On a historic cruise ship in the Delta, Lodi artist David Jon Foster has a new art studio that is taking him and his work back to his nautical roots
After decades of sailing around the world, the 1955 German-built cruise ship is moored at Herman and Helen’s Marina at the end of Eight Mile Road between Lodi and Stockton. The ship is a restoration project for owner Chris Willson, who wants to return to its original elegance. Though it is a work in progress, Willson has named Lodi artist David Jon Foster the ship’s official artist. In this photo, Foster and Willson prepare to board MV Aurora from a much smaller boat.
David Jon Foster shows one of his paintings from his new studio aboard the MV Aurora. This is Foster’s second studio space. His primary studio is at Vino Piazza in Lockeford.
Chris Willson, who owns the ship, uses a small boat to get between Aurora and the marina.
David Jon Foster’s paint brushes in Tiki cups sit beside him on a bench aboard Aurora.
David Jon Foster holds a postcard he bought online that shows the MV Aurora in its glory days.
Though the ship is still in renovation mode, some of David Jon Foster’s paintings adorn the walls. This is a painting from his “Waterman” series. As he paints aboard Aurora, his older pieces will be replaced with original ones.
- MV Aurora at a glance
A 293-foot-long classic cruise ship built in Germany in 1955. It has 5 levels and 85 cabins.
MV Delos, MV Polar Star and MV Xanadu.
Chris Willson, former web developer and ex-CEO of Stargate Video Production.
Aurora is moored at the end of Eight Mile Road near Herman and Helen’s Resort, across from Barron Hilton’s Venice Island.
Though currently in a state of major disrepair, Willson is restoring the yacht to its original glory. He plans to open it the various large rooms up for private events. It is also the new studio for Lodi artist David Jon Foster.
David Jon Foster is donating 10 percent of all proceeds from his pieces from Aurora to the MarineBio Conservation Society, a nonprofit volunteer marine conservation and since education group.
Want to volunteer your time and skills — from cleaning to electrical? Contact 209-910-6388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Follow MV Aurora’s progress at www.aurorayacht.wordpress.com.
Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 8:47 am
With a wide open day and a brand new canvas calling to him, David Jon Foster sits down at his easel to paint. Three Tiki jars to the left hold his paintbrushes. And to the right, Styrofoam plates are filled with bold-colored paint. He plugs his iPhone into an amp, and smooth lounge jazz filters through a axillary cable, filling his workspace.
Inspiration will strike quickly, most of the time. But before he can pick up a paintbrush, he has to take in the world that surrounds him: The waves smacking on the decks below; a white heron perched on a marshy bank; ripples that form on the top of the water from somewhere below the surface; the flicker of the sun reflected on a piece of the ship’s metal hardware; frogs croaking; the purr or meow of Kitty — the vagrant feline who came aboard a few years back.
Friday, July 5, 2013 8:47 am.