Oil on canvas
36 x 24
Choosing an image to paint is one of the most difficult things about my job. I am not looking for a beautiful image as much as an image that is striking and speaks to me emotionally. I need to feel a presence, a sense of history, that there was life there. People worked, fought, loved, and cared for each other. Livings were made, deals struck, some good and some not.
In the fall of 2019, Cathy Rose and I set out to shoot photos around Atlantic, looking for images to spark our imaginations. She mentioned the boat "Down East”, a magnificent example of what life is like on the water. As I walked around her, I could sense a life of struggle and purpose, of years and years on the water and THAT was the story I wanted to tell!
We shot hundreds of images of the boat from all different angles. Somewhere in my photos, I knew that I had the image that I needed to paint. One that told the story about my visceral and emotional reactions to being there that day.
But what you see on this canvas isn't just the emotions I felt that on that particular day...
I started this painting before COVID. Over this last year, I struggled to get both the image of Down East and her story on my canvas. The results were mixed as my perspective and emotional state shifted. I painted only to paint it out and start again, and again. At times, I just walked away, self-doubt dogging my steps and thoughts.
Ultimately my feelings resolved themselves and I painted Down East, not as a boat that is stranded, overrun by life, and put out to die. Rather she is breaking the bonds of all the things holding her in place. The vines are not holding her down; she is breaking loose from them. We all struggle with things in our lives that hold us back, entangling and strangling our efforts. But there is life beyond what we see. We do not have to succumb to those things. We can push through and overcome whatever may be in our way. The struggle is real but there is joy on the other side.
Look at the bow of "Down East" ....... nothing will stop her.......... appropriate, I think.