William Hoyt on the Harbor Fish Market and the Seagull Explosion

Hoyt_Harbor Fish Market

“Kathy and I were in Portland down on Commercial Street. We had been revisiting old venues, and I was feeling a bit uninspired. Walking out on the pier, we looked at different angles. As we were coming back in, a lobsterman pulled up and was loading his traps. As we stood there, more and more seagulls appeared, as if they knew. Then the door to the fish market opened. The man came out with a tub of fish guts or something, and suddenly the air was filled with seagulls. The seagull explosion just caught my eye.

I needed to come back and let the pictures create themselves.

I completed the setting with a few birds, then I had to figure out which birds would make it to the big canvas. This is where the studies began. I had to have many practice panels before I was ready to put them into the large piece. Based on the studies, I started deciding where to place each seagull, or not to place it at all. I would spend a day painting various birds and working the sky and putting clouds in. Then, I’d call Kathy to come up and ask her what she thought. Her response was always the same. ‘Well, there were more birds.’



We have counted forty-five birds in all! The one over next to the traps was the last one I did. When I add an element to a painting, it changes the balance of where I am looking. It became an empty space. It needed a bird.

I also broke lines with a few seagulls. I’ve noticed over the years, artists tend to avoid placing objects over one another. In nature, that doesn’t happen. I’ve tried to make them cross over to make it seem more natural.”


To read more stories from William B. Hoyt regarding his work at Maine Art, click here –  Artist Insights – William B. Hoyt.

Hoyt’s one-man show will be running through September 5 at Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk. We are open from 11am – 5pm every day. Please come by and visit.

You can also view his entire show online at William Hoyt at Maine Art Shows.

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