The Tilghman Waterman’s Museum on 3-mile-long Tilghman Island, Md., is showcasing the artwork of local waterman William E. Cummings. Now 87, Cummings taught himself to paint when he was in his 40s. When it was too rough to go fishing, he would go to the library and take out books on human anatomy or travel to museums in Washington, D.C.
Cummings paints working watermen: oyster harvesters, pound netters and seine haulers. He saw these watermen becoming obsolete as his tiny island on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay changed from a working waterfront that was home to dozens of skipjacks to a retirement community. Cummings wanted to capture a way of life that is vanishing, said Hall Kellogg, executive director of the Tilghman Waterman’s Museum.
The museum is selling limited edition canvas prints of several of Cummings paintings to support their mission of preserving the heritage of Tilghman Island’s waterman community.