James Maddocks was one of those lucky children whose parents recognized his talent very early. At age 12, he sold his first work—a winter scene of a house in a meadow—to a neighbor. Today, Maddocks brings that same fresh, unadulterated vision to the paintings hanging in his Brewster gallery.
The fact that he had no formal art training may be at the root of Maddocks’ vision. While the scenes are quintessentially Cape Cod, there are no paved roads, sleek motorboats, or power lines. His use of color and stylized brushwork celebrates the Cape at its natural best. Consider Windsong, in which several sailboats sit on a placid sea awaiting their crews. A soothing scene reflected in the calm water bathed in morning light.“I create a lot of depth and mirror reflection for a calm mood,” Maddocks says. “Sun and shadows play a large role.”
Maddocks’ paintings depict an idealized Cape Cod—rich in detail and expressive color, at times conjuring the spirit of children’s author Beatrix Potter. “I envision Cape Cod with all its charm,” Maddocks says. He loves to paint from circa-1900 photos, before modern culture cluttered the landscape. For a current work, Maddocks strikes out in early morning or late afternoon, camera in hand, and may take 20 photos before heading back to his studio, a carriage house attached to the home where he and his wife, Denise, have lived for 30 years.
He also is adept at closing his eyes and envisioning a scene, eliminating phone wires and blacktop. “New England has changed so much,” he says. “Harbors come and go, they get rebuilt, get destroyed by storms. It’s ever changing.”
In 1974 at age 23, Maddocks rented gallery space in the Boston area. He progressed to outdoor Cape Cod art shows, where he won best in show awards in Chatham for several years, before settling in his current space in Brewster. He has a thriving vocation—one painting was purchased by an individual for Queen Elizabeth II.
His paintings often inspire memories for clients, who are drawn to his realistic, but artful touch and his settings, which are almost always on Cape Cod. With fresh material around him every day, the region is a perfect locale for Maddocks. As he says, “I assume there’s a subject around every corner.”
James Maddocks Gallery is located at 1283 Main Street (Route 6A) in Brewster. Log on to jamesmaddocksgallery.com or call (508) 896-6223 for hours, or visit by chance.