The past becomes present in William T. Hall’s new exhibit of watercolors showing the island’s daily boating and fishing habits in earlier times. The works will be on display from Friday, July 20 to Wednesday, Aug. 1, with the opening reception on Saturday, July 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Jessie Edwards Gallery on the second floor of the Post Office building.
Using classical watercolor techniques, Hall composes his scenes from a rich variety of sources — stories passed down from his father and older generations of Block Island fishing families, his own memories and experiences swordfishing, and research in marine archives and other historical references.
“I want to create a mood, to tell a story of a particular era in the island’s history,” Hall said recently. Tinted with sepia, each scene is painted on Arche’s fine grain, cold-pressed watercolor paper. The details of the old working boats and the topography of the island and structures are meticulously rendered and draw us into the action and spirit of the moment.
Hall feels that the Double Ender, originally developed by island settlers, was at the heart of the strong community of fishermen, and is the subject of many works in this exhibit.