Glassy waters swirl around a buoy in the harbor at Southport, Maine. A reflection of the red-roofed cottage moves with the gentle ripples on the surface. A dinghy is tied to the dock — who wouldn’t want to go for a row?
Sally Caldwell Fisher says she painted the acrylic work, Southport Cottage, after a cruise to the islands off Boothbay. “The cottage sits up on the rocks like the answer to a dream just as you pass beneath the old swing bridge in Southport,” she says. “There is adventure before you and behind you as it catches the eye.”
The self-taught artist draws frequently on her life Down East, where she and her fisherman husband raised their family. “Our life in New Harbor was always greatly enriched by our experiences on the water in our lobster boat, Potato,” she says. “Observing the water in its moods and reflections from eye level has afforded me invaluable inspiration to paint.”
For Southport Cottage, Caldwell Fisher chose acrylics, a water-based paint that suits her style. “It is my preferred medium because it is fast and workable, although not very forgiving,” she says. “One of my rules is to work fast, with lots of paint and big motion, to lay in the larger shapes and shadows of the water. Smaller shapes of light, motion and objects in and upon it give it fluidity and surface.”
Although she’s drawn inspiration from history, narrative and marine subjects, the coast of Maine and its waters have been a constant wellspring of ideas. “I feel the permanence of granite and the restlessness of water continuously confronting one another, and the call to the human spirit to inhabit the edges,” she says. “All the time spent on the water has deeply affected my work.”
To view this and other works by Sally Caldwell Fisher, 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 April 2018 issue.