The Shape of Waters exhibit has already started at the Deer Isle Artists Association in Deer Isle Village. I have five paintings in the show, all of which depict some kind of work.
When I left journalism to work for a labor union, I thought I should decorate my office with an image of an American worker. So I went to the National Gallery of Art, thinking the gift shop would have a poster, print or even a notecard depicting someone at work.
I was hoping for a nice big WPA poster,
but I would have settled for a print of an Ashcan School painting — McSorley’s Bar, for example.
By the time I’d spent an hour looking through the merchandise, I would have been happy to find a notecard with Millet’s The Gleaners on it.
I couldn’t find one single reproduction of a painting, print or sculpture that showed an American working. I’d soon learn how invisible the working class is in the United States, but that’s a whole other story.
Since moving to Deer Isle I’ve started to paint people at work. Usually I’ll spot them in a certain light or against a certain backdrop and I’ll ask them if I can take their picture. I take a bunch, then sometimes I go back and study the setting a little more. That’s what I did when I spotted Danielle washing windows at Inn on the Harbor.
The painting now hangs against the yellow wall in the Inn on the Harbor lobby.
Since then I’ve done more, including Kim at 44 North. That painting — 44 North — is now in the Shape of Waters show.
I also have a painting of Dan collecting beach glass at Scott’s Landing, which is work to him, in the Shape of Waters show. Others show a painter caulking a windowsill, a shipyard worker scraping a boat, and the Stonington town cat — yes, that would be Dundee) supervising the town.
So come by and see the Shape of Waters show. There’s a reception from 3-5 pm on Sunday, July 8, at the gallery, where you can meet all the artists.