David Sears

Artist's Statement

For seventy-plus years I have been immersed in water - Pennsylvania creeks, New Hampshire lakes, Cape Cod beaches, the coast of Nova Scotia, the Delaware River and now the Gulf of Maine. I have explored nature with the eyes of a child and the awareness of a student, parent, educator, photographer, filmmaker, woodworker, writer and painter. In each stage my pattern has been to gather knowledge from a small section of the natural world and share it through creative, site-specific activities. For the past two decades I have lived part of each year on Matinicus, a small Maine island on the outer edge of Penobscot Bay, where I make things and try to understand life on a mountaintop surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. My island work includes paintings about island edges and nautical charts, paintings of cobblestones from island beaches, paintings and carvings of salt and fresh-water fish and, most recently, painted carvings of birds including local seabirds made from wooden lobster buoys made on and fished around Matinicus.

My carved birds reflect a long fascination with objects from cultures where artisans produced things reflecting their needs and the specific places they lived. These primarily functional objects document the intense relationship and site-specific knowledge each maker has with the smallest details of their environment. Often considered “fine art”, these objects combine pragmatic function, sophisticated woodworking, decorations associated with tribal history, traditional stories and cultural celebrations with colors, patterns and designs based on animals important as sources of food. I hope my birds honor those traditions, push the concept a little further and encourage a more considered appreciation of traditional skills, the fragility of coastal and island environments and the need to preserve both unspoiled locales and living things.

Over the years my work has supported many environmental and educational groups including the Island Institute, OceansWide, the Matinicus Island School, the Tinicum Conservancy, Friends of the Upper Delaware River, the Georges River Land Trust, the Maine Seacoast Mission, Maine Audubon and the Maine Fishermen’s Association provide information, increase awareness and raise funds for special projects.

Exhibition Highlights


Artemis Gallery - August 3-17 and online - Northeast Harbor, ME

“Black Bird” - May 25-June11 - Salt Pond Studio - Friendship, ME

“Avian Artistry: Treasures from Mount Desert Island Collections”- Wendell Gilley Museum - May 15-August 15 - Southwest Harbor, ME

“Lobstermen” - July 27-August 13 - Salt Pond Studio - Friendship, ME

“The Art of Penobscot Bay” - July 1 - January, 2024 - Thos Moser Gallery - Freeport ME - featuring artists whose work appears in the book Art of Penobscot Bay by Carl and David Little HighWater Studio - July - September - Matinicus Island, ME


Harbor Square Gallery - “Flight Risk - TheFineArt of Birds “ - group show benefitting Maine Audubon at Harbor Square Gallery in Rockland, Maine - June-October, 2022.

Artemis Gallery - Northeast Harbor, ME - Group Show - August 4 - 18, 2022 and online - HighWater Studio - MatinicusIsland,ME - June - September - New Work - By chance or appointment.


Artemis Gallery - July, 2021 - Group Show and HighWater Studio - Matinicus Island


2020 - Artemis Gallery - July, 2020 - Group Show and HighWater Studio - Matinicus Island


Artemis Gallery - August, 2019 - Group Show and HighWater Studio - Matinicus Island


“Sticks and Stones” - Cushing, ME - Solo Show and HighWater Studio - Matinicus Island


“Untitled” - SFA Gallery , Frenchtown, New Jersey and HighWater Studio - Matinicus Island


"CONDON COVE - New Work” - HighWater Studio - Matinicus Island, ME


“WATERSHED” - SFA Gallery, Frenchtown, New Jersey - Solo Show and HighWater Studio - Matinicus Island


“LOCALS - Island Artists Group Show” - HighWater Studio/Gallery - Matinicus, ME


“EDGES” – New Maine Work - Archipelago Fine Arts Gallery, Rockland, ME -July-Sept - 2012 - Solo Show


“Untitled" - Bucks County Commerce Center, Doylestown, PA - Solo Show and HighWater Studio - Matinicus Island


“New Work” - Archipelago Fine Arts Gallery, Rockland, ME - Group Show


“Change of Directions” - Center Bridge, PA - Solo Show, - Stover Mill Gallery, Erwinna, PA - Group Show - "Environmental Art" - Graphic Imagining Gallery, Plumstead, PA - Group Show


“New Work” - Mixed Media Gallery - Doylestown, Pennsylvania - Group Show


River Run Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey - Group Show - Mixed Media Gallery - Doylestown, Pennsylvania - Group Show


Tinicum Arts Festival - Erwinna, Bucks County, PA - Honors for pastel - Group Show - Stover Mill Gallery, Erwinna, Pennsylvania - Group Show - Phillips Mill Fall Exhibition - New Hope, Pennsylvania -Group Show



“ To The Light/We Gathered As a Community” (Acrylic/canvas/wood//cardboard/painted frame - 36x48 - 2011 - Collection of Eva Murray - Matinicus Island) will be included in “The Art of Penobscot Bay” by Carl and David Little, Islandport Press, Fall 2023-ISBN-139781952143502


MaineBoats.com The Website of the Coast - August, 2020 - One Island Library on a Mission

Maine Home and Design - Art Maine Issue - February, 2020 page 60


Maine Home and Design - Art Maine Issue Annual Guide to Maine's Most Notable/Collectible Artists

Where the Magic Happens: Cushing Artists Open Their Studios - The Free Press

Cushing Artists Open Studio Weekend - Penobscot Bay Pilot


Knox Village Soup - July 6, 2018

The Free Press


Laura Bohn - Ways of Seeing - Pointed Leaf Press - 2017 - ISBN: 978-1-938461-401

New York Times - “What You Get for 2.2 Million - Bohn-Fiore Bucks County Property" -  July 5, 2017 


Interior Design Home - Fall, 2015 

Maine Home+Design - May, 2015 - “The Canvas” 


Island Journal - “David Sears: A Matinicus Artist Charts His Course", Carl Little - Island Institute

2009 - 2020

Island Reader- Anthology of Island Writing and Art - Maine Seacoast Mission


All work created by David Sears (c)
Using Format