Pop-Up with Christina Thwaites

Featured Artist, Christina Thwaites is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning Tuesday, June 18 to Monday, June 24. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.

June 18 to June 24

Christina Thwaites (1980) is a British painter, based in Orono, Maine, (USA). In 2004 she graduated from The University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK) with an MA in French Literature & History of Art. Whilst living in Paris she attended the Ecole du Louvre and worked as an assistant to watercolorist Patrick Fouilhoux. Her painting skills developed in Italy where she attended La Porta Blu Art School in Rome. During 2010, she worked for some months in Amsterdam at Kanal 10 Guest studio and also in Walasiho, a remote village in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

In 2011 Christina was invited to Palestine to run art workshops and exhibit with Al-Mahatta Gallery during a residency period at Al Fara refugee camp. In 2011 Christina moved back to Italy and helped set up and run 33officinacreativa, an international artist in residency program in the medieval hill-top village of Toffia. Whilst living near Rome, Christina exhibited with private commercial galleries as well as showing work in public establishments including at Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and the MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome). In 2013 she moved to Canberra, Australia and was offered studio space at Australian National Capital Artists (ANCA.) She continued to exhibit in Europe with two solo shows in London and Rome, as well as a joint show with British Pop artist Peter Blake.

In Australia, she established herself with relative ease and had three solo shows in three different states. She moved to Maine in 2015 where she teaches and paints from her basement studio – when she is not chasing around after her two small children!

“My paintings address the familiar. Banal in subject matter, yet relevant. My work reflects the context and geographical location of where I reside at the time and, having moved and traveled a lot, my practice as an artist has been a means of grounding myself so as to feel part of and confident within each new setting.”

“I very much like old black and white photographs, and often work from them – usually sourced in library or museum collections. They provide a starting point for each work and before painting, I do multiple drawings from the photographs in order to ‘get inside’ the image and start my ‘conversation’ with it.”

“I am interested in the process and the transformation of the image from a documentary style photograph to a painting which recalls only elements of that original source. I want to present something clear and recognizable, yet without explaining or reasoning too much, in the hope that the viewer can also give meaning and emotional reflection. “

“The vibrant colors and shapes observed along the coast in Maine are spectacular and exciting and have provided the stimulus for this new body of work. “

To see more of her work visit her website

christinathwaites.net 

 Let us know if you’re coming to Christina Thwaites’ show on Facebook!

 

 

It Figures – Jill Matthews on Figurative Works

Artist Jill Matthews is trying something new, and the response has been incredible. 

Figurative work is a dimension of art that often draws a strong reaction from its viewers. Either they love it, or they don’t.  Matthews has moved into a form of figurative work that doesn’t remove the people from their surroundings. She keeps her work natural and candid, and it allows a connection art lovers long for.

“My children are always with me, and they are big into the ocean and surfing. We are often at the beach, usually with the dogs,” shares Matthews. “I spend a lot of time exposed to these scenes and being in these elements. In a way, it is a record of my life.”

Matthews claims she “dabbles a bit in figurative work.” The result of these dabbling not only brings surfers and beachgoers to life but also a more serious kind of swimmer.

“My boys joined the swim team this year. Therefore I spent a lot of time poolside.  I want to keep digging into this theme and examine it more,” says Matthews. “ There is so much fascinating stuff at swim meets. I quickly became interested in capturing these moments.”

The intensity of competitive swimming or competitive anything is different. It is more extreme, more powerful.  When you add youth into the equation, the energy is palpable.

“A child who is about to race and is anxiously standing, waiting, has a certain body language displaying their emotion,” explains Matthews. “It is contagious.” 

Jill Matthews Solo Show is presently at The Gallery at Maine Art Hill on 14 Western Avenue.  She has taken over the entire first floor, and it spectacular. This show runs until June 25. Remember we do represent Jill year round and always have an extensive collection of her work in our galleries.

All nine of Maine Art Hill’s galleries are open every day at 10 am. We have plenty of parking. Come and visit soon. 

Wade Zahares – A Little History

“As a kid, I opted out of playing football and other neighborhood sports to go draw pictures sitting on my bedroom floor. There was just something special about it,” says local artist Wade Zahares. “On Saturdays, I watched the 60’s cartoons. I loved the backgrounds and tried to create my version. My work today still has some of the same qualities.”

Wade Zahares is being featured in Pop-Up! at Studios on Maine Art Hill at 5 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. His show opens June 11 and runs until June 17 through LAUNCH! A Maritime Festival.

It was high school art class where Zahares had his actual start, and he gives teacher, Jan Merrill much credit for pointing him in the right direction. After high school, he spent two years at the University of Maine at Orono, then transferred to Maryland Institute, College of Art. In 1983 he received his BFA, with gratitude filled thank you to the teacher of illustration, Susan Waters Eller. 

“While in college I started using pastels, after advice from an instructor. It was a good way to start working color into my charcoal drawings,” shares Zahares. “I never worried about style as I figured it would come naturally. Luckily it did.”

Being more concerned about his subject matter, Zahares focused on light, color, and composition. His ideas stem from previous pieces, and his compositions evolve and repeat.

“I have always loved the simplicity of the medium,” says Zahares as he laughs. “Someone needs to remind me of that when I am going out to do plein air, trucking around with my easel, pastel box, board and paper, all covered in pastel.”

Zahares started plein air right out of school, and soon, people started noticing and buying. This lead to attention from Corporate Art dealers whose interest leaned toward his studio work.

“I put my plein air on the back burner, and it wasn’t until the mid-2000’s that my teaching career brought it back. It is something I will never let go again. It gives me a break from my tedious studio work,” says Zahares. “I am back painting on the streets in the local area. Being outside refreshes my memory of life’s details.”

Zahares also has eight children’s book, which he illustrated. In the ’90s, he became acquainted with Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges and her husband, the late Philemon Sturges. They both represented Children’s Book Illustrators and loved his work. 

“It took several years to sign my first contract, but I have been working with Studio Goodwin Sturges ever since,” says Zahares. “My children’s books have  always presented a great challenge in communicating my ideas to others, stretching my composition to the limit and back, forcing ideas,  drawing challenges  and learning to focus and time management.” 

Zahares is crossing his fingers for a new children’s book soon, but can’t disclose information yet. It will be his ninth. He also offers school visits and lectures about his art and his books. 

“Life is all about finding your passion and purpose,” says Zahares. “I was lucky and found mine early in life.”

Wade Zahares will be at Studios on Maine Art Hill as the featured artist in Pop-Up! during Launch, A Maritime Festival. While there he will have original works, prints, including the LAUNCH poster, as well as his children books. He takes over the studio at 5 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk on Tuesday, June 11. His private show runs through June 17, but his prints are always available at Fine Art Prints, also at Studios on Maine Art Hill. 

Array – Ellen Welch Granter, Artist Choice

“Maine colors, Maine patterns, and Maine atmospheres—whether in high summer season or in the quieter offseason, they keep bringing me back,” says Ellen Welch Granter, one of thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Show at Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk.

Granter has been with Maine Art Hill for years and has become “classic” amongst our clients and visitors, especially during the Choice Art Show. Her rendering of New England waters and coastlines make her work the perfect, especially her Artist Choice, Array.

Array is a pared down interpretation of the view looking up the river as it passes through Kennebunkport near the beach,” shares Granter. “There were lots of other things to paint in the view – land, docks, houses, and sailboats for example, but I liked the pattern of these whites in the river’s current.”

The muted blues and pops of color express peace and tranquility found while taking in the beautiful views from land. She filters out the surroundings, which she claims she is not detail-oriented enough to tackle.

“I highlight parts, such as buoys or abstracted boat shapes, that for me offer the reason for painting in the first place, the colors, patterns, and atmospheres,” shares Granter, “especially Maine colors, Maine patterns, and Maine atmospheres. Whether in high summer season or in the quieter offseason, they keep bringing me back.”

Granter offered a variety of subjects this time around for the Choice Show. Her style and color signify its a “Granter,” but it’s lovely to have so many classic coastal themes to choose from.

“As long as they keep making blue paint,” laughs Granter,  “I’ll be alright!”

Granter has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Ellen Welch Granter’s Artist Insights and Stories

Ellen Welch Granter’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

Season of Solitude – Claire Bigbee, Artist Choice

Claire Bigbee is profoundly influenced by her surroundings, both place, and person. Season of Solitude, her Artist Choice piece, was inspired by a working vacation she took this spring. 

Season of Solitude began at my recent trip to the tip of Cape Cod for a weekend. I visited Anne Packard, and her daughters Leslie and Cynthia Packard. Anne, has been the matriarch of an artist family for three generations,” says Bigbee. “Both daughters are a continuation of an artist lineage.”

Bigbee studied under both Anne and Cynthia over the years.  It had been a while since their last visit and Bigbee was excited to spend time with these three women she now calls friends. The fact that it is in a place she finds incredibly beautiful is an added bonus.

Provincetown is a special place that, for centuries, has captured the attention of many famous artists, poets, and writers. “For me, the quiet solitude in Provincetown offseason is a perfect getaway to catch-up and do hopefully do some painting,” says Bigbee. “The incredible light and colorful surroundings are captured perfectly in Season of Solitude, as well as others sparked from this same visit.”

Bigbee has also done workshops on The Hans Hoffman Approach with famed artist Selina Trieff and her husbanding fellow artist Robert Henry at The Provincetown International Art Institute. 

“Since Charles Hawthorne’s arrival in 1899, the Provincetown art colony has played a significant role in the history of American art,” shares Bigbee. “Going there to study my craft is my connection to the great artist in American history there before me.”

Claire Bigbee has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Claire Bigbee ‘s Artist Insights and Stories

Claire Bigbee’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

Banana Bread – William B. Hoyt, Artist Choice

William B. Hoyt is a veteran to the Choice Art Show, and this year one of thirteen Maine Art Hill Artists participating in the event. 

Hoyt is the master of taking small and ordinary and turning them into pieces of beauty.  Where others see personal collections of love and laughter, Hoyt sees art and an opportunity to capture those collections permanently on canvas.

“This is an altar of goodness painted midwinter with the kettle on to boil,” shares Hoyt, referring to Banana Bread, his Artist Choice piece for this year.

When bread, especially banana, comes fresh from the oven, it is always the right time to stop and breath it in. Especially in Vermont. Especially when snow is covering the ground.

“Fresh from the oven, my wife Kathy and I love this edition of the recipe shared by a friend whose mother wrote it out years ago on an index card,” shares Hoyt when explaining the details of the piece. “Above that, from the top, is Willy, a neighbor’s hound, Kathy in Umbria by the Arno in Florence, and two photos of our friend Kim plunging into the water.”

These are just small memories tacked to the window above the kitchen sink. These are just small memories, like so many others for Hoyt, that are now preserved in paint.

Hoyt has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

William B. Hoyt’s Artist Insights and Stories

William B. Hoyt’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

Breakers and Waves – Kathy Ostrander Roberts, Artist Choice

“There is something magical in the movement of wax and resin. It replicates the movement of Maine waters to which I am inexplicably drawn. It too, ebbs and flows, builds and, breaks,” says Kathy Ostrander Roberts, one of thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

Breakers and Waves is Roberts’s Artist Choice and for her a relatively easy one.
“I love the movement of it, the scale, and overall tone. It is one of the bigger paintings I’ve done,” says Roberts. “It held me captive every minute of its creation.”

The depth of the pieces Roberts creates, sometimes fifteen or more layers of wax, allows her to occasionally embed bits of ancient ephemera like ship-captains letters or bits of mica, birch bark or other treasures one might find along the coast.

“Having worked for years in dry pigment in the form of pastels, I find using a blow torch to paint, very freeing,” says Roberts. “It is not only rhythmical but can be meditative as well. The outcome is never certain, and the result is always engaging.”

Roberts typically paints bodies of water and the movement of oceans. Occasionally she paints landscapes with dark and moody callings, bog-like and eerie.

“This ancient medium has been around since the fifth century and has had a renaissance of followers in the last decade. It is unlike any art ever experienced,” Roberts shares. “I encourage viewers to touch the surface. It has a texture that should be touched! I also encourage viewers to get up close and really see the surface of the wax, which can be carved, polished, raised, or smooth. It is delightfully dimensional.”

Roberts has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Kathy Ostrander Roberts’s Artist Insights and Stories

Kathy Ostrander Roberts’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

Secrets of Summer – Bethany Harper Williams, Artist Choice

“I am drawn to the water – it’s what inspires and energizes me – the colors, the sound, the smells, the calm, and the movement. It overwhelms my senses and gives me energy. When I’m painting water, I find that same energy,” says Artist Bethany Harper Williams, one of thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show on Maine Art Hill.

Williams loves the Maine landscape and all it has to offer, both from a physical perspective and a visual perspective. For her, the beautiful beaches and water provide an area to play and create beautiful memories, as well as the inspiration to capture those memories and make them last forever.

“My work explores the shared emotion many of us have to our memories of the beach. As much as it is important the image feels real, I don’t want to get caught up in the reality of the image,” explains Williams. “I want the viewer to take a second, or third, or fourth, look and discover a shape or a pattern and the whimsy in the painting that may not be visible at first glance or from a distance.”

The expanse of beach and water allows Williams to play with texture, shape, and color, abstracting the elements, but using figures or boats to put everything into context. Her addition of geometric patterns in her paint, however, often spark questions.

“I like creating the unexpected. Adding little circles or squares serves as a reminder that it is not a photograph, but inspiration from a moment in time,” explains Williams. “Sometimes, when I’m painting, I get too tight trying to be too real, and I have to step back and loosen up.”

With the Beach Days series, even the artist never knows where the people are going to be on the painting until she starts painting them. Populating the canvas with these little gems of color, she follows where her palette knife takes her. The intention is to find the energy and character of the people through very simple but deliberate brushstrokes. “I feel as if my hand dances across the canvas as I place each person,” says Williams, “composing a rhythm of color.”

“When I see the lobster boats in the water I think of the adventures these simple boats have experienced out on the ocean and the personalities of the people on the boats,” Williams shares. “I love the weathered look and the character of each lobster boat. The water gives me a space to play with shapes, colors, textures, and energetic brushstrokes. The boats give this abstracted area a context.”

Recently Williams began adding sailboats to her repertoire, both up close and far away. She captures both the energy of sailing through her brushstrokes and the calm through the subtle colors and open space.

Secrets of Summer, Williams’s Artist Choice, shows this combination of energy and calm. The long horizontal format provides open space to play with textures, shapes, and patterns in the sand, giving a sense of whimsy and energy, while the open space offers a calmness.

Bethany Harper Williams has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Bethany Harper Williams’s Artist Insights and Stories

Bethany Harper Williams’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

Finding a Way Through – Elizabeth Ostrander, Artist Choice

“I want my sculptures to hold space, to produce the feeling of connection with the mythical and the mystical within and to create bridges to new possibilities,” shares Elizabeth Ostrander Roberts, the only sculptor of the thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show on Maine Art Hill.

For Ostrander, art stirs a renewed aliveness. It sparks curiosity and transports to new places where imaginative possibilities open. It is a gift. A gift she needs to put back out and into the world.

“For me, clay is magical. It feels alive and is so responsive to my hand. I also need to be sensitive to clay’s personality too, as its physical capability changes in variations of air and moisture.” says Ostrander. “We ‘talk.’ It’s a partnership. On my part, it’s also love. Whether I’m happy or sad, clay always feels right.”

After her clay piece is vitrified, made solid in the kiln, Ostrander chooses to add color with acrylic. Painting her sculptures as if they were canvases.

“Color too is transformative magic and brings out the sculptures personalities. Sometimes I collage or stencil or join my clay sculptures to found objects of metal or wood,” explains Ostrander. “This gives my clay sculptures a larger juxtaposing story. When I choose such serendipitously found objects to add with a clay sculpture, it “speaks” to me and tells me that it wants a larger story. It’s not yet done with being important.”

When she joins her clay sculptures with metal, it gives them a more tenuous personality reflecting, to her, a love/hate relationships to our inventions. With wood, they share more of a compatible natural essence.

“Living in Maine near both forests and the shifting tides of the sea, my life feels like a free-flowing mythical, magical journey,” says Ostrander. “Wanting to imbue my sculptures with my own exploratory narratives, I always hope others might use them as bridges to their personal mythical, magical possibilities of renewed aliveness.”

Ostrander has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Elizabeth Ostrander’s Artist Insights and Stories

Elizabeth Ostrander’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

Feeling the Sun – Liz Hoag, Artist Choice

Artist Liz Hoag chose Feeling the Sun for her Artist Choice piece for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show. “The simplification, abstraction, and color choices come together to give it an open but also warm and comforting feeling of place,” says Hoag.

Hoag’s current work is a refining of her ideas about composition, color, and light. In this work, she sheds realistic or narrative detail, while retaining idea. More than depicting a detailed image of a place, the work retains a sense of place, but absent are the most clearly defined ties to a specific location.

“I use the woods as a starting point for an abstract idea. By intentionally cropping the view, I consciously retain a substantive structural focal point within the composition,” shares Hoag. “I use other elements that guide the audience to look around the space and return to the focal point. The forms from nature I choose to retain are weighted and colored in a way that makes the viewer feel sure of her footing, feel balanced, feel comfortable.”

Hoag’s use of color and value gives depth to the realistic space at the same time it aids in the abstract two and three-dimensional balance. With different palette choices in each work, there is often a sense of season and time of day as well. This adds to the comfort the viewer experiences and a feel of a defined place.

“My use of negative space between trees or other elements enhances the push and pull of both the depth of the imagined landscape and the flat plane of the canvas,” explains Hoag. “It helps us travel through the space in more than one dimension. And I love the interplay that often comes off like stained glass.”

Artists learn to make forms turn in space and mimic what we see. Hoag is growing out of that system of seeing. She is looking for a connection to the real world that is more sensory and abstract than constructed.

“I still retain a feeling of solidity in wood or tree without the constraints of super realistic painting. The work is not impressionist but contains impressionist elements,” says Hoag. “It maintains a solid base structure with light and color as interrelated collaborative elements.”

Hoag has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Liz Hoag’s Artist Insights and Stories

Liz Hoag’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill