Paper Houses - yellow
Paper Houses - red
Paper Houses - adobe
Truchas Series
Lobster Gut Series
Subways Crossing Series
Lower Basin Series
Color Column Series
Chama Valley Series
Buoy Strings Series, Page 1 of 2
Buoy Strings Series, Page 2 of 2
Buoy Strings Series Explanation
Sierra Nevada RR Series
Gallery House Series
Class One Railroads Model Photographs
Class One RR Series
Mergers & Acquisitions Series
Airport Series Model Photographs
Airport Series
Airport Series Enlargements
Grenada Series
Color Traffic Series
Streams-Bogs Series
Rainbow Polyphony Series
Upland Series
Fashion Series




Muscongus Bay, on the coast of Maine, includes the lobster fishing communities of New Harbor, on the west, Friendship, on the north, and Port Clyde, on the east. Lobstering is the principal occupation of Friendship, the community most familiar to me. I have spent summer vacations there for over thirty years. About one hundred lobstermen put down as many as eight hundred traps, each marked on the water surface by distinctly colored buoys. The trap and the buoy are connected by a rope called the warp. The color of the warp depends on the depth at which the trap will be set.

Coils of rope, in their Lifesaver colors, are piled in bundles on individual wharves. Six to ten traps are placed on the sea bottom in a compass line, called a string. This allows for easier retrieval in obscure weather. The lobsterman picks up the first buoy with a gaff, while his idling boat turns in a full circle. This maneuver provides the time to haul, empty, rebait and to release the trap. With grace, skill and efficiency, the boat is headed directly toward the next buoy of the string, fifty or sixty feet ahead.

My interest was to capture the colors, the motion and the depths of lobstering. I made a model to depict eighteen strings of buoys which I then arranged in stepped layers around the perimeter of a hollow cylinder. The candidate buoys were selected from the collection in the Friendship Town Hall. There, a wall case contains key-chain size, colored replicas of the local registered buoys.

My composition depicts the taut warps behind the cylinder of buoy strings. The blue banded background suggests the varying water depths. By photographing the model in a simulation of slanting sunlight, I could capture accurate shadows for inclusion in the painting. On a calm, sunny day in July, the water of Muscongus Bay sparkles with bright buoy colors, a purposeful decoration on the ocean's surface.

Malcolm Montague Davis

450 Harrison Avenue, Suite 313, Boston, MA 02118Tel 617-266-0460 E-mail mmd@malcolmmontaguedavis.comStudio visit by appointment.