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The Hermit of Manana Island, Maine

“Islander” by Jamie Wyeth is an almost portrait of Ray Phillips, the Hermit of Manana Island (near Monhegan Island, ME). Ray and his sheep lived alone on the grassy rock that is Manana from 1930 until the winter of 1975 when Ray died.

After Ray’s death all the sheep were taken from the island except the large ram which afterwards became aggressive and would allow no one to land on Manana. Lonely, the ram became the horned guardian of the Island and spent his days looking over the sea waiting for Ray and his flock to return. Eventually Wyeth won the ram's confidence and he allowed Wyeth to land and paint his portrait, which he did as a memorial to Ray.

“Islander” is easily my favorite painting at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, ME. It is a beautiful tribute to the Hermit, the rocky coasts of Maine, the once widespread sheep industry in Maine, and the Wyeth family.

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