Amesbury Local Artist
Sep 21, 2022
Ron Quinn
Amesbury Local Artist

AMESBURY — Ron Quinn has dedicated most of his life to art and his most ambitious project — 365 oil paintings, which he painted one per day for the past year — has just reached its conclusion.

"My girlfriend (Sandy) says it looks like a lunatic lives here," Quinn said. "I told her 'one does.'"

An impressionist working mostly in oil, Quinn, 63, was a married electronic technician in his 20s when he was asked to paint a simple sign for his parents' wedding anniversary and he never turned back.

"As soon as I made the first mark, I said, 'I love this,'" Quinn said. "It just struck a chord. So I quit my job and came home and told my wife that I was going to be an artist."

Having retired after a 21-year career as an art director for AT&T, the Amesbury native often draws inspiration from the work of Vincent van Gogh. Quinn recently became known for live painting at such events as the Fireball Run, the Amesbury Days Art Show & Sale and the Amesbury Pines Music Festival.

"I don't call myself an artist," Quinn said. "Too many people use that title. I call myself a painter. That's what I do. I was trying to find my style and I fell in love with (van Gogh) instantly. It was the color and the texture that spoke to me in volumes."

Working primarily in oil, Quinn has tried to paint something substantial each July 29 to honor van Gogh's death on that date in 1890.

"I feel like I am keeping his legacy going if I paint on that day," Quinn said.

Quinn was too busy to paint a larger piece last July 29, but that's when inspiration struck.

"I only had the time to do one of these little cubes, which was of a red lily in my friend's garden," he said. "So I painted it and then the next day, I didn't feel like I had done enough. So I told my girlfriend I was going to paint one every day for a week. That way I would have seven of them."

Quinn immediately set about his first week of painting cubes but once the week was over, it still wasn't enough.

"I found out, during the last 70 days of Van Gogh's life, he painted 70 paintings," Quinn said. "So my seven seemed pretty weak right then. I looked at Sandy and asked, 'Do you think I can do it for a year?' She said, 'You are out of your mind.' and I am like, 'maybe?'"

Crazy or not, Quinn has spent the past year painting one 4-inch by 4-inch cube each day and was scheduled to finish the project with a replication of van Gogh's "Wheatfield with Crows" Friday night.

"I was probably a month in when I realized I was hooked," Quinn said. "That's when it became a mission."

Nothing deterred him in his mission either, not even a near-fatal heart attack his mother suffered in October.

"She was rushed to the hospital, the whole nine yards," Quinn said. "I came home that night, totally drained but I was like, 'Where's my paints?'"

With his mother on the mend, Quinn has spent the spring and summer finishing up his work, painting Rockport, Gloucester, Newburyport, Salisbury and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, along the way.

"I want to get people involved in the process so I went to Facebook and told them to send me a photo, any photo at all," Quinn said. "I got a string of pets, not one landscape. So I painted a bunch of pets and I had a ball doing them. I really did."

Most of his paintings are local landscapes. Each cube is numbered, dated and signed on the back. Having covered every wall in his Fruit Place kitchen, now that his project is finished, Quinn is ready to find a suitable home for it.

"Ideally I'd like to get this to a museum," he said. "That would be my number one option. That way they are going to be seen as a group and will stay all together. A lot of museums buy collections and put them in their permanent collection. That is a possibility. Obviously, it is a long shot."