George Robert Carpenter
(1928 - 2006)
(Photo courtesy of New England artist David Lussier’s blog)
Artist George Carpenter’s oil seascape hangs near the top of the stairs on the second floor of the Canton Public Library. Library records indicate that it was gifted to the library by the artist after a painting demonstration c. the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. Paintings from George’s extensive body of work can be found in a wide range of places including Brunswick Mills in Maine, Mills College in Oakland, CA and the private collection of the late Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Over his lifetime, Mr. Carpenter lectured and demonstrated his painting technique in most of the Continental U.S. and Canada, as well as in Europe.
After moving to Maine with his wife Virginia in 1963, Boston-born George Carpenter eventually opened his own gallery in Perkins Cove--a picturesque part of Ogunquit--joining a long line of artists in that particularly effervescent artistic community. Self-taught, George became an internationally recognized plein air artist and award-winning master impressionist working in oils and watercolors. His work reflected his deep love of New England and particularly for the Maine coast. A friend and contemporary of George remembered well his mantra “You have to go to your subject matter. It’s not going to come to you” as well as his legendary work ethic which sadly--but perhaps fittingly--found him painting at his easel, as usual, outside his studio when a heart attack claimed his life in 2006. George was 77 years old.
Dyslexic, tenacious, irascible and a “grizzled bear of a guy” were all terms used to describe George by his friends, fans, fellow artists and those he mentored. He preferred to barter rather than buy, played the drums as well as spoons and could paint a saleable landscape from little more than memory. George was a much-loved fixture of the community he helped put on the map, though not inhibited enough by friendship to state and act on his strong feelings; he thought nothing of not speaking for months at a time to someone whom he felt had slighted him or his work. When it was over for George, it was over--including the friendship hiatus; the relationship would then resume when he felt ready to go forward.
George Carpenter’s work stands as testimony to the results achieved when an artist is truly in communion with the subject matter that speaks especially to him. His ability to observe and translate to the canvas the nuances of light and fog with accuracy and affection are his legacy and are captured in the hundreds of his paintings that others may now enjoy for many years to come.
We hope that you take notice of and appreciate George Carpenter’s work which hangs on the second floor of the Canton Public Library.
Folder, Director’s Office, Canton Public Library, among records pertaining to the library’s permanent art collection, items on/from George Carpenter and referencing his oil seascape gift c. late 1970’s/early 1980’s.