There is a longstanding tale in Virginia Mallon’s family that they are related to founder of the United States Navy, John Paul Jones. Given her lifelong fascination with the sea, the story may very well be true. Studying oceanography in high school and painting sea life during the early part of her artistic career, Mallon navigated the early tides of a future permeated with sea and sand. Still today in her current Long Island hometown, perched on the edge of a small wetland called Crab Meadow, she is led back to water’s edge.
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky,
and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to lead her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
Sea Fever, John Masefield
“These lines speak to my heart as I wander the coastal towns from Long Island to Maine, snooping in tidal pools, estuaries, harbours, and shipyards for new discoveries. Shipyards are a favourite place to visit during early winter evenings. Alone, on a deserted pier, the vessels resting for the season, you can feel the lonesome calls of Dutchman. Riggings torn, rudders warped, these grand dames rest in a netherworld which is the colour of earth and sky. In the wake of the Dutchman, they lie in wait, impatient to be reborn. Eager for the westerly winds to lift their sails and return them to their ocean home. Some are here for only a season, before their hulls are repaired and they set sail again. Others remain, like me, year after year, waiting for the call to take them home.”
Virginia Mallon is a photographer, painter and blogger. Her work focuses on both human and environmental subjects, including urban landscapes, nautical spaces, and personal histories. She holds a BA from Queens College of the City University of New York. She lives on Long Island in a small wetland town called Crab Meadow and work on the island of Manhattan, eighty miles away. Her works has appeared in the Tulane Review, The Journal, Noctua Review Art and Literary Magazine, Glassworks Literary Magazine, Tendril Literary Magazine, The Colored Lens and the Carnegie Reporter.