This is the first in a series on Maine outdoor artists, authors, and craftsmen. We are blessed with amazing talent here in our state.
Wandering around the very interesting Fly Fishing Expo in Bethel on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I was amazed by huge paintings of fish. I spent a lot of time visiting with the young artist, Alex Poland of Oxford.
Alex is a fourth generation artist who was inspired by the art of his great grandmother and encouraged by his mother to develop what he calls his “visual fascination.” He remembers his mother “covering an entire wall in my room with paper so I could draw and color a sea wall mural!”
Alex planned to pursue an art degree in college, “but my practical side didn’t want to be a starving artist” so he got an undergraduate degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy. Today he works in his father’s business, Lloyd’s Land, managing the excavation work.
But fly fishing brought him back to art. Hear his passion for fish in his own words:
I feel that the real appeal of fly fishing has been the art of movement…. To be able to cast and create a beautiful fluid loop is a work of art. When you are out on the water, there is nothing else that matters, or that clogs your mind. The entire experience is mere perfection. Even the struggles to endure tough weather or the hardship of losing a large fish are a thing of beauty. I have learned as much about myself on the water as I have elsewhere in my life.
What keeps me coming back for more though, is the fish. Man, I love fish. The grandeur of the landscape is wonderful, and believe me I don’t take it for granted. The fish however, are what keep me up at night, make me day dream, and make me drive great distances. They are what inspire me to paint! I love their grace, beauty, shape, colors, and textures. They are a wonderful subject to catch and render on canvas.
What he renders on canvas will amaze you, as it did me. And I really appreciate Alex’s goal: “I really would love to see my art bring an awareness to the general public. Art and its beauty can make people stop and ponder. If a nonfisherman stopped and pondered the beauty of a trout I portrayed and thought about that trout’s wellbeing… then I did my job. Who knows what that thought could lead to in terms of conserving trout and their environments?”