001 / Pandemic Artwork Stories




The Gulf Stream by Tom Sadler

Where are you painting from and what have you been doing to keep busy?

I am painting in my studio so there is nothing really out of the ordinary as far as studio work. My wife Sally Evan's and I take trips northward on the St. John's River in our little skiff photographing and looking for ideas. It's been easy to social distance in a boat. Sometimes we have beached the boat and painted on location. Normally the places we choose to paint are out of the way spots where you don't see other folks anyway. I am fortunate to have some landscape commissions to work on over the next few months to keep me busy and to help keep us afloat.

How does this piece differ, if at all, from your typical painting style and how did you find inspiration from your surroundings for it?

I painted a version of Homer's "The Gulf Stream" because I identified with the Bahamian in the boat being isolated and hoping to survive. His situation looks grim being dismasted in a sailboat that is tossed by the seas even as a waterspout brews in the distance. Sharks are circling and I've added a floating Coronavirus to add further to the sense of peril. But his look of hope was inspiring to me and a  ship on the horizon symbolize his possible rescue and to my mind also a vaccine. I tried to emulate Winslow Homer's style which is not vastly different from my own but a welcome challenge to reconstruct his drawing and design. Having fished several times recently in a friend's boat in the Gulf Stream this painting became even more significant to me and now seems to represent not only feelings of dread but also the hope of getting rescued from the pandemic. So that was my inspiration, to look for the same hope that this man has in his seemingly doomed boat.

What is one positive that has come from this experience for you?

Most positives are the obvious ones that happened with the lockdown which meant less traffic to deal with and cleaner air for all of us to breathe. Also more people getting outdoors and appreciating nature to a fuller extent whether biking, walking or taking to the water in kayaks and canoes and wife and I have done more often of late. 

What is one of your favorite pieces in the collection from a fellow artist?

One of my favorites in the collection is Debbie Mueller painting "Monhegan Blues". I like the loneliness that you feel even with the strong color. 

Learn more about Tom's artwork and story here