Shape of Waters at the Deer Isle Artists Association

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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.

Why 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,

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but I would have settled for a print of an Ashcan School¬†painting — McSorley’s Bar, for example.

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McSorley’s Bar by John Sloan.

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.

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Jean-Francois Millet, The Gleaners

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.

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Danielle

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.

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44 North

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.

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