My work over the last ten years has been directed by two deeply intertwined passions: love for the North Carolina coast, and wonder at the way the passage of time affects everything we see.

I seek to capture in paint the convergence of the natural beauty of the coast with evidence of the lives of the people who have made their homes there. Our coast’s salt marshes and sunsets, deserted train stations, and rusting water towers and old churches make for a visual feast. Shrimp boats (many built here in North Carolina), old and soon-to be-abandoned nets, fish houses, piers, and reed marshes show an ephemeral moment in the present which speaks to both the past and the future of life on the coast.

The residents themselves, life-battered but resilient, are inextricably bound up in these paintings. The people I have met on this journey have a proud history. They are fighting to maintain a way of life, and their decades-long connection to the sea. I hope to honor their lives, and the memories of those who came before them, by conveying their strong sense of belonging to this special place, and the serenity that comes when one is tied so closely to nature, regardless of the hardships.

In this decade of painting decaying coastal towns struggling to survive, it’s that tranquility which stays with me. When I gaze out at a sunrise coming over the salt marshes of Lockwood Folly River, I am filled with a profound sense of peace of life lived in the continuity of nature—in sky, clouds, earth and water. It is something of this sense of peace that I hope to share with you with the paintings in Waterline.


Tony Alderman has been painting for over thirty-five years, focusing on those images that speak of life well-spent and well-worn. He is especially known for his nautical and coastal paintings. A lover of community, Tony strives to learn about the surroundings that shape the people in the communities he paints, and how the community in turn affects the environment.

Tony received his BFA from the University of Mobile, where he studied with Charles “Mac” Clark. His work can be found in many corporate and private collections. He lives in Durham with his wife Catherine, but goes to the coast as often as possible for meditation and inspiration.