So — you think your dwelling is too small? Try living on a boat.
Margaret Mair and husband Richard live on their boat “Into The Blue”. Margaret also paints and writes her poetry there. And produces her blog.
“The space is very compact, and set up for both living and sailing”, she says. “That means having to think about everything we bring on board: it must be something we need (that includes art supplies, for me) and can store securely.”
Some people have a room to create their art. Margaret has “a corner”.
There are advantages. She and Richard have traveled widely, from Canada to the US, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.
“We can cast off our boat and move, go exploring or visiting and know that we have our own comfortable place to stay. Anyone who lives on a boat lives very close to nature. We have an intimate relationship with the weather: when the wind blows hard the boat rocks and creaks and the ropes groan; when the sun shines the water sparkles; ripples on the water gurgle against the hull of the boat.”
Margaret’s poems and pictures often reflect her close relationship with the sea:
It calls, the sea,
To the restless boat
On a sandy shore,
And cooling current
And the feel
Of wake moving
Her planked hull….
Margaret started writing poetry as a teenager. She started painting in her forties, first learning to draw and work with colour – chalk pastels.
“I worked my way through chalk pastels to experimenting with other media until I arrived at the medium I most frequently use, acrylics.”
“It took a friend’s introduction to SPARK in 2011 to make me think most deeply about how paintings and poetry could work together. I did not really start creating my own melding of the two until quite recently – January 2014.”
Many poems and pictures followed, as you can see on her blog.
Her pieces often evoke powerful responses.
“Everyone responds in their own way, and finds the thing or things that speak to them and their experience.
“I gave my mother a piece that hung on her wall until she died, a first iteration of my Tree of Life, much larger and more delicate. One day while I was visiting I watched a young girl stand silently in front of it for a long time, just looking. That was one of my favorite responses.”
And a few final words about home:
“I have learned that what you bring to a place is as important as the place itself. Keep it reasonably clean and relatively tidy, as cool on the hot days and as warm on the cold ones as you can (we’ve lived in some drafty places), put your favorite pictures on the wall and fill the bookshelves with your books and magazines and pieces of art, let music fill the rooms, make space to do the things that are important to you, and love the people who share it with you.”
All photos by Margaret Mair. Artworks copyrighted.