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Call The Ships To Port

Call the ships to port.jpg

Image copyright Fern Petrie 2019

Fern Petrie, Call The Ships To Port, Oil on Canvas, 25 x 20 cm, 2019.

‘Call The Ships To Port’ is a work inspired by my own experience where my love was constantly at sea and the distance between us seemed insurmountable. I identified with this independent figure, strong yet anxious and adrift, always worried for my love’s safety.


Longing and the distance that love is sometimes forced to endure is embodied in this work, a piece which represents the realisation of the cyclical nature of life, an acceptance of impending parting and a call for the much-awaited reunion.


Symbolising memory, fortitude and hope, the figure is steadfast always looking to the horizon. She is the lover who waits for her loved one to return. Time passing and the great natural pull to the other is given form in the elemental image of the moon at the figure’s heart. The full moon embodies the concept of reflection; both of light illuminating the darkness and within one’s own mind. The full moon influences the tides; emotions and the subconscious mind and speaks of solitude.


Enclosed within the human construct of a cabinet, the rational mind’s justification of the need to separate struggles with the impassioned side of human nature. Each keeps the other in check and the figure above water.


Composed of basalt the body references the Hebridean sea cave with its haunting resonances which inspired Mendelssohn’s famous melancholic and stirring overture. That sense of solitary churning emotion and searching which can be found in his music is also at the root of this image.


The figure is unwavering even as ships threaten to break against her. Bedecked with the treasures of her life the figure waits and watches, festooned in offerings brought back from voyages her love has taken to remind her that her love is constantly and steadfastly returned.

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