Working perilously close to the rocks along the rugged coastline of the western banks of Grand Manan Isle, a working fishing vessel tacks to gain distance out of harm's way in this stirring example of William Bradford's mastery of the marine genre. The vessel lists sharply as she pulls across the head wind and attempts to achieve the safety of deeper waters further offshore. She is working the waters of the Bay of Fundy, possibly out of St. Johns, Newfoundland, reputedly the oldest city in all of North America and a fishing hub for the North.
This is a well balanced composition. The geometry of the multiple ships positioned toward and away from the shore and a luminous brilliance to the sky clearing set within deeper clouds bank makes the sunlight accents upon the water shine magnificently. The realistic texture and chop of the coastal sea and its inherent reflective qualities illustrate Bradford's abundant knowledge of the sea. Relying on strong oppositions of light and dark for expressive effect, Bradford excelled at the important quality of contrast, using his knowledge and skill to capture a vision of the natural and often challenging state of the isolated northern region.
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