October 3, 2011

Crazy Gringos

Panama means "Abundance of Fish."  Anybody who calls Panama "home" knows fishing is a main way of life for much of the country.  Manned with only the essentials, native fishermen travel across the waters of Panama in search of any kind of fish they can catch and sell at the market. 

"Into the Storm" by Al Sprague, 2010 captures the native fishermen heading out for the day

As a child growing up in Panama, I  had  my share of days out on the water fishing for every type of fish you can think of.  You see, my father (Al Sprague) is an avid fisherman.  He had us kids out fishing since we were three years old.  That was and is still a huge part of our lives.  In the early morning we would load up the boat for the day and head out to see what we could catch.  As we traveled out to the nearby islands of Taboga, Tabigilla, and Malonis (I called it Bologna Island) we would watch the natives heading out in their pangas. 

"Afternoon Return" by Al Sprague
My father, being an artist, would never go out without his camera.  You never knew when the best composition was in front of you.  It was normal for us to be heading out when my dad would say, "Wow, look at that!  I have to get some pictures.  That would make a great painting!."  He would hand over the control of the boat to one of us kids and he would pull out his camera.  We would then slow the boat down and begin to circle the fishermen as they threw their nets, pulled in their hand lines, and traveled out to sea.  This would happen several times throughout the day.  I'm sure the fishermen thought we were some crazy gringos!  

Native fisherman brings in the net in this 2006 original oil by Al Sprague.

In his paintings, dad captures the moment, the sky, and the water.  He brings the tropical feel of Panama right into the homes of the many collectors who hang his marina paintings on their walls.  Once again, he captures the essence of Panama...it's people and traditions. 

One of my favorite fisherman paintings.  I love the shadow in the net! Not sure the date but I believe this was painted in the 90's