Lonny Sisson painted many local scenes during his years as an artist in Boothbay Harbor. He and his family lived just off Bay Street on the East side. One of the views from his house overlooked Barrett’s Park and Linekin Bay. He could walk down over the hill, cross Lobster Cove Road, and paint until the cows came home.
Lonny loved the views and seasons of Lobster Cove. He liked it so much he named it for himself. “Silver Cove” became the subject of hundreds of paintings. Winter, spring, summer and fall. High tide and drain tide. Morning and night. Sunlit, overcast, Wind and rain.
When I went to Albuquerque to photograph a collection of his work, I was astonished by how many of his paintings were influenced by this place in his life. And in many of his small, medium and large works depicting “Silver Cove” the placement of his distinctive dory became a signature. I think the dory gave him ocean, movement, still and simplicity. It was a way for him to place himself in a painting. Even some of his western paintings resembled the Maine coast.
I was smitten by the dory too, long before I met Lonny. Something about the shape, the curve and the float. Nothing I can quite explain. Almost a spiritual quality.
The photo above was made around 1980 or so. At that time I was lugging around a Mamiya “RB67” medium format camera. It had a rotating back reminiscent of the old “Crown Graphic,” a 4X5 workhorse of day’s gone by. And nothing like the fresh of falling snow.
This photograph has made its rounds. It became a poster, a notecard and ultimately the cover photo for a book I did with British author Jenny Joseph, titled “Beached Boats.”
Subjects like this don’t show up every day, nor does the spirit of Lonny.
The dory lives on.