Monday, December 14, 2015

Ocean Views and a Battleship in Wilmington, North Carolina — Inspiring Creativity

“One great thing to keep in mind is his [MacDowell’s] feeling of the ceaseless ebb and flow that we all feel when we live by the sea for any length of time.” [1]—Marian MacDowell, wife of the great American Composer Edward MacDowell talking about his suite for solo piano, Sea Pieces.

I have always lived near an ocean. In fact, it seems strange to me that there are people who have never seen the ocean in real life before, landlocked by states on each side. Being born in the Central Valley of California, the ocean was only ever two hours away by car, and from a young age, my family would take trips to the beach. There is nothing quite like standing in front of this endless body of water, reaching to the horizon line, the smell of brine and salt, wind, people looking specks in the distance to your left and right – your view unencumbered.

Panoramic, Carolina Beach, North Carolina. Photo by Charles Wolf © 2015. 

I love the ocean, and it is part of who I am as a person. As an artist, like many artists before me, the ocean is a real source of inspiration. While you stand and look out over the waves you realize how small you are in the world, as well as being a tangible expression for the passage of time, that “feeling of the ceaseless ebb and flow.” My wife and I enjoyed going to the ocean several times when we were dating, and we even got engaged on a beach in Northern California! I think the farthest I have ever lived from the ocean was about four hours in Texas from the gulf, and now that we live here in North Carolina, it has been a goal of ours to visit the beach.

Ocean View, Carolina Beach, North Carolina. Photo by Charles Wolf © 2015. 

Yesterday, my wife and I took a day trip to Wilmington, North Carolina, a beautiful city with many homes and churches predating the Civil War. While we were there, before going to the beach, we visited the impressive USS North Carolina Battleship, persevered as an historical monument to those who served on her during the Second World War and beyond. It was engaging experience to step back in time and to explore the ship on a self-guided tour. The ship is large, taking us about three hours to tour, cramped spaces, tight ladders and walkways, but well worth the effort. The ship stands a feat of engineering to the time it was built in 1937, rows of analog computers, complex electrical systems, piping etc… holding 2000 men at one time. One of the docents informed us that the really large 16 inch triple guns that you can see in the photo below near the front of the ship, can shoot a projectile 20miles (launched with six 90lbs bags of powder), and on impact wipe out the length and breadth of four football fields – so much raw power. I highly recommend that you see this ship, even if you are not into history that much, if you live or ever visit North Carolina.  

USS North Carolina, Battleship. Photo by Charles Wolf © 2015. 

Panoramic, Wilmington, NC from the deck of the USS North Carolina. 
Photo by Charles Wolf © 2015

Later, we went into downtown Wilmington, ate lunch on a private balcony with a stunning view of the Cape Fear River and the battleship across the channel.  

Cape Fear River, Wilmington, NC. Photo by Charles Wolf © 2015. 

We then headed to the beach. As you can see above, we had bright blue sky with some clouds in the morning, but when we reached the beach in the afternoon it started to rain. Yesterday was also an important day for me as I fulfilled a minor life goal of seeing the Atlantic Ocean. Thankfully, it was a warm day and we enjoyed walking with the sand under our bare feet and picking up seashells in the rain. Here are a few more photos of the amazing light dancing in the clouds over the sea.

 Purple Sky, Carolina Beach, NC. Photo by Charles Wolf © 2015. 

 Blue Sky, Carolina Beach, NC. Photo by Charles Wolf © 2015. 

Thank you for reading and looking at these photos. What places do you enjoying traveling to and visiting? Does the ocean inspire you like it does for me? Let me know if the comments below. As always, you can follow this blog via the Impulsive Artistry Facebook Page, follow me on Google+, or by Email (sign up in the top, right sidebar of the blog).


[1]Pesce,The Other Sea in MacDowell's Sea Pieces,” 422.
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