If a picture is worth a thousand words, a painting is worth a million. Why? It has freedom. It doesn’t have to be exact. It is better – above what can be captured on film. David Witbeck was a freelance photographer for almost thirty years, so it is not a surprise that he is sometimes asked if he works from photographs. “I don’t,” says Witbeck. “It’s a joy to be freed from the bonds of the objective reality and just make stuff up.” However, as we all can attest to, rules are made to be broken. “Every once in a while though” he admits, “a photograph will trigger an idea.”
“Several months ago my wife and I were looking through piles of old snapshots and came across a picture of us, circa 1988,” shares David. In the background of the photo a beautiful 17’ Swampscott Dory can be seen. It was built by the Landing School in Kennebunk. “We used to rent a house in Tenant’s Harbor for the month of August. We rowed almost every day, regardless of the weather. We had many wonderful times with that little boat.”
David thought it would be fun to somehow use the photo in his art and started a painting. “It became too much of a copy of the photograph, so I abandoned it. It still sits unfinished, face against my studio wall.” Luckily for us, the photograph continued to poke at his imagination. “I kept looking at the photo. I knew there was something that eventually would come from it.” One morning, months later, he walked into his studio, picked up a piece of charcoal and in an hour or so had a drawing that resulted in one of his most recent woodblock prints, “Fishwife”.
Presently, this woodblock print hangs in the Holiday Show at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture. We welcome you to come to the gallery on 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk to get a first had peek at this print, as well as the rest of the Holiday Show. We are open from 10 – 5 everyday. The show will run until December 31st. Remember, you can also see the show on-line at www.maine-art.com.
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