Sam Scott - The Four Tides

Sam Scott’s iconic masterpiece quartet entitled The Four Tides, was created in 1996 during his artist-in-residence at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi. Scott has written an accompanying text to each composition and introduces the series as a whole below:

“I spent my retirement pay from the University of Arizona on a fifteen foot West Wight Potter ketch rigged sloop. Her hull was yellow, her lines were clean. I named her Spray and I solo sailed her out of wet birth 186 at Wallys Sport Center in the shrimp fishing village of Port Aransas, located at the Northern tip of Padre Island when I was not teaching as Artist in Residence for the Spring Semester at Texas A & M University nearby in Corpus Christi Texas.

At this time I also worked with my old friend Jim Edwards, who was to curate my forthcoming thirty year retrospective at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico where I live and work.

I sailed Spray with the tide out of Wallys, out of Port Aransas out to the wide windy shipping channels out to the open sea, careful always to align myself abaft of those great container ships who shared those sea lanes with me. It was important to quarter their great wakes as the wind and waves gradually increased.

My destination was those deserted barrier islands where tiny mule deer shared the beaches and wind swept dunes with sandpipers, gulls, pelicans, cranes and ducks. There was freedom and beauty there and I would wander and beach comb until it was time to catch the incoming tide home.

It was the tides that dictated when I could depart, and when I could return, for if I failed to catch the incoming tide, I did not have the power in my three horsepower Mercury outboard and my sails to overcome the strength of an outgoing tide and I would be swept out to the open sea.

So it was, that as my knowledge of the tides was a matter of life and death for me, I came to study them and to care for them deeply as personalities of the great mother ocean, returning memories to me of when I was a young man of twenty five fishing the Nikolske straights of the Kodiak Channel, out past Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, Izembek, even out to Adak in our 84 foot otter trawl fishing boat in the fierce grey ocean.

We returned to port in Kodiak Alaska, heavy with Ocean Pink shrimp for the Pacific Pearl canning company.

The Art Department at Texas A & M was kind enough to furnish me with a class studio to use in off hours and so I had time and space to undertake The Four Tides. The painter is so small and mortal, the subject so grand and timeless, the majesty of the great cycles shaped by the power of the moons embrace. It hangs silver and gold over the thundering swells of the mother sea, sometimes cloud-hidden, sometimes shining and clear.”



Sam Scott, Low Tide (The Four Tides), 1996
acrylic on canvas, 83.75 x 120 in.



"Every jeweled light of wave reflects the other. Green replaces blue and that which was obscured is now revealed. Otters play in the kelp beds. The smell of the great mother ocean blends with, grease, diesel, salt. The gulls circle, mewing.

The Great Regenerative Cycle endures. When is the arrival of the decision to decide?

 Moving through the tides, moving through the decades, heading out to sea."


Sam Scott, Low Tide Rising (The Four Tides), 1996
acrylic on canvas, 83.75 x 120 in.




"A sudden squall. The sea is filled with light and cloud. Crushing weight of wave, and all is torrent and violent change. Fine particles float past the eye, clouds of life streaming, striding light shafts reveal thousands of fish swirling, dropping down, down.

 Head into the wind, shorten sail, drop sea anchor, deploy bilge pump.

The storm will pass."


Sam Scott, High Tide (The Four Tides), 1996
acrylic on canvas, 83.75 x 120 in.



"The great pulse beats slowly.It is time to crest and be still, to pause and rest. Time to savor that strange sense of timelessness when there is no longer a resistance to the flow of events and all is now.

The cock now crows at midnight, the sun shines in the rain. The constellations of the heavens reveal themselves in the deepest depths, where the languorous shadows of glowing giants pursue their own, unknown ways."

Sam Scott, High Tide Falling (The Four Tides), 1996
acrylic on canvas, 83.75 x 120 in.




"The grand dance begins again. The pull of the moon must be obeyed. Time moves as the wave: That which appears singular is only the one.

The painters job: To be properly lost in the storm of becoming. So the great regenerative cycles endure and abide, as we wonder and we praise."


Inquire about the series here or call 505-372-7681