Eastern Shore

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Project Description

Eastern Shore

This painting, which took three months to complete, is probably the best painting I’ve done in many years. Certainly, it is the most complicated and detailed. The “process” alone, which I will describe below took nearly a month.

The painting was commissioned to become the 2023 poster for the prestigious art show, the Waterfowl Festival, in Easton, Maryland. I have been privileged and honored to be part of the Festival since 1978, except for a dozen year “sabbatical” when I was playing in a baseball tournament in Florida during the same week as the show in November. In 1980 and again in 1990 I was commissioned to do the paintings for the Festival Directory cover and limited edition print for the 20th and 30th anniversaries respectively: “Festival ‘80” and “Festival ’90.” Both large originals are in the Waterfowl Festival permanent collection. In 1992, I was one of only two artists inducted into the Festival Hall of Fame, Inaugural class.

When I was asked to do the painting for the poster, I had already planned to use the gorgeous blue Eastern Shore cupboard that I found in an “Antiques” Magazine in a painting, so it was perfect for the poster. I couldn’t afford to buy the actual cupboard, so I built a replica in my studio, and began filling it with apropos “stuff” (props) relating to the Eastern Shore. Color is always important to me, and matching the 100-year-old blue paint was quite a challenge, and resulted in many “mixings.”

What to put in the painting? Oyster cans were a must, as were decoys and books relating to Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore in general. For several weeks I kept adding and subtracting items from the replica cupboard in my studio until I felt like I had a perfect composition. The photo of the old waterman, Captain John Berridge, of Tilghman Island was a perfect addition, but it did take three days to paint. The Brown Dog mug was another good addition, since the official Maryland “State Dog” is the Chessie Retriever. I kept adding and removing books from my extensive Eastern Shore library in my studio. Color was an important consideration, but most of the books are favorites anyway. I sneaked my Festival “Hall of Fame” plaque into the painting behind the Mallard decoy (which I carved years ago for my hunting rig, and will give to whomever buys the painting).

For several weeks I would walk into my studio early in the morning or late at night and simply sit down and look at the set-up in the cupboard. Finally, when it felt “right.” I started to draw. The drawing alone took over a month. While book titles are especially tedious, I could probably paint a decoy in my sleep. I often worked on this painting until the wee hours, so sleep was rare. But “Eastern Shore” was truly a labor of love, and in all honesty, I’m quite proud of it.

“Eastern Shore” posters, if not sold out by now, are available from the Waterfowl Festival website. In 2024 I will be releasing a large limited Giclee print on canvas. Stay tuned.

Original painting: 40 x 30” $15,000.


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