Thursday, September 29, 2016

Francis Quirk and Maine's Lumber Industry

In his time in Maine, Quirk painted many classic scenes including seacoasts, buildings, and people. But two watercolors capture the lumber industry nicely. The first is of a lumberjack posing with his double edged axe featuring prominently as the owner stands with one foot on a tree section beside a broken tree. The double edged axe is a tool for the professional, or more demanding user with better balance. The edges usually are ground differently for different purposes such as chopping and splitting. The lumberjack wears the classic red hunting hat, work clothes and heavy boots that would provide some protection of an errant bounce of the axe head.  

Lumberjack watercolor by Francis Quirk
Lumberjack Painting by Francis Quirk

Perhaps this painting symbolizes the mastery of the lumberjack over the fauna or his role in culling the woods of the weak and dead like the grim reaper of people. Both carry an implement for cutting things down and bring the end of life. But the lumberjack is wearing white.

The Grim Reaper

Francis J. Quirk signature on Lumberjack Watercolor

The second painting is of a lumber mill. With its depiction of the giant blades and toothy log-moving equipment, one can sense the power and danger of these mills. One careless move and a limb or life could be lost. 

watercolor of lumber mill by Francis Quirk
Lumber Mill watercolor by Francis Quirk
These were the only two lumber related works we have found to date. There are other works of people active in the boat-building and fishing trades.

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