The Next Time You Eat Shrimp…
15×30 Oil

We all love a shrimp dinner!  Summer sun, beaches, coastal vacations and  SHRIMP,  are a delight to me, and probably you, too!

I was on this Florida dock in May, early in the morning, so artists could catch morning light in their paintings.  The boat on the left looked like it had seen better days, half-sunken into the water.  The one on the right is a shrimp boat, with empty nets all rolled up.  The birds flew around it, perhaps attracted by the smell and all the edibles being stirring up in the water.

As I was there to learn about painting, to watch the masters, to listen to their wisdom, I noticed a shrimper walking toward our group.  His truck was parked under the shelter we were using.  His body language looked dejected and tired, his lunch box or tool box weighing him down.  One of the guys in our group was talking to him and later told us what he said.

The shrimper had been out all night, doing what shrimpers do, trying to haul in those pounds and pounds of fresh shrimp that we so eagerly desire.   After a night of hard work, something happened that caused him to have to cut his nets and let the whole catch go.  (I’m not a shrimper so I don’t know the details.)  But I understood enough to realize how difficult his job is, how much he had lost, how dejected he was, all because we love shrimp.  

He probably does not want everyone to stop eating shrimp.  Then he would be totally out of a job!  But, the next time I eat shrimp… I will think of this man, and so many others like him, who live on the coast, smell like fish all night, come into the dock in early morning hours and then have to clean out a boat.  They may go home to a family, beginning their day with good news or bad news, and lay down to sleep during the daylight hours of a beautiful day.

Things aren’t always as picturesque as the image that we see.  That is the story behind this painting.