Estey in his Belfast studio
David is an improvisational painter in Belfast, Maine. He was born in 1942 at Fort Fairfield, in northern Maine, into a family of laborers and storytellers. He grew up surrounded by nature. With no art in school, he taught himself to draw and paint, depicting hundreds of animals and people he imagined or found in books, magazines and movies.
He excelled in school and completed a BFA degree in painting from Rhode Island School of Design, a year of study in Rome and a month of hitchhiking around Europe. He was drafted into the army and spent four years as an illustrator at Ft. Meade, MD. He earned a masters degree from George Washington University and had a federal career in public affairs. He also practiced, studied and taught art, including 14 years of figure studies at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and workshops with prominent artists in three states. He explored many major museums in Europe and the U.S. He married a woman from Vienna, Austria and raised a son and daughter, then divorced and married a childhood classmate.
In 1995 he retired from government and began to exhibit successfully in PA, NC and Maine. He has been in 23 solo shows and over 100 group and juried exhibits. His work is in private and organizational collections in 20 states and seven countries. He has produced over 10,800 pieces of art.
His Maine roots and extensive study and experience beyond have earned the hard-won gravitas reflected in his work.