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Although the drawings did not get much attention at the time, they mark Homer's expanding skills from illustrator to painter. Like with his urban scenes, Homer also illustrated women during wartime, and showed the effects of the war on the home front. The war work was dangerous and exhausting. Back at his studio, Homer would regain his strength and re-focus his artistic vision. He set to work on a series of war-related paintings based on his sketches, among them Sharpshooter on Picket Duty (1862), Home, Sweet Home (1863), and Prisoners from the Front (1866).[12] He exhibited paintings of these subjects every year at the National Academy of Design from 1863 to 1866.[8] Home, Sweet Home was shown at the National Academy to particular critical acclaim; it was quickly sold and the artist was consequently elected an Associate Academician, then a full Academician in 1865.[10] During this time, he also continued to sell his illustrations to periodicals such as Our Young Folks and Frank Leslie's Chimney Corner.[8]
In 1883, Homer moved to Prouts Neck, Maine (in Scarborough), and lived at his family's estate in the remodeled carriage house seventy-five feet from the ocean.[32] During the rest of the mid-1880s, Homer painted his monumental sea scenes. In Undertow (1886), depicting the dramatic rescue of two female bathers by two male lifeguards, Homer's figures "have the weight and authority of classical figures".[33] In Eight Bells (1886), two sailors carefully take their bearings on deck, calmly appraising their position and by extension, their relationship with the sea; they are confident in their seamanship but respectful of the forces before them. Other notable paintings among these dramatic struggle-with-nature images are Banks Fisherman, The Gulf Stream, Rum Cay, Mending the Nets, and Searchlight on Harbor Entrance, Santiago de Cuba. Some of these he repeated as etchings.[34]

In these years, Homer received emotional sustenance primarily from his mother, brother Charles, and sister-in-law Martha ("Mattie"). After his mother's death, Homer became a "parent" for his aging but domineering father and Mattie became his closest female intimate.[36] In the winters of 1884–5, Homer ventured to warmer locations in Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas and did a series of watercolors as part of a commission for Century Magazine. He replaced the turbulent green storm-tossed sea of Prouts Neck with the sparkling blue skies of the Caribbean and the hardy New Englanders with Black natives, further expanding his watercolor technique, subject matter, and palette.[37] During this trip he painted Children Under a Palm Tree for Lady Blake, the Governor's wife. His tropical stays inspired and refreshed him in much the same way as Paul Gauguin's trips to Tahiti.[38]


To remove a bad piece of siding, you have to pull out two rows of nails: the ones in the bad board itself, and those in the board directly above. Siding is thin and splits easily, so the tricky part of this job is pulling nails without damaging surrounding boards. A cat’s paw is the best tool for digging out nails if damage to the surrounding wood doesn’t matter (Photo 1).
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