Local Residents Reimagined as Pirates in Brennan Paintings

The crowd made appreciative noises as they admired Tom Brennan’s most recent paintings, which include scores of local community members portrayed as pirates. The exhibit is on display at Camden National Bank through August, and then it will be in Eastport at Eastern Maine Images. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson


It happened just thirteen years ago – swarms of pirates disembarked from their vessels of varying degrees of questionable seaworthiness and invaded both Lubec and Eastport, bringing their unique flavor of revelry and amicable celebration with them. The two coastal towns weren’t enough to contain the pirate fever, and now it’s spread once more – this time to Calais, where scores of residents have found themselves transformed into characters straight out of Treasure Island. The magic happened through the brush of Tom Brennan, whose 24 pirate-themed paintings – many of which feature local residents – are now on display at Camden National Bank.

The exhibit officially opened on Thursday, August 9th, with Tom Brennan present in full pirate attire to welcome guests to the show. Brennan was assisted by a pirate crew that included Don Dunbar, Kathleen Dunbar, Melissa Newcomb, his wife Alison, and various family and friends.

While most of the paintings were viewable upon arrival, enabling guests to marvel at Brennan’s pinpoint accuracy in capturing the likenesses of faces both local and famous, three larger paintings were covered in preparation of a grand unveiling that drew gasps and applause from the crowd. The three paintings contain the faces of many local individuals, in true Brennan fashion – some of whom are engaged in a tavern brawl, others are singing and still more are playing cards.

“I just marvel at the stuff he does,” said local representative Anne Perry. “It’s more than just people in a painting. He captures their personalities. It’s about the town.”

During the reception, Brennan discussed the popularity of the pirate theme in the area and how it inspired him to create the exhibit. Brennan’s past works, some of which are hanging in the City Building, have characteristically captured the faces of local residents, and he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to portray them in such a fun fashion.

Tom Brennan’s PIRATES! exhibit will be on display at Camden National Bank for the month of August. Special thanks to the bank and staff for their support and assistance with the reception. In September, come to Don Dunbar’s art gallery, Eastern Maine Images, to see the exhibit on display throughout Eastport’s Pirate Festival.