A client from Bethesda, Maryland approached me in spring, 2008 with a concept for a painting. As a young boy, during the latter part of the 1940s, he and his family would spend summers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with relatives. They would drive to Sandy Point, near Annapolis, and take the auto ferry across the Chesapeake Bay to Matapeake and then on to Aunt Joan’s home. On one crossing in 1948, my friend made a photo of the ferryboat itself as well as a locally built wooden crabbing skiff which he found near his Aunt’s home. The photos were lost for over 50 years and once found, he conceived his plan. He presented the photos to me and explained his vision. We researched the ferry and found it to be the Gov. Harry W. Nice which ran across the Chesapeake until 1952 when the Bay Bridge opened and the ferry was sold.
I began sketches showing the two vessels passing on the bay off Sandy point with the old brick lighthouse in the background. Against all odds my client located the ferry, renamed Olympic in Seattle, Washington on the Puget Sound. The modern-day photos from Seattle were very helpful in filling in the blanks pertaining to the details of the vessel. After review and approval of my sketches and a subsequent oil study, I completed the major painting.
My friend and client is a collector of art, a boater, a fisherman and lover of the Chesapeake and Atlantic shore. He now enjoys living with a visual representation of some of fondest childhood memories. This is his second Barber commission.
The “Crossing” study is oil on art board, 4 5/8” x 7 5/8”. The major painting is oil on linen canvas 16” x 27”, overall framed size 22 ½” x 33 ½”. Illustrated is an image of major painting.
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John M. Barber