David Witbeck – A Solo Show at Maine Art Gallery

09/21/2017 0 Comments
 
David Witbeck – A Solo Show at Maine Art Gallery

Fans of artist David Witbeck might quickly – and rightfully so – associate him with a particular subject. “I’ve been painting my signature fishermen for eleven years,” Witbeck says. “They’ve become my identity as an artist, but it’s not all I am.”

Abner by David Witbeck

Witbeck’s recent work, which includes figurative and landscape pieces, will be on display for three weeks at Maine Art Gallery in Kennebunk, beginning Saturday, September 22. The artist will attend the opening reception that evening, from 5 to 7 PM.

Witbeck’s larger-than-life coastal characters have earned him many ardent followers. During recent years, however, the Rhode Island-based artist has focused his energies on other subjects. For example, last October he spent time in Maine, in Friendship and Stonington, so he could focus on pole wharves. Witbeck is drawn to their spindly and fragile appearance, which belies their ability to withstand the constant barrage of the tides.

Time and Tide by David Witbeck

“I love walking low-tide mudflats, around and under pole wharves, looking for whatever secrets the receding water may have revealed,” Witbeck says. While his subject matter may shift, his loose, bold, expressive style has not. “The actual wharves in these harbor villages don’t look a bit like the ones I painted for the show,” he says. “As always, my work has always been more about what it feels like than what it looks like.”

Yellow Harbor by David Witbeck

John Spain, Maine Art’s owner, says that Witbeck’s work evokes joy. “I’ve had the pleasure of representing David Witbeck for eight years and one of the most enjoyable parts is watching peoples’ first reactions to his work,” Spain says. “It begins with the smiles on their faces, and then they stand and really study each piece, the amazing compositions, and the masterful execution.”

Witbeck looks forward to discussing his work and his process at the opening. Maine Art Gallery is at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. The gallery opens 10 AM daily. FMI, visit maine-art.com or call 967-2803.

Click to see the new show in a virtual 360-degree tour.

Click to see our entire collection of David Witbeck’s available works.

Click to read more about David Witbeck.

Liz Hoag – First Life and the Law

09/14/2017 0 Comments
 
Liz Hoag – First Life and the Law

“People think that being an artist and being a lawyer are exact opposites, one, a left brain activity, one a right brain activity,” says Liz Hoag. “I disagree.”

Liz Hoag completed her undergrad at Cornell and received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Studio Art in 1983. She then earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from Boston University in 1986. Thinking she had completed her “college life”,  she moved to Maine started a screen printing business, mostly on fabric, t-shirts and such.

“My boyfriend quit his urchin diving business and grew the screen printing business with me two years later. However, things change. Our relationship ended in 1994, and in 1997 I sold out my share of the business to him, as well.”

 

At that point, Liz decided on another change and opted for law school at the University of Maine. She met her husband in 2002,  earned her JD in 2003, clerked for a Justice on the law court and had twins in 2004, and soon after took a new job at Pine Tree Legal Assistance. We are fairly certain she took a few deep breaths in there as well.

When asked about her complete change in life work, this is often her answer:

“The biggest difference lies between the culture of art and the culture of law.  Art is generally a friendly and even collaborative field.  Law is neither,” says Hoag. “Law is designed to be adversarial.  Someone wins and someone loses; end of story.”

The second twist in the story…in 2010, Liz quit law and went back to art.

“It took a while for the decision to gestate.  Up until 2010, I didn’t have the courage or self-confidence to be an artist full-time.  I  had a husband.  I had children.  I had financial responsibilities,” says Hoag.  She also had the problem many of women have, she felt like a fraud. “I never thought I was as good as others thought I was.  So if I never really tried, I couldn’t fail, and people would still think I was good. There was no risk.”

However, with a fiftieth birthday coming up fast, Liz knew if she was going to do it, she had to do it soon. “I did my financial calculations. I had arguments with my husband. Then, I quit my job,” she says with a grin.

As an artist, one might not be as successful financially as another painter or might not have particular skills another has, but Hoag believes artists are not expected to face off against each other so that someone wins and someone loses.

“We find our places as artists. We change and grow and have open-ended possibilities,” says Hoag. She found after a few years of practicing law, she was just exhausted from spending her days arguing with other lawyers and always trying to “win”.

“There were certainly some good feelings that came with a win in court, but the feelings didn’t last. I worked with low-income residents of Maine and liked the idea of giving them quality legal representation, but in the end, I knew that I was better at something else, and I’d be happier doing that something else.”

The biggest difference between the two I think lies the culture of art and the culture of law.  Art is generally a friendly and even collaborative field.  Law is neither.  Law is designed to be adversarial.  Someone wins and someone loses; end of story.  As an artist, I might not be as successful financially as another painter or I might not have particular skills another has, but we are not expected to face off against each other.

Having found success in both fields Liz feels there are more similarities than many understand.

“The thought processes of both professions require both sides of the brain.  Of course, we think of art as being creative, but the fact is if I sit around in my studio and wait for inspiration to show up, I would never get anything done,” laughs Hoag.  “An artist and a lawyer need to focus, have goals, and plans to achieve them.”

Hoag knows we all need to work through the days of “I just don’t want to do this”. We all have to learn and we have to be creative. Law is no different.

“On an average day, I was rewarded for NOT being creative – that’s what “precedent” is all about.  The need to research and use what has gone before to help win a case,” says Hoag. “But then when a case with a novel issue comes, one that hasn’t been dealt with in Maine perhaps, this is when creativity is critical. I was able to take precedent and expand it. I loved giving the judge something new to think about,” says Hoag with a smile. “It’s rare and exciting working on a novel idea in law, but it does happen. So see, art and law both require hard work, critical thinking, and creativity.”

Law has also helped Hoag understand producing art is hard work like any other profession. It deserves respect and effort. “I still get comments about how being lucky,  about being talented and the lovely comment ‘I wish I could quit my jobs and just do art’,” Hoag laughs. “Me too, I want to say, but I simply say Thank you. Yes, it’s great.’ and move on.”

Hoag knows it’s not that simple and being lucky or genetically talented didn’t get her where she is as a painter today.  “Hard work, a lot of thought, and some middle-aged self-confidence got me here,” she says. “And I’m so glad I made the move. My possibilities are infinite.”

Click the links below for more about Liz Hoag. View her One Woman Show at Maine Art Gallery

Read more Artist Insights from Liz Hoag

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Meet the Staff – Jessica Goodwin, Marketing Director

09/11/2017 0 Comments
 

We are taking this opportunity to welcome Jessica Goodwin to the Maine Art family. She is coming on board under the official title of Marketing Director. However, like all our staff at the gallery, she will be involved with all aspects of this wonderful little place we call Maine Art.

Even though Jessica wasn’t born in Maine, she still has the heart of a Mainer. Once surrounded by this life in Northern New England, it just becomes a part of you and you can’t help but come back. “Both my parents are from here, but the Air Force took them to Tacoma, Washington, and that is where I was born. So, while I’m not a Mainer by official terms, I did move back when I was two,” shares Jessica. “We lived at my grandfather’s camp on beautiful Bailey Island until moving to Portland when I was little.”

Upon graduation from high school, Jessica’s wanderlust kicked in. “I graduated a semester early from high school, and promptly moved to California where I lived and went to college for the next six years,” explains Goodwin. San Diego State University was her choice, and there she earned a double degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in both Journalism and Spanish.

Her fluent Spanish has helped Jessica in many areas of her life, especially her love of travel. Meeting new people and traveling the world is a high priority. If she can use the language she has grown to love almost as much, she is thrilled. “Most recently I traveled to Nicaragua. New places give me a perspective about the world that no other experience can render. It is humbling, enriching, and intoxicating,” says Goodwin. “To me, it’s one of the most beneficial things one can do for themselves.” Some of her favorite places are Nicaragua; Chefchauen, Morocco; Portugal, and of course, Spain, each and every corner of Spain. She even was able to live in Madrid for a little while.

Yet the lure of Maine continues to pull her back. Maine and her family. With all of her immediate family in the Portland area, it makes sense to call it home. “My mother, father, and brother are all here, as well as my significant other, Seth. It’s important to me to the people I love close by.”

Jessica also has an art career of her own. “I have an art studio space in Portland with my dear friend Mali Welch. We are best friends, but also very compatible business partners. It’s a pretty special relationship we have going on,” says Goodwin. “We make handbags and clutches out of vintage leather jackets, and textiles we print. Our business name is “El Bolso”.” In Spanish El Bolso means anything used to carry an object one holds dear. Again, her love of a language continues to feed her passion for life. “Sometimes we just go to the studio without an agenda and sometimes we go and bust out fifteen different designs. The best part, it’s still fun for both of us.”

Jessica comes to us by way of Maine Magazine. She worked at Maine Media Collective for six years. “I first worked in events, then production manager for three years. I was an advertising account manager for a year and a half, as well. I never thought I would be in sales. That was a surprise.” Overall, her passion is to create whether that be through design or an actual product. This is what prompted the career change to Maine Art.

“The authenticity of what Maine Art stands for really resonated with me. It is full of kind and passionate people,” say Goodwin “The thirty incredibly talented artists alone were a huge draw. I am excited to apply my skill sets and learn about art in a new way.”

So consider this your personal invitation to come by and visit and say hello. We all will be happy to see you, but Jessica is looking forward to meeting not only our artists and customers but the entire community.

Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture on 14 Western Ave is open at 10 am every day. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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Artists Insights – Words from Liz Hoag

09/07/2017 0 Comments
 
Artists Insights – Words from Liz Hoag

The entire first floor of Maine Art is currently featuring work from artist Liz Hoag. While she was here visiting, she shared a few words with us regarding her work and her perspective of Maine.  Her show will run through Thursday, Septemeber 21st.

From Liz…..

“You take a photograph of a sunset over a lake and realize later when you look at the photo that there were branches in your view.  You unknowingly wiped them from view when you were looking through the lens.  But they’re there; part of the landscape that gives depth and frames the beauty. They are an integral part of the beauty.  You take them in without thinking about them.

When you’re walking in the woods, you think “this is so peaceful” and look around at the “quiet.” It’s not just that the trees surrounding you dampen the sounds of nearby civilization, but the light and color around you also make the space “quiet. “ The warm light sifting through the trees, the colors of early morning or late afternoon, the cool blues and browns of the path all come together to give you that peace.  At any time of day, even at midday with the bright light washing away some of the color, the balance of the trees, branches, light and dark of the forest still creates calm.

You go to the edge of the sea in Maine to find “calm.”  Islands, boats, and seaweed break up the vast expanse.  Rather than wrapping your arms around yourself as you might in the closed quiet of the forest, you instead take a deep breath and spread your arms wide. You find a different sort of peace here.

Paths, trees, branches, color, light, air, open space, water; we have it all here in Maine.  Whether it’s looking up at trees in our suburban neighborhoods, driving down country highways, or walking trails to the lakes and sea; we have a visual peace and quiet within reach.  You can find calm and beauty right along the road almost anywhere in Maine.”

Artist Liz Hoag

We are open daily at 10 am. Please come visit or click here to see her entire show in a 360-degree virtual tour.  Virtual Tour and Online Show.

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Meet the Staff – Natalie Lane, Gallery Director

09/04/2017 0 Comments
 
Meet the Staff – Natalie Lane, Gallery Director Back in May, we did a featured blog piece on Natalie.  At the time, she was our gallery manager. However, like the season, things are changing here at Maine Art, as well. So… We would like to reintroduce Natalie Lane, our new Gallery Director. She is still the same wonderful smile that greets you as you enter Maine Art, but her role with us will grow and change to feature her talent and skills in many different ways.

As many already know, Natalie has always been the brains and talent behind our framing counter.  With over twenty-four years framing experience, we are incredibly lucky to have her.  For the last ten years, she has shared her amazing eye for design, her color sense, and skills in the Maine Art frame shop and on the sales floor. She is an accomplished framer and manages to keep us all on task and organized, and helps keep the gallery running. This is something that won’t change too much. When you have an expert in the house, it is impossible not to utilize her.

Natalie Lane, Gallery Manager

Natalie was born at Portsmouth Naval Air Hospital in Kittery, Maine. Her father was stationed at Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth. Being a military child, her travels started at a young age. One of her earliest memories is of Madrid, Spain, while her father was stationed at Torrejon Air Base.

“I think this is where my interest in art may have begun. There was a man in Spain, Suarez Gomez, who became a friend of my father’s.  He was an artist that used various mediums such as oil, pastel, and charcoal. Several paintings and portraits of his hung in our home for many years, even after we returned stateside,” says Lane. “Some of them hang in my home now.”

Homestead by Suarez Gomez

Natalie’s family returned to the U.S in 1969. Throughout her life, she has called many places in New Hampshire and southern Maine home. She is truly a New Englander at heart. She has a love for hiking, fishing, and gardening. Living in rural Maine with her wonderful husband, Jeff, certainly, helps foster these activities.

“I have a lot of artwork in my home centered around trees, birds, and botanicals, so I guess you could say I’m a nature lover,” says Natalie.  “Thanks to my 4-H leader, Mrs. Saltmarsh, I have also been sewing and designing with fabric since I was nine years-old. Project Runway is my guilty pleasure. On my days off, I like to poke around flea markets and browse through old photos. Yet most of all, I love spending time with family and friends. My husband, daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons are by far my favorites.”

The Grandbabies The Happy Couple Mother and Daughter

Natalie participated in various clubs and sports in school, but her favorite was Drama Club. She is always writing or composing something in her head, but it was the camaraderie and creativeness it required that drew her in. This explains why she is so at home at Maine Art.

“When I came to Maine Art, I was prompted to take on the challenge of original art sales along with running the custom framing aspect of the business. I enjoy welcoming new customers to the gallery, engaging in conversation, and introducing them to the works of all our artists,” says Lane. “I feel lucky to have a career in a creative field, and I am  privileged to work with such quality people.”

Art has always been a love of Natalie’s, even though she doesn’t draw or paint. Apparently, this talent was doled out to other members of her family but skipped her. Taking lessons is on her list of future plans, but so are a few other things.

“In the future, I want to travel. Honestly, anywhere. I want to see more of America, especially the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest. As far as what I want to be when I grow up,” Lane pauses and smiles, “I plan on becoming our beloved Miss Patty.”

Natalie and Miss Patty Taylor

Miss Patty Taylor is one of our former employees, who still visits often, and whom we all love dearly.  If anyone can fill Miss Patty’s shoes it will certainly be Natalie. Even though we have other shoes for her to fill, we have no doubt she will continue to emulate the wonder that is Miss Patty. This is proven in her final words of her last interview when we asked what was most important to know about her;

“I believe in the Golden Rule, Karma, and if I can help, I will.”

Natalie Lane, Gallery Manager

To read about other members of our staff click here.

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Liz Hoag – A One-Woman Show at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture

08/31/2017 0 Comments
 
Liz Hoag – A One-Woman Show at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture

Artist Liz Hoag finds inspiration in the simple act of taking a walk in the woods near her Portland home. It isn’t just about what she sees – it is also about what she feels.

“When walking in the woods, the trees surround us. We cannot see the quiet, but we feel it,” says Hoag.

We are so excited to be featuring Hoag’s work in a three-week show beginning Saturday, September 2. We are also thrilled that she will attend the opening reception Saturday evening, from 5 to 7 PM.

Hoag, who has lived in Maine for about 25 years, has a studio in Westbrook. After taking photographs on walks around her Portland neighborhood or one of the many trails around the state, Hoag goes to work in her studio. “This is where the magic happens. I normally start with a dark canvas, or negative space, and build up by adding light. For me, the result is both abstract and representational,” she says.

Hoag blends the ideas inspired by her nature experiences into her work, using mostly acrylic paint on canvas. “It seems I have always leaned toward realistic work, but I like abstract. It’s looser,” Hoag says. She describes the work as “misty” when she discusses the pulling of light color over dark. “It is the light and color that makes a space quiet,” she says.

Hoag especially focuses on trees, as she feels they are the part of the landscape that gives depth and frames the beauty of the outdoors. “They are an integral part of nature. We take them in without thinking about them,” she says.

Besides the “treescapes” Hoag has become known for, she also paints seascapes and landscapes, which will be part of her upcoming show. Nature is constantly inspiring her to paint. “It’s balance and shape,” Hoag says. “For each of us, there is a need to find beauty and balance in the everyday. Much of what I paint is considered ordinary. They are things usually passed by, but if a second is taken to stop and see, it’s impossible not to notice how truly dramatic they are. The balance of the light and dark always manages to create calm.”

Although her work is an expression of her relationship to nature, Hoag ultimately is hoping to evoke feelings in those who view her work. “I personally do not think of the ‘story’ or ‘narrative’ of my paintings,” says Hoag. “That being said, these paintings truly reflect the feel of the moment when I was in this beautiful place.”

Hoag is looking forward to discussing her work and her process at the reception opening night. Please come in and visit at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk.

The online show is live Friday afternoon, Septemeber 1. Watch our Facebook page for the update.

FMI maine-art.com or 967-2803.  We are open daily – please check our website for times.

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And Summer Turns to Fall

08/28/2017 0 Comments
 
And Summer Turns to Fall

Our show gallery on Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk is a seasonal gallery. With just a few more days left in our Maine Art Shows Season, we wanted to take time to thank all of our patrons, artists, and friends who have supported us for our 2017 summer shows.

Over the course of the summer, we celebrated with four shows: The 6th Annual Choice Show, Craig Mooney’s One Man Show, our 20th Anniversary Show, and presently, Three Artists, Three Rooms, One Show – Frey, Gerding, and Granter. Click each to view, if you didn’t have a chance to see them. A few pieces from each show are still available on the Artist Pages. Each show featured some of the best art work from around the state and New England.  We were incredibly fortunate to house such beauty.

Mike Walsh Trio David Hurd -Personal Chef and Catering

Our success over the past few months has been overwhelming, and we owe it to all involved. It has been a fabulous summer, and already we are already planning great things for next year. Be sure to stay connected through email and social media to help plan your visits next year.

With all that said, it is nearly impossible to believe Labor Day is this weekend, and we will close the gallery on the hill on Monday. However, the nice part about having two gallery spaces is that it doesn’t have to end. So even though our show gallery is closing on Chase Hill, our main gallery at 14 Western Avenue stays open year round and will be hosting two fall shows.  Liz Hoag will open on September 2nd and run through the 21st. Following her will be David Witbeck from September 23rd to October 23rd.  Each will take over the entire first floor of the gallery and help us to welcome in fall. Watch for more info on each coming soon.

So… as the autumn leaves start to fall, and the kiddos go back to school, don’t forget we are still here and come in for a visit. We have the same wonderful artists we featured all summer long, in addition to many other favorites.

Check our website for hours and our calendar of events. www.maine-art.com

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Philip Frey and His Changing Landscapes

08/24/2017 0 Comments
 
Philip Frey and His Changing Landscapes

Philip Frey lives in a part of Maine where sea and shore meet mountain and forest. His studio and home are hidden away just minutes from the varied and beautiful landscape of Acadia National Park. When an artist is immersed in the beauty only mother nature can create, it is impossible not to capture it in paint.

“Painting en plein air and then moving into the studio to work is typically a matter of refining the painting in terms of subtle color and value changes to bring it to completion,” says Frey.

Philip has practiced in many mediums, from watercolor to acrylic to oil. The many landscapes that make up the lands of Maine welcome the artist in. “What interests me in most all my paintings is light and color; the sense of light coming through and infusing a locale,” says Frey. “The ephemeral quality of light, color, and shape is intriguing and draws me towards it.”

Frey borders a style somewhere between realism and abstraction. His work is familiar but has a composition that allows some leeway. “I’ve always been interested in abstraction, particularly the moving line between abstraction and representation. It’s a fun and fruitful place to explore,” he says. “I sometimes think about how can I paint the essence of something or a place through an economy of brush strokes.”

This collection of Philip Frey’s work will be at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill until Labor Day. We are open every day from 11 am to 5 pm. Please stop by and visit, or click here to see the online show with a 360-degree virtual tour. Click here to see our entire collection of Philip’s work.

  Philip Frey    

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Three Views of Maine

08/21/2017 0 Comments
 
Three Views of Maine

When your business is called Maine Art, people come looking for images captured not only in the spirit of Maine but often times in the places of Maine. The three artists currently featured at Maine Art Shows do just that.

Philip Frey, who lives and paints on the midcoast of Maine, views his home through a lens of abstract realism. His works are of places and things we know and love, but his loose strokes and beautiful blocking create works even Mother Nature can love.

Fluid Sky Tidal Plane by Philip Frey Water, Island, Sky by Philip Frey Near, Far by Philip Frey

His landscapes represent the forest and the mountains, the sea and the fields. Each holds a memory of a vacation once spent or a childhood never forgotten. They are the places we will visit soon enough or sometimes they are the view from our window. Frey captures Maine as he sees it; his home.

With Ellen Granter, we move to the shore. Granter has a family home on Goose Rocks Beach, practically right next door to Maine Art’s galleries. It is where her mother and father call home, where her brothers and sisters gather in the summer, and where aunts and uncles and cousins congregate. Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are visited often and Ellen finds her solitude in the harbors here.

Dories 1 by Ellen Granter Galaxy by Ellen Granter Docked by Ellen Granter

The peace and quiet in these pieces are similar to the tranquility found in the landscapes and bird works that Granter has produced in the past. They show a side of the coast that is separate from the hustle and bustle of town and village. The beauty of the moored sailboat, the docked dingy, or the floating dory are landscapes of our area many take for granted until we are reminded of what a true part of our culture they are.

Our last view of Maine is a different side of coastal life – the marsh.  Margaret Gerding lives on the marsh in Cape Porpoise in Kennebunkport.  Through her studio windows, she watches the light change and often drops everything to go “be” in it.  No matter the time of day, the magic of the marsh is a painter’s paradise.

Seeing Forever by Margaret Gerding Aqua Cleansing by Ellen Granter Soft Colors of the Marsh by Margaret Gerding

Margaret loves to paint outside and is often found in the “secret” places of the coast with either her sketch pad or easel or both.  Occasionally, you will even find her teaching.  Now that she calls Maine her home, her art classes take place here.

So no matter what side of Maine you are looking for, you will find it here at Maine Art Shows up on Chase Hill. This Three Artists, Three Rooms show will run through Labor Day.  We are open from 11-5 every day.  Come visit or check us out online.  Click here for the virtual 360-degree tour  – it is the next best thing to being here.

Philip FreyEllen GranterMargaret Gerding

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Ellen Granter on Sailing – A Love-Hate Relationship

08/17/2017 0 Comments
 

“I began painting boats recently because I love the way they evoke a sense of peace and calmness,” says Granter. “However, some of my fondest childhood memories of the sailing world were not on the water nor were they calm and peaceful.”

Boston Harbor November by Ellen Granter Galaxy by Ellen Granter Hazy Light by Ellen Granter

While speaking with Ellen about her newest collection, she shared some of her memories of her father, who loves sailing, and family and friends who also love the sea. Her favorite moments were not the day at sea, but more the riotous camaraderie that followed a great day of sailing.

“I survived several seasons of sailing in the Rochester Frostbite Association,” remembers Granter. “They were an intrepid group of fierce competitors who braved the brutal, bitter cold of a Lake Ontario winter and sailed no matter the conditions.” Granter laughs as she retells her story. “I immediately get seasick on the water, and these events began my reference to sailing as merely “The S Word”.  Even though I did not love being out on the boat, I did love the loud and often hilarious rules-protest arguments in the bar afterward. They made it almost worth the whole effort.”

With so many memories of this world and the bonds created with others who love sailing, it is not a surprise that Ellen found her way back to the water.  It is also no surprise that her favorite view is from the safety of the harbors of Maine and New England. Here is where she finds inspiration.

Dories 3 by Ellen Granter Dories 1 by Ellen Granter

If you are a boat lover, be it sailboats, dories, or schooners, Granter’s present collection of work is a can’t-miss opportunity.  Not only do they capture the love of the sea and harbors, many are small enough to be hung in the cabin of your favorite vessel.

Andiamo by Ellen Granter

Maine Art Shows is open every day from 11-5 at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. This show will run until Labor Day, September 4.  If you cannot make it in, please check out the online show and 360-degree tour on our website by clicking here.

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