Amos, Wade, Lumper, Newman, Eliot, and Barry. They work the local docks. They are Mainers, born and raised. They are coastal life personified. They are the iconic fisherman of David Witbeck. And from now until June 16, you will find these boys on the walls of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture.
Through the years we have become quite familiar with Witbeck’s fishermen. Still, questions remain. Where did they come from? And more importantly, how did they find their way into Witbeck’s studio? Lucky for us, Witbeck is not only an artist but a storyteller.
As a freelance photographer, he used to love to go out on commercial fishing vessels when he had free time. Often, he toyed with the idea of doing an extended photo-essay, but he could never justify the amount of time away from ‘paying jobs.’ “Truth be told, I usually had more fun talking with the crews and helping to sort fish than making pictures,” says Witbeck, thinking back on the memory.
When he later started painting, fishing seemed to be the natural subject matter for him. “I wanted my paintings to be iconic rather than descriptive. For descriptive focus, photography would have been a better way to do it. I wanted to paint.” Initially, it was just for the fun of it, but then one morning about ten years ago, just before waking up, he found his inspiration.
“I had had one of those wonderful little REM sleep dreams. A guy was holding a fish. There just happened to be a sketchbook on the floor beside the bed, and I made this little ten-second doodle,” laughs Witbeck. “The rest is history.”
They have certainly come a long way.
And so goes the story of how Amos, Wade, Lumper, Newman, Eliot, and Barry came to spend the first part of this summer at Maine Art in David Witbeck’s one-man show. We welcome you to come and meet these characters for yourself. They are even more spectacular in person. The gallery is open every day from 10am – 5pm at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. If you aren’t able to make it in, view the entire show at www.maine-art.com. For more Witbeck, view our complete collection by clicking his Artist Page.
A David Witbeck Side Note –
“I also made another doodle, tentatively called, ‘The Last Fish.’ Yet, after ten years, and more than 300 fisherman paintings, I haven’t quite got to it yet.” For a few reasons we, as loyal Witbeck fans, hope the last fish never comes.
To read more about David Witbeck on our blog, click here.
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