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2017 GWBS Poster

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Prodigal Son by Jef Sturm

A love for and mastery of landscapes and light shine through in the 2017 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show painting by this year’s artist, Jef Sturm.

Anyone who has seen the shrimp boats in the Tom Hanks movie “Forrest Gump” will recognize the historic era from which this year’s featured boat was launched. The Prodigal Son, a familiar sight in Georgetown Harbor and Winyah Bay with Captain Ronnie Campbell at the helm, is typical of wooden shrimp boats from about 50 years ago except for one major deviation: Its rigging was removed.

“The Prodigal Son was built in ’48, and it was a small shrimper,” Sturm said. “It did what it did. Ronnie’s gotten ahold of it and he’s taken all the rigging and stuff off of it, and he’s more or less refurbished it. It’s a beautiful boat.”

Sturm depicted the white wooden boat on a sunny and placid part of Winyah Bay where dashes of color in the paint and wood are reflected from a fair weather sky. The artist used setting and light to evoke a sensible and humbly elegant personality for the vessel.

And the Prodigal Son is used sensibly and elegantly. Ronnie Campbell stays alert to boaters who radio that they have sailed astray in the Georgetown area, and he has guided and towed many of them to safe harbor.