The scene is typical of Midcoast Maine. A snug harbor, lobster and fishing boats, wharves along the shore and the sturdy buildings of the village’s sturdy inhabitants. Blue water beckons beyond, and pine-clad islands dot the horizon.
But there’s more. As with so many of Sally Caldwell Fisher’s works, there’s a story behind the scene. This is home, New Harbor, the Maine village where the self-taught artist and her husband raised their family. Greg Fisher worked as a lobsterman and tuna fisherman, and the kids played in the streets and knocked about the harbor. The houses, the sheds and barns, the wildflowers — it’s all familiar, part of her life. “There is always a lot of water activity, always things going on in that beautiful harbor,” Fisher says.
The Michigan-born artist is known for works depicting New England coastal life. “I am greatly inspired by the hard-working people of New England,” Fisher says. “There’s poetry in the fishing, the logging, the industries that kept them alive.”
And living in Maine, the Midwesterner was drawn to the sea. “We always had boats — wooden sailboats, a schooner and skiffs for the kids,” she says. “All the time spent on the water has deeply affected my work. Once you fall hard for the ocean, it becomes a constant; it feels endless and eternal, filled with mysterious life.”
Fisher’s mother was a gifted watercolorist who encouraged a love of art in her children. “We grew up in a family of books, many of them art books,” Fisher says. “So we kids looked at everything from Raphael to Miró.”
Fisher started with watercolors, working on the ping-pong table in the basement. She studied literature in college and has never had formal art training. “I never even thought of going to art school. I am no classical artist,” she says. “I am a painter whose work is her greatest source of well-being.”
To view this and other works by Sally Caldwell Fisher, go to 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 July 2016 issue.