The Boats

Artist’s Statement: These images arrived out of dream in which someone who loved me led me through the woods to the shore of a lake. There was a boat waiting, and I was expected to get in. The night-dream ended there, but continued itself in the paintings.

The way images arise and how they speak is of abiding interest to me in my art. I was “quickened” by this dream and so these paintings grew themselves as I made room for them. I remember feeling both full and blank. I grabbed a pile of student warm-ups that had been abandoned in my studio, sheets of paper on which paint had been spread, thrown, brushed, smeared by many hands. I saw a boat in one, dimly present, and I began to coax it out of its camouflage. It was not a boat I expected.

Some of the boats are evocations of actual memories, and with those I needed to be more deliberate while still allowing the inner image to retain its primacy.

The way these happened is exactly the way I hope all my art and writing will occur, as a combination of chance presenting itself, of necessity pushing at me, of loose intention and deep attention. This is the craft, the skill I’ve tried to cultivate more than any other.

The Invitation, from "Boats," by Rosemary Starace
The Invitation
We Pass Over Like a Cloud, from "Boats," by Rosemary Starace
We Pass Over Like a Cloud
One Moment of Perfect Joy, from "Boats," by Rosemary Starace
One Moment of Perfect Joy
O, from "Boats," by Rosemary Starace


Into Autumn, from "Boats," by Rosemary Starace
Into Autumn


The Quickening, from "Boats," by Rosemary Starace
The Quickening
Evening Tugs, from "Boats," by Rosemary Starace
Evening Tugs

6 thoughts on “Rosemary Starace

  1. Fascinating images my favorite is “one moment of perfect joy” also love “Evening tugs”. Like the richness of color and solidity of form.

    Good work Rosemary.

    1. Thank you, Eve! Yes, they do have quite a bit of solidity for such dreamy images.

  2. Spooky and beautiful, Rosemary. The narrative of the dream suggests death and crossing over, really, but the boats are so round and womb-like and brightly colored, they totally subvert that association.

    1. Thank you, Lesley. You know, I hadn’t been thinking about that kind of crossing over, but it’s there. It’s kind of a night-sea journey, but “held.” Do you know Kunitz’s “The Longboat?” The Boats were made before I knew that poem, but the poem speaks to them. “To be rocked by the Infinite! / As if it didn’t matter / which way was home…”

  3. I’m ready for the invitation : ) And, yes, to “loose intention and deep attention.”

    1. Thank you, Louisa. I think you’ve probably received many such invitations

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