Nantucket Harbor, Massachusetts. We’re looking across the main channel toward Brant Point Light; the Coatue Wildlife Refuge is behind and to the right of this iconic island symbol, with Wauwinet in the distance.
“This is a great spot to sit and watch a parade of vessels heading into or out of the inner harbor, as they all must pass very close to the light itself,” says the artist, David Bareford. “In this painting, it’s late afternoon, and long shadows spread across the beach, focusing our attention on the lighthouse. Often, a subject which has little interest for the artist at one time of day becomes a thing of beauty as the sun begins to set.”
The scene is done in oils, although the 71-year-old artist worked in watercolors early in his distinguished career. (He’s an International Marine Exhibition Award of Excellence winner). “The difference between oils and watercolors are these,” Bareford says. “Watercolor is more like a live performance, and oils are a building process. Watercolor requires a very careful process if one is to arrive at the desired result, whereas oils seem more direct.”
The scene is a natural for Bareford. “I’ve always liked painting lighthouses,” he says. “Perhaps because as a kid on the Jersey Shore in the summer, we loved to go over to Long Beach Island and visit Barnegat Light. Imagine how exciting it was for us as children to climb the 217 steps up to the observation deck.”
Those childhood experiences still have a direct influence on Bareford’s work as a marine artist. His father taught him to sail at an early age, and he’s been drawn to the water ever since. “My family spent our summers on the Jersey Shore, on Lake Champlain and Southold, Long Island,” he says. “There’s no question that this was a great influence on me and what I paint. [We were] always fishing, swimming or sailing, and those experiences were always positive.”
To view this and other works by David Bareford, visit the J. Russell Jinishian Gallery website at jrusselljinishiangallery.com or visit the gallery at 1899 Bronson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut.
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue.