Oil on Board
26.5" x 22"
When Will Haddon was on the road selling girls' gym suits, he hated Mondays "because they meant I had to go back to work." But now he loves Mondays "because I can get back to my painting". Haddon, 51, is one of the East €oast's foremost marine artists. His paintings hang in galleries from Pennsylvania to Georgia in corporate board rooms and in the homes of many notables.A recipient of numerous awards, he is a charter member of the American Society of Marine Artists and a past president of the Metropolitan Art Association of Richmond.Once you see a Haddon painting you aren't likely to forget it. He points in acrylic with an almost photographic quality. His colors are clear, his definition precise and his historical accuracy unflawed. But if Haddon has one particular trademark, it is his angry seas and brooding skies. "A lot of people paint ships and wind up with just another pretty picture," he said. "But I find it a constant challenge to give 'atmosphere' to each of my paintings". A typical "Hadd0n sky" is one of scudding storm clouds giving way to a subtle but striking sunset. His seas boil with animation and come alive with luminescent depth.Haddon's forte is the period of sail from the age of Columbus to the present."I do a lot of clipper ships, they're very popular. I also do a lot of battle scenes between 16th and 17th century galleons," he said. His more contemporary paintings are of work boats indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay - he owns a cottage on the Plankatank - and lighthouses from around the world.Largely on commission, his paintings also include private pleasure boats, warships from World War II onward and military aircraft."People bring me models or photographs of the ships they served on or the planes they piloted and ask me to paint them. It's a sizeable part of my work." Haddon said. Ironically, Haddon is not a sailor. He is a former Air Force jet pilot who owns a motor boat.A native of Richmond, he earned a degree in sociology from the University of Richmond. Following four years in the Air Force, he traveled about the mid-Atlantic region selling everything from insurance to typewriters. He soldgirls' gym suits for 13 years. "I had done a lot of drawing and some painting as a youngster so when I got bored spending night after night in a motel room, I decided to take it up again," Haddon said. "It got to a point where I was painting so late into the wee hours I was finding it hard to get onto the road again in the morning" he added.By 1976, however, his paintings were selling well enough to encourage him to quit his sales job and turn his hobby into a vocation. For a while, Haddon experimented with landscapes, still lifes and portraits before turning his attention almost exclusively to nautical scenes."I was always fascinated by the sea. I had read all the old Hornblower series," hc said. He researches his subject exhaustively before taking brush in hand. He spends as many as 18 weekends a year displaying his paintings at art shows. They're the biggest source of my business," he said.Haddon said his painting enables him to enjoy a comfortable living but a love of his work is the best reward. "I d0n't think most men love their work and that's unfortunate. They don't like Mondays and I do. I'm very lucky,"