Well underway, an American bark hits stride on the open sea with several courses of her sails running the vessel close-hauled. A schooner is fine on the starboard bow, the broad reach of her sails full of the wind on her starboard quarter. An excellent sense of the gloaming prevails through the sky, with the hope of a successful voyage directly matched to the reality of the hard life at sea and the coming dark of evening.
The sea holds a subdued approach, more so than some of Petersen’s earlier works, especially his European settings. The swells carry softly parallel with enough size to make the sailing eventful. The contrast of the high ceiling of the clouds, with the alternate deep close tones set before the fading bright of the horizon, imparts a sense of dramatic distance before the sailing ships.
Petersen gives the bark some identity, with the smallish personal burgee at the main and a destination flag atop the fore mast, indicating she has recently left the harbor for her next destination. No doubt as to her allegiance and registry, with the American ensign facing the same wind-driven pull.
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