As a guidance counselor at Barnstable High School, Ted Skirvan is visiting art classrooms almost every day. “Watching students be creative,” he says, “it’s neat to see it through their eyes and think back to where I was in high school.”
At Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, a young Skirvan got to tap into his artistic side—and he loved it. He continued taking art classes at the University of Connecticut, but he ultimately majored in psychology, later receiving his master’s in education. “I always loved art, but I think there was always that fear in the back of my mind, like, ‘Am I going to be able to sustain myself and a family doing art?’” he explains. He then married and had two sons—between his job at BHS and family life, there really wasn’t time for artistic pursuits. So Skirvan put art on the backburner, and it would remain there for over a decade.
About three years ago, Skirvan decided it was finally time he start making the time again for painting and drawing. He put his work up for sale on Etsy, and to his surprise he quickly had a buyer. The piece: a painting of a giant octopus on reclaimed beach wood. It was the first time he sold his artwork. “Once I sold that first piece, I was like, ‘Wow, somebody actually wants to buy my artwork! This is amazing!’ Then I was painting every single day,” Skirvan recalls. “It’s reawakened a passion.”
Whether it’s painting, in acrylic or watercolor, drawing in pencil and ink, or block printing, Skirvan says he loves exploring how far his artistry can go. For Skirvan, it’s the nautical world that captivates him—whales, fish, lighthouses, ocean waves. “There’s something about that kind of fluidity, that movement,” he says of his subjects. “And there’s something about the colors too—the blues and the greens. It’s just so inspirational to me.”
Skirvan brands his fine art under the imprint Beach Point Designs—a nod to Beach Point on Sandy Neck, Skirvan’s favorite destination. Last year, he delved into another creative interest—graphic design—and started LOCAL Cape Cod. Merchandise in this line, available at such local retailers as Nauset Sports in Orleans and All Good in the Cape Cod Mall, features his signature LOCAL logo—the word written out in the geographic shape of Cape Cod. “I’m creating something, and then someone enjoys it—that’s probably the greatest, most satisfying feeling in the world.”
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