Of Lobster Buoys and Boats

When cruising the coast of Maine in a small boat (not a cruise ship), one thing is certain … you will see a LOT of lobster buoys. Lobster buoys are the floats attached to lines attached to lobster pots. Those pots are designed to entice lobsters into them with tasty bait fish .. well, tasty to the lobster, very smelly and unappealing to humans. 

Lobster buoys are navigational hazards for boaters. You will see boats weaving their way through water heavily laden with buoys .. seemingly taking a very erratic course. You don't want to hit the buoys as they can damage propellers and/or the lines that the buoys are attached to can wrap around the shaft that the propeller is mounted on and, in the worst case, stop you. If that happens, someone needs to go into the water and cut the line from around the shaft in order to be able to get underway again. Maine ocean water is anything but warm and the job can be hazardous.

You may be asking what all of that has to do with art.  Those same buoys at times, on a bright sunlit Maine day, can be things of beauty. Looking out across a bay covered with their many colored bobbing heads is something to see. It is joyful and happy .. an unplanned living painting by the many lobstermen/women who work the waters. They come in every color combination imaginable, both to make them easy to see and to make them easily identifiable for a particular lobsterperson.

Another sight of unintended artistry is the dance of the seagulls around lobsterboats as the trap bait is changed out … out with the old, in with the new and then the traps go back in the water. The gulls love that smelly old bait and wheel through the air competing for the tasty morsels, calling dibs in their less than melodious voices. 

There is art that surrounds every day in the simplest things .. all it takes is seeing.




Upcoming Show in March 2017

I will be having a small show in March at the Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery at 136 State Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  It will be part of the first in a series of Body of Work shows that will take place over the course of the year, sharing the spotlight with 7 other artists. 

I have 3 new works that I will be exhibiting called Moments of Quiet.  Once again, I have been drawn to paint the ocean. What is it about the ocean that draws us to it? To say it is fluid is redundant, after all it is water.  It can be as silent as a meditation or thunderous with crashing waves. It can be brilliant in blue, somber in gray or inky in black. It is ever moving even when there doesn't seem to be a breath of air or current touching it. It is deep even in its shallowest places. It can be transparent to the point of exposing grains of sand at its base or opaque enough to turn back our attempts to see its secrets. With all of that, I always find moments of quiet, of peace, of wisdom with the ocean ... a place to share my thoughts, to rest my soul.

Selling Paintings

I sold a painting recently ...  a piece that I really love and while I am thrilled that it has found a new home with someone it connected with, I will also miss it. That leads me to thinking about why I create art and, secondarily, why I sell my art.  

I paint for myself, for the joy of it, for the opportunity to take a creative impulse and turn it into something tangible. When a painting comes together (and they don't always), it sends a shiver of satisfaction and wonderment through me. It is never something I take for granted.  

Selling a painting is not in my mind while I am painting, but reality is that I can not keep every painting, I simply do not have the room. There are some paintings that I form a special relationship with, that I want to look at time and again, that I want to keep. Even these I offer for sale and I hope they will bring to someone else pleasure and a sense of wonder too.




August, Pulpit Harbor, Maine

As I sit on our boat at anchor in Pulpit Harbor, North Haven, I find myself thinking about what feeds the artistic soul.  For me it is nature in any form, the sounds of water slapping against the boat hull or the sight of an osprey riding the invisible currents of air or a wildflower bending in the wind.  I found the sight of a piece of kelp floating free and solitary in its death poignant and beautiful in its graceful movement and surrender to the inevitable.  I love taking the time to really look at and take in the little events of life ... The color of the firs as they dip to the mustard of the rockweed clinging to the granite, the furry gray of lupine seed pods, the smell of bayberry bushes lining a small island shore.  How can that not be inspiring, filling to the artistic belly?  


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Welcome to my website and inaugural blog. Starting a website has long been on my “want to do” list. With the incredible help of Danielle Antico and just a few birthing pains, I have arrived!

I hope you will take a few minutes to look at and enjoy my work. Please contact me with questions about purchasing or with any other questions and comments. There is a contact page on my website or email me at elizabethderbyfineart@comcast.net. I would love to hear from you.

This summer I will once again be spending time absorbing the beauty of the coast of Maine and look forward to its inspiration finding its way into another series of paintings. I love working on the 12" x 12" stretched canvas that I used in the Rhythm of Water series and while I will continue to work in that size, I also want to explore larger formats.

Currently, I am painting the blooms that are appearing everywhere. Nature provides a profusion of willing models and whether it is a simple flower like a daisy or a complex, over the top one like a peony, they are challenging subjects.


I hope you are enjoying the glory of summer!