Atlantic Folios

These paintings, along with the Helios and Luminist Folios series are the newest work on this site. The Atlantic Folio paintings are visions of a mid-twentieth century Atlantic crossing. The images arose as I was transcribing a journal hand-written by my father, Eugene F. Spellman in 1944. He was a twenty-nine year old enlistee in the U.S. Navy. His ship, the U.S.S. McCormick, was a destroyer escort for shipping convoys crossing the Atlantic through waters patrolled regularly by German submarines. Small painting of sunlight shimmering on the seaThe journal is addressed to his love, a college student in Massachusetts named Ann Rita Brown who was to become my mother five years later.

At the same time I was transcribing my father's diary, I was re-reading the Odyssey of Homer. The Odyssey is permeated by an almost unbearable longing to be home. It was impossible to avoid seeing parallels between this ancient story and the love letter journal of my father's, written at sea during a time of dark uncertainty. A third influence on these paintings is the journey made by all of my ancestors forced by adversity to leave their homes in Ireland. It has been said that the Irish were the most homesick of all the immigrants who came to America. The long Atlantic crossing would have been a mythic passage to an unknown and not very welcoming world.