Seascapes: Waterman’s half acre - Soundings Online

Seascapes: Waterman’s half acre

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Chesapeake Bay has been Nancy Hammond’s font of inspiration for 40 years. Though born and raised in upstate New York, the 74-year-old artist has spent much of her adult life along the Bay’s shores and cruising its waters on her sloop, Northern Spy.

Cut paper by Nancy Hammond.

Using a variety of media, including silkscreen and lithograph, Hammond continues to bring her perspective to scenes of children, dogs, racing sailboats, lighthouses, Bay watercraft and even the Naval Academy. All have found their way into her Annapolis, Maryland, gallery.

If you walk into her studio by the Chester River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, you might see various projects underway, with crayons, acrylic paint, glue and colorful paper scraps carpeting the floor. (She also designs scarves, jewelry, shirts, place mats, etched-crystal bowls and neckties.)

In the cut-paper work Waterman’s Half Acre, Hammond created a little corner of the world where a Chesapeake Bay fisherman could retire in comfort. There’s a garden cottage, a workboat and a shed — along with a view of the Bay, of course. The piece started with a simple question. “I was wondering what a waterman would answer if asked where and how he would retire,” Hammond says. “I figured he’d say, ‘Just give me a shack and a half-acre on the water so I can see the ships go by.’ ”

She turned to cut paper — one of her favorite media — to turn the concept into art. The idea was to “whittle everything down to shape and flat color,” she says. The result is a whimsical, engaging scene that invites the viewer in. “How many old salts would like to putter in the shed, repaint the hull, sand the tiller and check the ’scape with the binoculars?” Hammond asks. “All of them!”

Nancy Hammond Editions publishes Hammond’s work exclusively. Her gallery is at 192 West St. in Annapolis. nancyhammondeditions.com

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue.