Maurice Spector

by Dana Kester-McCabe

Maurice Spector grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania where he learned to love the land and working with his hands. Now he lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, on another farm creating timeless paintings, and unique sculptures.

Maurice studied at the University of Miami, Florida. After being drafted into the Army to serve in the Vietnam War, he worked in New York as photographer. But his roots have always been here on Delmarva where he lived briefly as a child and came back to almost annually to hunt and fish. About twenty years ago he moved to his farm in Pungoteague Creek in Accomac County. People have lived on the property for almost four hundred years. Before becoming a "fine artist" Maurice began making folk art carving wood. He has moved on to stone and now other new products like concrete on carved synthetic foam.

The seasons have an influence on what medium Maurice works in. During the winter he likes to draw and paint and in warmer weather he sculpts. Each project begins first with inspiration, then a clay model. He puts in 8-10 hour days and usually has several projects in progress at the same time.

Maurice cites his influences as sculptors Henry Moore and Marino Marini. He likes to do figurative work: female nudes and horses. The ideas for his painting and drawing "just come into" his head at any time. Occasionally he is blocked but that does not last long. A typical day begins at his drawing board. He works eight to ten hours. This strict discipline "is the only way you get things done". Right now Maurice is doing a sculpture of a horse on the wind.

The natural beauty of his surroundings is important to Maurice's creative process. He says he does not know here his inspiration comes from except perhaps from his heart.

Maurice says that everything comes together for him in Pungoteague: He participates in an annual artists' studio tour on Virginia's Eastern Shore held every thanks giving. Other artists come to his farm and set up tents. They roast oysters and serve wine and beer. It is one of the most popular stops on the tour. He is grateful for the life he has and the community of artists who are his friends on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Maurice's work is available at galleries in Snow Hill and Onancock and at a number of local shows.