Peter Vincent, The Man and the Sea


Atlantic Moon by Peter Vincent

On Tuesday, at the family plot in Marblehead, we buried the ashes of my uncle Peter Vincent. It seemed fitting that it started down pouring rain before the small ceremony of family members. All we needed was some wind to recreate some of the raw feeling of the fisherman on the decks of many of Peters etchings and paintings.

Eoin By Peter Vincent

As I try to clear my mind to reflect on the passing of my uncle, artist, teacher and friend, I think of the complexities that made this man a man that strived to be simple. He was an artist that changed the concept of what marine painting could and should be. He studied everything around him and brought the emotion and strength of the Gloucester and Nova Scotia fishermen in their sloops to life. With the creation of the face of the strong men of the sea and the pain and trials that came with the work.

Peter’s paintings are in many private and museum collections, and over the years he has received many awards recognizing his outstanding work. The Rockport Art Association, Mystic Seaport, Copley Society and the Cape Ann Historical Association are a few of the arts organizations that have honored him and his work.

I was very lucky to be one of his models growing up, he created iconic photos of me and my family in stills and motion. This was during his time as a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, as a camera and dark room was as much of his life as his paints. Bolex and Nikon in his bag, we set out into the yard of the family home on Haven Ave, or Sandy Bay Yacht Club to chase the wind and manage light. He often spoke to me about how he setup a portrait of me by strapping heat lamps to a tree and having me, age 4 or 5, standing fearfully below them. One of my favorite photos during this time is of me, popping my head out of the hatch of the family boat MADELINE, mimicking Peter using his Bolex camera, using my hands as the crank and camera body.

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Peter Vincent and Walter Cronkite

In college he enjoyed watching the works of Sergio Leone and he was impressed with the intensity that he brought to a film frame, the story, timing and how it could impact a plot. Peter got wind that I was taking a class on film making and he dropped by a story board that he had done to study Sergio Leone’s, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It was a master work of sketches, a frame work of what he had seen and liked in each section of the movie and the emotion and symbology that went with it.

For many years after that time, he disappeared upstairs working on his etchings and I would only see him briefly on holidays at the dinner table on family events. Though I do remember the Labor Day weekends that he would come home with his trophies from a years sailing at the SBYC with Emily Wick and others. We talked often about racing, sailing Star boats, and the boat DECISIONS that he and my father once owned.

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Windward – By Peter Vincent

Peter taught me how to see, teaching that visually a ocean wave is not just a wave but a series of shapes, colors and shadows that communicated an environmental and emotional outcome. He was telling stories but all parts of the composition had a beginning, middle and an end. He had one painting that I have always struggled with, to me the ocean never looked correct, until a few days before he passed, I was down at the ocean shooting a photo and saying to myself, “The ocean, it is just like what I had seen in Peter’s painting years ago.”

In recent years Peter started to get interested in computers and digital cameras. He never owned either, but he wanted to understand their impact on art. He often asked me on how the modern photo studios had changed and we would talk about the similarities and difference with their possible benefits. We spent hours using Photoshop together, playing with snap shots that we would take and doing things like adding my daughters hair to a photo of Peter, taking one of Peter’s paintings and adding my kids heads to the fishermen or goofing around with different photos we could find.

He was one of a kind and the way that he saw the world was often beyond what others could see. I can hear his voice in the hallways of the many dinners that we had together laughing, talking about life, politics, art and sports especially the New England Patriots.

Thank you Peter for all and everything.

Please join us on September 15th at 2:00 PM, at the First Congregational Church in Rockport, to take a moment to remember Peter Vincent, the man, the artist, teacher and friend.

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21 Comments

  • Patricia Manley Silverman
    September 6, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Dear Eoin,

    I just want to leave a note to say I was so moved by the story you wrote of your uncle and what he meant to you. You are blessed to have had his influence and, it seems, to have grasped his insights. His work is beautiful.

    Enjoy your memories and be consoled by them.

    Warm regards,
    Patricia

    • Pat Ford
      September 6, 2012 at 4:01 am

      Eoin you are an amazing man with an amazing family. Your love just spills over

  • Robert Lerch
    September 6, 2012 at 2:27 am

    The admiration you had for Peter, and his influence on you, are very clear. You have written a beautiful tribute to him as a person and as an artist and teacher. His vision and work was beyond exceptional. May we have more like him.

  • Mary Ann (Vincent) Hanna
    September 6, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Eoin — What a beautiful and thoughtful piece you’ve written about my Brother, Peter. I so appreciate what you’ve written and for the friendship you and Peter enjoyed.

    Love, Mary Ann

  • Rosemary Hegarty
    September 6, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Dear Eoin,

    I’ll loved reading about your Uncle Peter & am sorry for your loss. I was so fascinated by what you wrote I did a little research & I bet my brother Ed knew your Uncle. Both Ed & his son Michael spent years building cars & racing at Bonneville. I will be sure to let him know. Your uncle’s photos are wonderful!

    My thoughts & prayers are with your & your family. It sounds like you have wonderful memories.

    Love,

    Rosemary

  • Patty Knaggs
    September 6, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Wow, Eoin what an outstanding man and huge piece of your life. Your tribute to him is lovely. May he live on in you and your family!

  • Meindert
    September 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Eoin,
    You wrote a wonderful tribute to your uncle. The piece really captures the essence of the man as an artist. Now I know where you got all your creativity from. Sorry for the loss of your uncle who seems to have greatly influenced you to be the man and artist that you are.
    Meindert

  • Thomas Philbrook
    September 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Well-said Eoin. You & Peter were lucky to have each other. Many thanks for sharing. -Tom P.

  • John
    September 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    It’s hard to add more to what’s been said without being trite, Eoin- a very moving tribute to your uncle.

    -John

  • Lisa Zopatti
    September 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Eoin, what an eloquent and lovely tribute to your uncle. I’m so sorry for your loss but I know that your memories will eventually warm your heart and will keep Peter alive to you, your family and friends for more than a lifetime. I am sorry that I never had the pleasure of meeting him but, in a way I have, through you. God bless.

  • Tim Giarrosso
    September 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    It must be quite difficult to encapsulate a lifetime relationship with a loved one. Words can’t say enough but in this case I think you captured the essence of Peter and gave us a glimpse of how amazing he was. Our sincere condolences to you and your family. Hope to see you on the 15th. Cheers, Tim

  • May Chien
    September 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Eoin,

    How beautiful. I mourn your loss, yet celebrate the man that was.

    May

  • Lisa
    September 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    You captured Peter in this so well – I can hear Peter say ” well, welll, well, flaabbbb, flaaabbbb! ” waving his big hands in the air. He was so special to us. We will miss him, and yet he will remain alive with us in our hearts always.

  • Gloria and Doug Parsons
    September 7, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Dear Eoin,
    We met Peter in 1988 onboard the Schooner Adventure. He was our very dear friend and we spent wonderful time together. Christmas eves will not be the same without him.
    We call our dining room the “Peter Vincent room” because it is filled will his paintings including one he did of our schooner Truant, a 25th wedding anniversary gift.
    He was a sweet, kind man and we will miss him so much.
    Doug and Gloria Parsons

  • John Hinckley
    September 7, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Eion,
    Your uncle Peter was a great friend and we had a lot of good times together. He was happiest on the water, be it in a dory, my lobster skiff or the schooner Truant. He took those common place experiences and incorperated them in his art. He allowed me to preview his work, for which I will be always grateful. A wonderful person and will be truely missed.

    John Hinckley

  • Tom
    September 7, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Eoin, I am glad you wrote this. What a great tribute to our uncle. A very well thought out piece of work.

  • Donna Lambert
    September 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    This is so well done and just very warm and special. Dona

  • Charles L. Fields
    September 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Peter is gone and will be mised,but rest asured his art will live on.
    Charles

  • Skip
    September 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks Eoin for sharing so much about Peter… I knew from my years racing at SBYC…but now I feel I really ” know him” thanks to you.
    Skip

  • Linda Mitchell
    August 6, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Eoin, I am lucky to have been able to purchase 2 amazing pieces done by your Uncle Peter Vincent back in 1986. The friend that I purchased them from today, for my husband whose has Gloucester roots and also family “Men of the Sea’.
    The pieces were originally purchased from Mr Vincent directly by the gentleman I purchased them from.
    I would love to know if they were every named since they were early pieces.
    Kindly would you email me so that I can send you the pictures via email of them.
    This is a beautiful tribute to him!!!!
    Thanks
    Linda

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