Reno artist Wes Lee showing 521 Days exhibit at Western Nevada College in Carson City |

Reno artist Wes Lee showing 521 Days exhibit at Western Nevada College in Carson City

Courtesy Western Nevada College
Reno artist Wes Lee’s ‘Day 490’ is part of his 521 Days collection now showing at Western Nevada College’s Main Gallery.
Courtesy |

Wes Lee’s inspiration for an art project may be quite different from that of most painters.

The Reno artist’s new body of work was inspired by constructing his own boat and sailing at sea for a lengthy time.

“A boat, an expedition, indeed a daring adventure changed everything,” said Lee, whose “521 Days” exhibit is being shown at Western Nevada College’s Main Gallery in Carson City through Wednesday, Nov. 16.

As a boy, Lee became hooked on sailing on his uncle’s 26-footer off of Long Beach, Calif. Lee learned what sailing provided his uncle.

“He disappeared one night, never made it back to shore,” Lee said. “Even then, I knew we all needed to get away from something. Sailing was his way.”

For Lee, sailing eventually became his escape from his desk job in San Francisco.

“On breaks and at lunch, I read,” Lee said. “I thought that was all I was doing, reading. But looking back, I realize it was more like searching, remembering.”

He read adventure books of travels on the open sea and stories of exotic islands. Lee also studied fictional characters and explorers such as Captain Ahab, James Cook and Davy Jones.

“I began to hear their voices calling out to me,” he said. “One night, it was my uncle’s voice, ‘Life is a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”

Lee’s memories and his love of sailing inspired him to build his own boat — a 22-foot trail-able offshore cruiser with a double sail and cabin. He sailed it from San Francisco to the South Pacific.

The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s located in the Bristlecone Building at 2201 W. College Parkway in Carson City.