Letter to the Editor
published in
DownEast, The Magazine of Maine
The Painter and the Pirate, a twelve page article with paintings by Andrew Wyeth of his friend and subject, Walter Anderson, appeared in the September 2001 issue of DownEast. The following letter was published in the November issue.
November 2001
Vol. 48, Number 4

Letters to the Editor

Andrew Wyeth's Friend

Thanks for the well-written article on Walter Anderson by Edgar Allen Beem. It brought back some nice memories. From 1973 to 1975 I was an island caretaker off Port Clyde, and on my trips ashore for mail and supplies I always stopped to chat with the local character, a fellow named Walt, who hung around the dock wearing his distinctive, well-worn clamming boots. He had all sorts of tales about the islands, including the one I was working on.

Many months after I'd gotten to know Walt, he mentioned he was looking forward to seeing his friend, Andy, who was coming up to visit and paint. I wondered to myself whose house they were going to paint, but before I could ask, I figured out from the context of his conversation that Walt wasn't talking about a house painter. Then I realized his Andy was none other than Andrew Wyeth. I wasn't sure if this was a tall tale or not, but there was a real nugget of sincerity in the way he talked about his friend and their childhood together. Two days later as I was boating back to my island, I noticed a painter out painting on one of the islands.

Thanks to Walt, I knew who it was, and thanks to Ed Beem's fine article now I know even a bit more.

Bruce McMillan
Shapleigh, Maine

One of many paintings of Walter Anderson by Andrew Wyeth
The Coot Hunter, 1941, watercolor

Walter's nephew's site with photos and stories
This is a site made by Russell Anderson and as of July 7, 2005 has a photo of Walt as I remember him.

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