This painting was a memorial portrait, created posthumously to honor the memory of a great man who touched many lives. Gardner Defoe was a classic Maine guide and outdoor enthusiast who operated wilderness camping and canoeing adventures for young people for nearly four decades. Summers were spent in the north woods of Maine on the Allagash and St John Rivers. Winters were spent near Sugarloaf Mountain operating ski camp programs.
In 2012, he received the Legendary Maine Guide Award from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. In 2016, he was the subject of a documentary film entitled “Defoe’s Way”, an LL Bean film, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
Gardner touched me personally and this painting was based on a photograph taken in 1980, because it represented his spirit and character.
This painting was done in an alla prima style, to mirror the energy and life of Gardner.