By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
ALTON — Alton artist Peter Ferber has been creating boat show posters for the New England Antique and Classic Boat Show ever since 1994, and over the years has produced an impressive collection of pieces that capture the spirit of the bygone times as well as the hearts of wooden boat aficionados.
From the graceful simplicity of the late afternoon view of the Chris Craft triple and launch in that first painting, to the elegance of the magnificent yacht Swallow and and its equally magnificent boathouse, Swallows Nest, or to the nostalgic charm of the bride and her father on the way to the wedding chapel, the viewer is captivated by Peter's ability to portray the "feel" of antique and classic boats as well as capture the beauty of the Lakes Region.
This year's poster shows a view of Center Harbor around 1915, showing the old Colonial Hotel, which burned down in 1919, as well as the Congregational Church on the left and the Coe House, a current day landmark, on the right..
Ferber says that the lunch featured in the foreground has an interesting history, and will be displayed at this year's show. The boat dates from 1904, the engine from 1915. It is extremely rare in that it is all original, and has never been restored, just maintained. The life jackets and seat cushions seen in the poster are over 100 years old, and have always been with this boat.
The hull was sold as a kit–fitted at the factory in Baldwinsville, New York, then crated and shipped by rail and canal to the customer on Long Lake in Maine. It was reassembled and finished in a boathouse there by the property's caretaker. While in the process of installing the "new" engine in 1915, World War I sent him off to battle. Disabled in combat, he was never able to complete the installation, and the boat sat in the boat house for 90 years. Dusted off and oiled up, the new owners were able to get her running, and now use her on a regular basis.
The other prominent boat is a 1913 Goodhue and Hawkins Laker, the only one built with oak decking and known as the Regina. Owned by Howard Newton of Alton, who lives year-round in Massachusetts, the Regina will also be seen at this year's show.
Behind the Regina is a fantail launch transporting visitors and their luggage across the harbor. The steamer Cyclone has made a stop in front of the hotel.
In 1993, after almost 20 years of producing an annual Weirs Boat Show advertising flyer, which usually pictured the previous year's Best of Show winner, Phil Spencer of Wolfeboro accepted the challenge of the chapter's board of directors to improve the show posters. Phil, a local boat restorer and past president of the chapter, spent several months doodling with different ideas before coming up with the "Bingo!" idea.
He contacted Ferber, whose works were becoming well respected and included many scenes featuring boats. Peter was very enthusiastic about the prospect of perhaps memorializing each year some aspect of antique and classic boating in New England and said, "I've been waiting for your call to do this."
In 2009, Ferber began working with the then Boat Show chairman Bill John, owner of the Vintage Boat Shop in Wolfeboro,to more closely tie the poster with the current boat show and use it as a marketing tool to promote each show. The posters featured a different line of boats each year, set in a scenic, historic setting on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. The series so far has featured Garwood, Chris Craft, Hacker, Century and Lyman.
Ferber, whose family owned a summer camp on Sewall Road in Wolfeboro, where he spent his summers while growing up, says he has always been fascinated by Lake Winnipesaukee and its scenic beauty and serene landscapes.
He has been working as a full-time professional artist since graduating from Principe College in 1976, and approaches each new piece with a desire to try something new. He developed an appreciation for strong design and composition at college in daily painting and drawing excursions, including a 10-week painting trip to Europe. Attention to detail and precise control of the medium was honed through years of work producing architectural renderings for historic restoration projects. He paints in watercolors, oils, and most recently in acrylics.
Ferber and his wife, Jeannie Ferber, a former art director who runs a nonprofit to encourage the exchange of cultural and educational materials with students and teachers in Russia, have lived in a 1700's antique cape in Alton since 1994.
Peter Ferber of Alton has been creating posters for the New England Classic and Antique Boat Show since 1994. This year's poster shows a scene of Center Harbor around 1915. (Courtesy photo)
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