Mermaids Go Fish – Contemporary American Folk Art Inspired by the Magic of Nantucket

Mermaids Go Fish painting by Patricia Palermino

For those of us who have been fortunate enough to spend some summer time in Nantucket, we know that somehow there is a suspension of reality when we step onto the Island. It’s as if we are transported to another plane of existence where laughter and ice cream cones go hand in hand with friendly ghosts and card-playing mermaids.

There is this little bookstore on Nantucket that’s filled with fanciful selections as often as page-turning bestsellers. It was while I was in this bookstore that I learned more about Nantucket’s mermaids. I also met the now deceased Wayne Pratt who owned a charming antiques shop on the Island, and I was so privileged to create some custom paintings for him. He also inspired me to further explore the mythical mermaids that swim and play off Nantucket’s shores.

Mermaids Go Fish came to me in a dream. As the tourists travel by on the paddle steamboat, they wave to the mermaids playing cards on the rocks. Who would have thought that mermaids played “Go Fish”? Maybe Poker or Gin Rummy? Those mermaids do have a great sense of humor!

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