Painter William Duffy on Art You’ll Never Find in a Gallery

We were able to connect with renowned maritime painter William Duffy just as he was completing a large commission. “There’s a spot in Nantucket that I’ve been painting for 25, maybe 30 years,” he explained. “It’s been very important to me. The nuances of color that nature can conjure up – there’s nothing like it. I could go to the exact same spot, but at different times – morning, noon, midnight under a full moon – and come away with a different painting every time.”

 Sankaty Light Nantucket – from the artist’s website

Sankaty Light Nantucket – from the artist’s website

Relationships are Key to a Successful Art Career

“Sending work to galleries is great,” Duffy said. “I’ve done that. Lots of artists do that. It’s important to get your work out there. Marketing for artists can be challenging. You almost have to divorce yourself – on one hand, you’re doing your best work, but then you have to put your business hat on.”

Duffy recently presented to the American Society of Marine Artists on the importance of networking to get commissions. “Don’t be afraid to go back to your previous clients and ask for work,” he explained, adding that over the years, one of his clients has had him create 18 paintings from his vacation home in the Azores. “He’d never find these views in a gallery” Duffy said, “but because he was willing to send me there and paint, now he’s got an entire collection.”

 Polpis, from the Artist’s Website

Polpis, from the Artist’s Website

American Fabric Arts Building: A Community of Friendly Artists

“I’ve always had studio space, but the American Fabric Arts Building is pretty much perfect for me,” Duffy said. “Physically, it’s a great space. The ceilings are like 18 feet high and there are gigantic windows.”

“It’s great because I’ve been able to become friendly with the artists around me. It’s good to talk with your colleagues – they look at your work, you look at their work. The feedback is important, but even more so, it’s the camaraderie. That’s what makes this such a neat place.”

William P. Duffy participates in Open Studios, has work in several regional galleries, and welcomes studio visits by appointment.