Boat painter creating a maritime mural on an Eastport eyesore


WHEN ARTIST Cindy Fletcher-Holden goes to her regular job, she brings paint by the thimbleful. "I measure it in tablespoons," she explained.

Working sometimes upside-down over a transom, she paints names on boats. Lots of boats, maybe 300 a season.

She has switched gears, though, and just started her most prodigious job, not with tablespoons, but with 50 gallons of paint, creating a maritime mural on a blank, 17-by-90-foot wall.

It's going up on the Hopkins Furniture warehouse at Fourth and Chesapeake, a site that's been called an eyesore for years. Alderman Ellen Moyer marshaled the Eastport Civic Association, Eastport Business Association and the Maritime Republic of Eastport to provide funding for the project, and Cindy was signed on to do the job.

The mural, expected to take two months, will include renderings of about 20 boats that have Eastport connections. Until about 25 years ago, Eastport yards produced a variety of workboats, military patrol craft and luxury yachts.

Cindy is serious about making everything just right.

"I went to the Anne Arundel Library and was hours there revisiting artists I studied years ago at the Maryland Institute," she said. Those artists included Winslow Homer and Eugene Delacroix. "I'm also using photos I've taken while cruising. I want the water to be the Chesapeake. I don't want my mural to look like Key West."

Cindy doesn't have to try hard to be something of a character. She and her husband, Robert, live on a 36-foot sailboat on Back Creek, and she works out of a studio at Muller Marine.

She is Minister of Fine Arts and Aerobics for the Maritime Republic and also serves as its "Deep" (as in Veep), deputy premier.

She gave telephone interviews during Hurricane Floyd for Channel 9 in Washington and was amused at the TV interviewer's insistence that there must be something disastrous going on. (You know how those media people are.)

When she was done, she grabbed her board and went off to pursue another hobby.

"You just have to go windsurfing in a hurricane."

In Floyd's wake

This may sound a bit cornball, but Annapolis police, fire and public works did superb work after Floyd had done its messy business.

Bailing out swamped basements, getting electricity to the elderly and infirm, picking up storm wreckage, applying cold compresses to the brows of fevered citizens -- they did a little bit of everything.

Fire Chief Ed Sherlock said his department got about 200 emergency calls that weekend. "I shouldn't use the word," he said, "but we were flooded."

Neighbors chipped in, too.

It wasn't unusual to see extension cords snaked over back fences or across streets from those with generators to those struggling with dark refrigerators and only the vaguest hints as to when the juice was coming back.

And neighbors helped neighbors with chain saws, getting fallen trees under control. Eastport Market opened its freezers to citizens who needed them.

The summer was a rough one. Months of drought and groaning air conditioners ended with a frog-strangler of a downpour.

The last day of summer brought a chill, however, and a treat overhead, V-formations of honking Canada geese, harbingers of a new season.

Pub Date: 9/27/99

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