, its nautical life.
Stay tuned for the first collection of "Maritime" to set sail soon!
By the roadside
cool spring water flowing
In the shade of a willow
Mary Lamery is a lifelong resident and native of the Pacific Northwest. Lamery paints regional landscape in a manner that leans towards 19th century French Impressionism. Through her project, "Washington Americana," she will create original landscape paintings from her journeys through Washington for the creation of an art book of painted landscape of Washington State.
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(100 days painting. Book)