Matinicus Island, Maine

artist statement

My fascination with the natural world and the challenges of the creative process has been central to a lifetime of adventures. During a full-time career in education, I was also a husband, parent, wildlife photographer, documentary filmmaker, sculptor, woodworker, writer and painter. I am now a reasonably successful, home-schooled painter whose efforts have evolved over years of observation, experimentation and hard work. 

At this moment I use acrylic paint and watercolors in a variety of styles, techniques and media to record life on a small island on the outer edge of Penobscot Bay, Maine with occasional forays into the world of mainland birds and fish. Years of island living has developed a deep respect for the struggles, challenges and fragility of island life and taught that a clear focus and simple message in both life and painting best honors the beauty, community and fragile edges of the small island on which I am privileged to live and work. For the past dozen years I have painted on Matinicus Island during the warmer months and along the Delaware River in Pennsylvania in the winter. This winter will be the first living and working on the west bank of the St. George River in Cushing, Maine.

My work is primarily focused on challenges to the culture and environment of islands in the Gulf of Maine and mainland riparian communities. My on-going Condon Cove series focuses on the cobble-stone beaches that form the edge of Matinicus Island. A second series of work developed over the past two years has focused on research, observation and paintings of North American trout and the impact that gas exploration and hydraulic-fracturing (fracking) has had on water quality and native fish populations.  Starting with a 2012 exhibit at the Maine based Island Institute, each of my major shows has had a specific environmental focus and been developed with an organization that seeks solutions to environmental, educational and preservation issues.

the artist reflects on his Condon Cove Series:

“...The paintings in this series are portraits of individual rocks that indirectly resemble actual beach stones. Each stone is positioned and painted in a spontaneous and meditative approach focused on defining its unique existence. My best work creates a "beach" that can only be discovered outside recognizable patterns, surfaces and shapes and reflects a constantly shifting world that exists in a complicated, unbalanced and chaotic pattern altered by each wave. Within this chaos I attempt to capture a moment of reflection, resolution and calm free from a traditional sense of balance, depth and space. Although some will attempt to discover an overarching organization and structure, I hope that most see the entirety of the work and acknowledge that, as in life, it can be a challenge to determine a clear course, a single point of focus, a narrative or even a quiet spot for the eye to rest…" 
news: November, 2016
In these unsure times, the words of poet, writer, activist and farmer Wendell Berry:

When despair for the world grows in me...

...and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Onward and Upward, Dave
     past news

exhibitions: 2016

publications: 2016

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