A Parade of Dinghies

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Rrudders and oarlocks removed, these boats nuzzle the dock like blind seal pups seeking the safety and succor of a moher. Their tightly nestled shells echo the eager abandon of young, consumed by a single yearning.

This picture could almost be a Paul Klee composition. Its strong lines and undiluted colors carve a collage of distinct shapes against the polished onyx of the sea.

But where Klee lets images emerge from the shapes, here shapes emerge from a crisp image. From the gently curved bow of each boat to the pinstriped cracks of the jetty and parallel passenger benches, there is a clean geometry.

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This flow of lines doesn't diminish the boats' idiosyncrasies.

The gray dinghy, a poor cousin to its wooden companions, is made from molded fiberglass. With no need of traditional struts or bars to reinforce its low-slung hull, it saves any pretense at craftsmanship. It simply tucks white buoyancy boxes beneath its seats, a lazy curl of rope its one concession to art.

The lush green escort, by contrast, is a rich plaid of wooden slats and beveled planking. A coquettish dash of red around its lip plays up the forested interior.

This delicate weave of wood, however, is struggling to hide its fraying edges. New layers of paint distract from the fractured floorboards. But like fresh coats applied to chipped nail polish, the disguise is half-hearted. The old weathered oar, resting in the bow, betrays any lingering pretensions.

The sturdy red workhorse leaves illusions of sophistication behind. It is the ruddy farmhand that never quite felt at ease with city folk. There are no cracks or signs of wear in its shell, only honest dirt among the crevices and a liking for more.

The three boats, lined up along the wharf in a silent watch, are drops of color on a gray summer canvas - a steadfast declaration of form and tone.

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