The following article appeared in the Bangor Daily News on 10/27/11:
New art exhibit unveiled at Maine Capitol Complex
Posted Oct. 27, 2011, at 1:19 p.m.
The artwork of Alexandra Tyng, including this one titled "Painting on Cadillac," is now on display in Maine’s Capitol Complex as part of the Maine Arts Commission’s Arts in the Capitol program.
The artwork of Alexandra Tyng, including this one titled "Back to the Lakes," is now on display in Maine’s Capitol Complex as part of the Maine Arts Commission’s Arts in the Capitol program.
The artwork of Alexandra Tyng, including this one titled "Boat Sailing in Sunset," is now on display in Maine’s Capitol Complex as part of the Maine Arts Commission’s Arts in the Capitol program.
Augusta, Maine — The Maine Arts Commission announced Thursday that the artwork of Alexandra Tyng and James Dodds is now on display in Maine’s Capitol Complex as part of the agency’s Arts in the Capitol program.
The exhibit has been loaned by the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, and will remain on display until February 2012. The work is viewable by the public throughout the week at the Maine State House from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at the Blaine House from 2 to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays. Those wishing to visit the Blaine House are advised to call ahead.
“The Maine Arts Commission is delighted to be hosting this exhibition of paintings,” said exhibit facilitator Donna McNeil. “These world-famous artists depict familiar visions of life in Maine and guide the viewer toward a deep and joyful attachment to Maine’s landscape and way of life.”
Tyng began drawing and painting the Maine landscape as a teenager while staying at a nineteenth century rustic camp on one of Mount Desert Island’s lakes, and at her brother’s lighthouse home in Penobscot Bay. In the 1990s she began chartering planes so she could take reference photos of the glacially carved land formations of coastal Maine, which she uses as references to create large-scale paintings. She also paints panoramas from mountaintops, and closer, more intimate views of places. Every summer she spends several weeks painting outside on Mount Desert, Monhegan, Deer Isle and various other locations.
Tyng has had solo shows in Maine, New York and Philadelphia. She was selected as one of Maine’s outstanding artists by Maine Home+Design in 2008. Her Maine landscapes have been featured in “The Art of Monhegan” by Carl Little, and in art magazines, including “Fine Art Connoisseur” and “International Artist.”
Dodds was born in the small fishing town of Brightlingsea, which is nestled on the east coast of England. He trained as a shipwright in the nearby town of Maldon before moving to London to study painting at both the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.
Dodds, who is a frequent visitor to Maine, has exhibited paintings and prints of boats throughout England and here in Maine at the Dowling Walsh Gallery.
All Arts in the Capitol events are free and open to the public, however, exhibitions are self-guided and may only be viewed within prescribed times. For information on this and all programs available through the Maine Arts Commission, visitMaineArts.com.
Many thanks to juror Richard McKinley and the editors of The Artist's Magazine for awarding my painting Morning Sun over Monhegan Village an Honorable Mention. A photograph of my work was included in the magazine's December 2011 issue. This year, my work was also awarded finalist status in the Portrait/figure category.
I was just reading a post in my friend Terry Strickland's blog about how and why artists (including herself) paint in series, and I thought it was so interesting I felt like continuing her thought in a post of my own.
I definitely do paint in series, and like Terry I have several running at once, simultaneously, and they continue on for years. I go back and forth between themes.
When I started painting in the 70s, it was fashionable for artists to paint in "series." They would do a series for a certain show, then move on to the next series. I just didn't get it. It seemed boring to make a whole show about one theme. And then, to leave the theme, never to return--well, that seemed artificial. I knew artists did it, and enjoyed it, but it just wasn't for me.
Then I started realizing that I actually was already working in series, that I had my own series to paint. I liked painting the rustic architecture in Maine, the exteriors and interiors of these old camps, and I also enjoyed painting panoramic landscapes from mountaintops. Suddenly I saw all these paintings as part of the same series. Rather than a linear examination of a subject, it was more of a hierarchical approach, seeing and understanding certain places from different levels of distance. I had always wanted to fly over these areas to see them from even farther away, to see how everything related to each other from the air, so once I got up my courage to do so, my particular approach to a series began to reach another level, so to speak.
My fascination for certain subjects is long-running. I still paint camps and now also lighthouses and islands in Maine. Even the people who inhabit these places have become incorporated into my series. There are other themes that interest me, too. Who knows--they may run for my whole life, since series are really themes of an artist's life. If they are major themes, they will sustain the artist's interest over a long period of time.
A couple of years ago, I heard artist Mary Whyte speak at the Portrait Society of America Conference about inspiration. She said something that resonated with me. To paraphrase: "Think about the things that you were interested in drawing as a child. These are likely to be still the things you want to paint, the things that make your paintings unique." Then and there, I asked myself if I was doing that. The answer was yes. I'd been doing it unconsciously, but now I do it much more consciously. These things are my themes, my series.
We all have themes in our lives--it's just a matter of living long enough to begin to see all our experiences not as a collective jumble of "things that happened," but as interrelated groupings. We give meaning to these groupings by remembering things in a certain way, according to what is most important to us, and how we perceive life. These meaningful themes become the "stories" of our lives. Authors use this stuff to write books. Artists use this stuff to make paintings and sculpture. It's our visual language.
So if we are painting series that really mean something to us, they will never really end because they are the major themes of our lives, and getting in touch with them is crucial to getting to the root of our artistic inspiration and expression. If you want to know what makes artists tick, all you have to do is look at the ongoing themes in their work.