Working with multiple media and serious themes, John Hutchinson of Chatham, Massachusetts, rightly claims our attention with his maritime paintings.
Hutchinson’s passion for maritime history joins with a lifetime of boating experience to make his historic New England ocean vessels a potent and passionate choice. After graduating from Harvard University in 1963 he served as a naval officer aboard aircraft carriers for more than three years. Discharge left him searching for something, which turned out to be painting, with acrylic medium on canvas and wood panel to begin.
In Salem, Massachusetts, his first home, his work focused on vessels that sailed the waters at the turn of the century–racing yachts, tugs, cat boats, pilot and fishing schooners, steamers and a variety of working boats. These utilitarian craft were so common once, he explains, they were hardly noticed, yet were essential to local commercial development. Later he turned to painting wildlife, salt marshes, his children, and wooden beach wagons as well. (Salt hay from the coastal marshes was once a vital local harvest.)
Frequently he works on projects with his artist friend Racket Shreve: it all began with a plan to create together and hang a mock exhibition of faked Winslow Homer art. Not for deception but for fun!
In fact Hutchinson’s creativity pushes him into numerous unexpected media, wood carvings for example. His carved flounder was made to give to his nephew Stephen Fitz, a West Coast fisherman of flatfish and sand dabs using Scottish seines. (Steve and his wife Dr Stephanie Fitz own one of my art pieces: he is who first referred me to John Hutchinson’s art, so I am doubly grateful to them both!)
VENUES. See his work in the permanent collections of Torchmark Services of Boston, the State Street Bank, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. Hutchinson’s art work is included in Yacht Portraits, a 1987 book by Karen Hoare and Fabio Rattti.
Now you may also find the artist and his work at his gallery in Chatham, a town on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, at 56 Silverleaf Avenue. His studio and home are also set on the shores of that same village. The compound includes his family and, naturally, a small fleet of wooden boats. (The geography: he moved some years ago, from Salem, north of Boston, to Chatham, south of Boston and onto C ape Cod.)
LINK. Online find an extensive set of his many paintings showcased at his artist website.
This artist clearly is one of those “in love with the sea” and seeking eagerly for new ways to express his love. We his viewers and fans get to enjoy the festive feeling and happy results. The warm light and color he adopts are exciting. The drama he portrays with his views of real disaster-in-the-making is moving. He touches us with the beauty of danger, which makes him a master!–CLH