Allan Walton did not start painting until he was almost five years old! He grew up in Dixfield Maine. He probably didn’t know then that art would become the focus of most things he did, and he has done many things.
We met Allan and his wife Barbara (Muise) around 1978. At that time, Marty Lakeman lived on McKown Street across the alley from the Merry Music Box, just up from Arthur Barlow’s garage, which is now “Ports of Italy” restaurant. Marty shared the duplex house. Emerson and Sarah Webster lived in the other half of the house and we often all bumped into each other coming and going. I was just beginning to do more photography for pay back then.
Marty told us about Allan’s art and suggested we meet. Allan and Barbara had an apartment up the hill on McKown Street in a house shared with Bessie and Frank Cooper. Allan’s work was astonishing. He was doing sculpture, carving, oil and watercolor painting and trying to survive, aided by time at a woodworking shop over in East Boothbay in what was once the Masonic Lodge. They were making extremely custom mahogany tables.
Allan studied art at University of Maine in Augusta. His primary mentor was Professor Philip Paratore, a Brooklyn New York native with serious standards. To this day, both Allan and Barbara, who also studied art, admit the challenge of study with Paratore. “He was a taskmaster, but an incredible teacher, “ recalls Barbara. He still paints and lives in the Portland area, but has retired from teaching.
Allan and I always kept in touch, although there have been long stretches with little or no contact. We have followed his work as have many in the region, and beyond. His art is on display at the “Harbor Framers” in the Small Mall.
Recently, through my work at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, I crossed paths with one of my long time favorite coastal vessels, the Glenn Geary, a sardine carrier which had hopes of being salvaged and rebuilt. But, it was too far gone and had to be terminated. I photographed it often during my visits and thought, this would be a good Allan Walton painting. And, as you can see in today’s accompanying photo, it was!
Allan continues to paint, although recent health complications have slowed him up a bit. A good selection of his work can also be seen on Facebook.
I’m sure you will be impressed, as we were and the many who have collected his work are.