Belfast Artist Focuses on Women Who Fish

Belfast artist Susan Tobey White paints from the heart. She has spent the past twenty years exploring the world around her through her acrylic paintings. Her large canvases detail brightly colored people dancing, exuberant vegetables, and lobstermen at work. Now she wants to begin a series of paintings focused solely on women who lobster.
In 2002, after having taught elementary art for 15 years, White opened High Street Studio & Gallery in an historic building in downtown Belfast, a seasonal gallery and painting workshop space. In 2012 she opened Susan Tobey White Studio, also in Belfast.
Now she’s turned her painterly eye to women in the lobster industry. “My husband has a boat and I’ve baited bags and measured lobsters,” White said. Mark White fishes the E Z Duz It out of Belfast harbor. A friend in town also works with her husband as a sternman. One day White watched her friend offloading crates on a brisk winter day and was struck by how hard she, and other women like her, work.
“I was just so impressed by these women. I’ve done so many paintings of lobstermen but I hadn’t seen many paintings of lobsterwomen!” White explained.
So White has put the word out. She is planning a series of large paintings specifically of women who fish. “I am asking women to send me photos of themselves hauling traps, painting buoys, baiting, or even just standing by their boat, also a photo of their buoys,” White said. She would also like an explanation from each woman about why she chose to be fisherman. The end result will be a painting of the woman with her statement beside the painting.