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Date: 30 August 2015. Little Things (hobby afloat)


It is the little things that make this life afloat great. And by little, I do mean SMALL! One thing I have done each morning for many years is clean my eye glasses and computer screen. The day looks brighter without smudges and to that end I have a little glass atomizer from Specialty Bottle that works perfectly.

You see it all started back a few years ago... oh, say fifty or so. For nearly as long as I can remember I have drawn pictures of what I see. A cruising fellow (Professor Burke, former Maths professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville as I recall) gifted me a set of colored pencils and that kicked off a lifetime of fun with art.


Faber-Castell art pencils are of good quality. I have been sketching for more than half a century primarily using these. I recommend this brand for most folks.

Faber-Castell 36ct Art Pencils

IF drawing is for  you the
best brand is Prismacolor.

Prismacolor 72ct Art Pencils


Each of us who live aboard our boats find time to fill. Sure, we could be fixing something or improving one system or another. Instead, it is wonderful to have a hobby that translates well to life on the water. There are many hobbies. As for me, I like little things.

Specifically, I now paint inside small seashells. For at time my boat cards read "She sells seashells by the seashore" and indeed I do so on occasion to this day. However to paint onboard Seaweed with oils required a bit of adaptation.

Side Note: The Intriguing Possibilities (boat cards) article touches on boat cards and their value.



Oil paints dry slower than either acrylic paints or watercolors.


I've tried to paint with watercolors with minimal success. There is no one on the planet who can make mud of acrylic colors faster than I.


Decades ago I was gifted a set of oil paints. Lessons came later from a commercial artist on sabbatical. He was traveling on his sailboat called Seven C's. The family's last name was Clark and there were five children, plus the mom and dad. Thus, the Seven C's. It was a crowded boat, especially during school hours. (They were Calvert home-school kids.)

In any even, Dick (the artist in the family) gave me lessons on sketching, perspectives and painting. I do like drawing though I've not done any of late.

I love oil painting.


The one bad thing about oils is that they take a long time to dry. It can be a couple or three days before the paint is dry and that is a problem when there is no place to leave a canvas out.

Recently I learned about Liquin. It is an additive that is mixed into the color and makes the paint dry faster. I am testing Liquin, and so far am not as comfortable as I would like. I am used to the paint remaining wet longer. The added time gives me an opportunity to fix stuff that did not come out the way I imagined it.

Still experimentation is fun.


Having a hobby afloat is a good thing. Many of us out here, especially the soloists, are avid readers. I am too. My Kindle is a wonderful addition to my happiness quotient.

Reading is a great joy.  One of my favorites is on Kindle too. This was my first series book. A couple on a boat near us had bunches of little red chapter books by Horatio Alger. I read
Do and Dare, A Brave Boy's Fight for Fortune first. And then proceeded to read the rest of his collection!

So too is painting. These are a few of my oil paints:

Oil paints come in tubes. I find them a pain in the posterior to use. For me, it is far superior to have my pigments in small glass vials. The lids are plastic and it is easy to get out just what I want.


Specialty Bottle Company


My very favorite place to buy the glass vials I use for my paints is on Specialty Bottle. They are a great company, and I have been happy with the orders placed with them over the past six years.


For small vials and bottles, this is the page you want: Glass Vials

Also, as long as I'm spending your perfectly good money, go to the Clear Boston Rounds page and buy at least two or three of the atomizer bottles. I keep rubbing alcohol in mine and use it to clean my eyeglasses. Alcohol will remove the salt from your sunglasses.

I use my atomizer with rubbing alcohol to clean the windows in my pilothouse too. Spray, wipe and you're done.


Specialty Bottle has lots of cools stuff you did not know you needed. Wander around and have fun. As for me, soon I will order another half-dozen atomizers. They are handy to have, inexpensive and great gifts for fellow boaters. I have given away my next to last bottle so will replenish my supply with the upcoming order of miniature paint bottles.

Side Note: I may switch over to see-through containers with plastic caps from Specialty Bottle for my screws and bolts. I believe they would be an upgrade over my current system of using old pill bottles. The bottles could easily be stored in spice racks on the inside of a locker door too.


I am a miniaturist which is a fancy way of saying I create very small paintings. Here is one of mine that shows the size. I will grant you that this is smaller than the norm. Most are almost twice as large.



For such small seashells I use specialty paint brushes. Some I make myself, as I need a single strand versus a thick brush.

The toothpick on the right is one of my miniature paintbrushes. It's a one-time use item.

And for the youngsters among my readers, that is a dime next to my little painting.


Every painter uses a palette. Mine was originally the cutting board from our boat. It has had some hard use over the years and brings back many happy memories. I imagine that piece of teak could tell tales of all the paints I have added and scraped off over the years!

For me, having a hobby that easily moved aboard was a good thing. I get a great deal of pleasure pulling out my paints and having at it. The failures get tossed over the side.

Collecting the seashells is always a fun activity too. It's one of the reasons I enjoy swimming and diving so much. I gather a few shells to paint while admiring the pretties.

Other folks pay for canvases and such. My shells are free. Perhaps you've seen my collection? I keep it scattered on beaches worldwide... help yourself. There are plenty.

Here are some paintings that are not yet finished:

Whatever hobby you have, with a bit of ingenuity it probably can transfer to your boat. I will grant you that painting a huge canvas would not be practical aboard a 23'er such as Seaweed. Still, my small seashells are fun to paint. I adapted and find this new challenge loads of fun.

The boat you chose to live aboard needs to have a place for your pleasures.

Keep that in mind when you boat shop. If a hobby brings you happiness or profit, figure out a way to bring it aboard with you.

As of right now, I've still not found the Ideal place for my bottles of paint. Not yet. In the meantime I stow them in a plastic box gifted me by Mabe years ago. The blue box was at one time a medical kit. It makes me feel good to paint, so it's serving the original purpose albeit tweaked. And too, I remember my friend who gave me the light blue case each time I pull it out.

Whatever your craft, plan to bring it aboard with you.

I'd love to hear what your favorite crafts and hobbies are.
And, how long have you been creating, crafting, etc?


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