He had been illustrating since 1946 in Toronto, Canada and in New York City since 1948 for major commercial accounts and magazines. While in New York John worked for Troeger-Phillips. In 1950 John and his wife moved to Westport, Connecticut, and established his own New York City studio with his associate, Ted Hankey. Some of their important commercial accounts included Revlon, Cheseborough Ponds, 711 Cosmetics, and Pepsi-Cola. Of the many illustrations he was commissioned to do, the Saturday Evening Post and Cosmopolitan were among the most prestigious. He also did paintings for Broadway theater posters "Bye-Bye Birdie", " Baker Street ", "Les Girls" and the Ice Capades.
At this point in his career John and his wife and three children spent the summer months in London, England and Europe.
At the age of 46 John became very involved with sports car racing and raced an Alfa Romeo with the Sports Car Club of America. In 1969 he moved his family from Westport to Vermont, while continuing to work in New York City. He commuted weekly, leaving on Sunday and returning on Thursday to spend time on the family's 30-acre farm with horses, chickens, goats, and many other animals.
At this point his focus changed regarding his artwork. He maintained some of his commercial accounts and fashion illustration accounts while starting to work on the Vermont scenic watercolors that he is now known for. In 1980 he and his wife June, of 46 years moved to Kennebunkport, Maine where she still lives and where John was very active with his painting. Vermont scenes, Maine coastal scenes, dock scenes, a great favorite, the lobstermen and their boats. For the last 10 years he was busier than ever painting for the U.S. Navy, National Wildlife Federation, and Sons of the American Revolution Christmas cards. John has had work in many art shows and has been involved in shows at New York City's City Center, The Illustrator' Club, New York City and Westport, Connecticut. He has shown and received awards at Norwich University and the Berkshire Art Gallery. He has also shown at Southern Vermont Art Center, Hopkins Center, Stratton Arts Festival, Hudson Valley, Salmagundi Club, American Artists Professional League (AAPL), in New York City.
His paintings and illustrations are in collections in Canada, England, Italy, Spain and throughout the United States.
Mitchell is survived by his beloved wife Barbara Borchardt, his mother June E.
Fernie of Kennebunk, his brother Bruce Fernie of Florence, Italy, his sister Heather McInnis of Kennebunkport, three nephews, Alex Fernie, Mitchell Kell and Trevor Kell and three nieces Dana Fernie, Bowen Fernie and Avery Fernie. Mitchell was predeceased by his father, Kennebunkport artist John A. Fernie.
Mitchell was born on September 19, 1958 into a community of artists in Westport, Connecticut then moved with his family to Vermont in 1970. After high school, he lived in Denver, Colorado and Boston, Massachusetts before settling in Portland, Maine in the 1980's.
He was a partner in the Portland advertising groups Surprise Advertising and Print Media prior to establishing his own graphic design firm MK Fernie Associates. For the last 10 years Mitchell combined his love of antique signage and carpentry skills into a successful small business that produced handcrafted, original wooden signs sold at selected Maine galleries and worldwide via mail-order. An avid Porsche enthusiast, he spent numerous seasons racing his Porsche 911 in SCCA regional events.
Mitchell Fernie was a fierce individualist, an accomplished artist and designer, an intrepid entrepreneur, passionate woodworker, gardener, and life-long dog lover. Mitchell's kind heart and quick, acerbic wit will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.
I was fortunate to grow up in a home where art was a constant and being creative and maybe a little crazy was rewarded.
There were always artists, models, singers, actors and other types of creatives flowing through our home and our lives.
Please feel free to contact me with any comments and I am always looking for examples of my fathers to post on this site.
Bruce John Fernie