Brechin Lee Morgan
There is a mile-long beach in Waterford Connecticut between the Harkness Estate and the Seaside Sanitarium where I spent the summers of my childhood. There my mother’s family lived, fished and swam for generations. I watched the light on the water and the ships on its surface and knew that over the horizon lay all the islands and exotic ports of this world.
I lived and spent my high school years in Guilford, Connecticut where with two years of savings from my paper route I bought a Blue Jay sailboat in which I spent summers exploring the Thimble Islands and the coast.
At seventeen I found my way to the Caribbean where I worked on sailing charter boats. I signed aboard a leaky forty- foot wooden sloop whose owner intended sail around the world only to be damaged badly on our first leg in a hurricane off Bermuda. We limped into Moorhead City North Carolina.
I entered an associate degree program at Silvermine College of Art in New Canaan, Connecticut and after two years left to work on an oyster boat. After various jobs to support my family I opened a sign company in Norwalk which I operated for 23 years. During that time I painted many out-door nautical murals in the greater Norwalk area. The first being a 15 foot by 25- foot depiction of the Alice Wentworth the last working schooner out of Vineyard Haven operated by legendary Zebulon Tilton.
At the age of 51, in November of 1998, I left Block Island aboard my 27- foot cutter rigged sailboat Otter, to sail single-handed around the world. After 32,000 miles and 32 countries, I returned to Block Island in May of 2003. The Joshua Slocum Society presented me with their Golden Circle Award for the accomplishment. (Click for more details: www.otternews.com)
I set up a studio in Bridgeport, CT and have been painting from the 18 watercolor sketchbooks I filled on the voyage, the ten volume journal, logs, memory and boxes of reference photos. Summer sailing trips in familiar New England waters provide continued material.
Since I have been home I have had several one- person shows and various group shows. Oyster Boat Running Up the Sound was selected for showing at the 29th Annual International Marine Art Show at the Maritime Art Gallery at the Mystic Marine Museum.
The visual poetry of the many seas I have sailed, its far-flung islands and the ships that venture on it continue to inspire my work.