Monday, August 29, 2011

Painting on an Island in Maine

Last week, I and two other artists, Ellen Cooper and Alyce Grunt, were marooned (not really, but it was fun to pretend) on a small Island off the coast of Maine, We had our painting supplies, of course, and some food, and all the necessities.

It was a very small island. If you like lots of distractions, it probably wouldn't suit you. If you can't be without internet service, it would definitely not suit you. But if you like to paint, there's almost too much to do. Everywhere we turned, there was a painting waiting to be painted. As the light changed, or the weather, the possibilities multiplied. I've visited this special island many times over many years, and I've never been so constantly busy.

I've always liked painting both landscape and architecture, and when the two are combined I think the tension between natural and man-made forms makes an especially interesting painting. On a technical level, I am interested in how different brushes, and brush-marks, can be used to express these forms. Walls are straight yet a structure can feel organic; tree branches grow in curves and forks, yet the patterns are predictable. A rock and a tree trunk can be painted using almost the same color, but what makes them look like what they are?

Color makes a fascinating study. There are many colors in nature, but an artist can mix them with few colors on the palette--or many. I especially enjoyed painting the white buildings on the island, because the different facets of a white object are the best and purest indicators of the color of the direct light and the halftones at different times of the day. A photo will only approximate the colors you see in real life.

When we weren't painting, we cooked, read books, talked (a lot) and just hung out. We even went to the mainland and visited some galleries and the Farnsworth Art Museum. Being in Maine, even for a short time, gave us a break from the stresses of work and everyday life, and put us in touch with what is really important in life. Hopefully as we head into fall we can carry with us memory of our island trip to help us put things in perspective.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Catalogues Available

The Aladdin Lamp, oil on linen, 20" x 30"

The Dowling Walsh Gallery is offering a 22-page color catalog of my show Right Here: New Maine Paintings for the very reasonable price of $5. You can pick one up at the gallery, or contact Jake Dowling at 207-596-0084 or at if you would like one sent to you via mail.

The catalog includes 20 color reproductions and an essay by Carl Little, author of Edward Hopper's New England and other books. His article on Fairfield Porter and James Schuyler appears in the 2011 Island Journal.

Right Here: New Maine Island Paintings

Last Friday, on August 5th, my solo show Right Here opened at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine. It was a busy night for the arts in Rockland--First Friday Art Walk with gallery openings all over town and in nearby Thomaston, The Farnsworth Museum open late with free admission, and the famous annual Lobster Festival all coinciding--so I met lots of art lovers that evening! Jake Dowling and his talented team never cease to impress me. The work was hung beautifully. And the food (thanks to Hilary) was out of this world. If you are tired of gallery openings at which only wine is served, go to Dowling Walsh for a multi-sensory experience.

I first met this couple a few nights before at the CMCA Auction.

Suzette McAvoy, Director of the CMCA and former Curator at the Farnsworth, and my long-time friend and painting partner, Diana Cobb Ansley. Suzette wrote the essay for the catalog for my 2009 show at Fischbach Gallery in NY. She has known Diana since she interned for her at the Smithsonian.

Artist Lea Colie Wight flew in from Philadelphia to check out the Maine art scene.

Becca in front of Overlook.

Julian in front of Elemental Balance.

Here I'm standing in for Nancy Bea Miller in front of Star at the Edge.

Artist Richard Ranck and Cartoonist/author Tony Auth.

If you are in Rockland, or anywhere on the coast of Maine, in August, please stop by and see the show.

Show dates: August 5th-28th, 2011
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10-5

Dowling Walsh Gallery
352 Main Street
Rockland, ME 04841