“All my work is essentially big shapes based ever so loosely on reality,” says David Witbeck.
Witbeck is one week into a three-week show at Maine Art Gallery. He has taken over the entire first floor and this new collection of work is fabulous. His subjects range from pole wharves to harbor scenes to his classic fishermen and lobstermen.
“Regardless of what the nominal subject matter of my work may appear to be,” says Witbeck, “to me, my paintings are about making interesting shapes and composing the surface of the canvas in a pleasing way.”
Be it the larger than life Hank, the fisherman, or the harbor of Blue, Blue Bay, it is easy to spot a Witbeck original work once you have seen one.
“I start just about every painting by drawing one big shape, the “subject” directly on the canvas. By default that leaves a second shape, the “background,” explains Witbeck. “I try to refine the two shapes so they’re both interesting. Even my landscape, seascape, and harbor scenes are essentially a sky or water shape combined with a land shape.”
After that the subject gets subdivided into smaller shapes. in the case of his fishermen, for example, to suggest clothing and such. Then other small shapes are attached to the primary shape to suggest the fish or the lobsters, or even the clever little seagull that finds his way into many of Witbeck’s pieces. “I usually add some little details to the background to suggest a boat, a gull or a piece of land, which creates the illusion of a middle ground.”
“A compositional thing I do, which adds to the two-shape idea, is when I add these little details to the background, I usually ‘attach’ them either to the figure or to the edges of the canvas,” he explains how he keeps his work connected. “Few of my paintings have more than a couple ‘free-floating’ shapes. “That is, the shapes are not attached to one another nor to the edge of the canvas.”
This is by far the most diverse collection of Witbeck’s work we have seen here at Maine Art Gallery. We love the variety of both subject and size. It is truly a wonderful show. The work is simple and clean, but never loses the honest feel of Maine and the way it should be.
Witbeck’s Solo Show is at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. It will run through October 23. We are open every day at 10 am. Please check the website or call for closing hours as they will change later in the fall. You can also see the entire show virtually by clicking the show link here. David Witbeck – A Solo Show 2017
Click here for the website – www.maine-art.com or call (207) 967 – 2803 FMI
To read more about David Witbeck click here – David Witbeck – Artist Insights
To see our entire collection of Witbeck’s work click here – David Witbeck – Artist Page