Elizabeth Ostrander – Artist Insights

01/12/2017 2 Comments

Elizabeth Ostrander

Elizabeth Ostrander has not forgotten her “inner woman”.  She celebrates her with clay and a glaze of acrylic paint to make her come alive in so many of her sculptures. “The mystical and the mythical, the search for understanding and harmony, the conscious creation of self and community are essential parts of my female life and experience,” says Ostrander. “Female images in my sculptures reflect not only my own experiences as a woman, but also synchronicities beyond myself.” She believes in the power of this connection. It is a balance and a love, along with an understanding of the body as an expressive agent. This originated in her teens while a student of classical ballet in New York. “I found through dancing that our bodies are places of knowledge and revelation. Early in my childhood until my late teens I studied ballet and experienced my body’s emotional expression through movement. Today, I still love to dance. I enlighten my sculpting-self with my dancing-self by posing my own body in the position I want to sculpt,” says Ostrander. “I want to feel my sculpture both physically and emotionally from the inside out. Some artists find this through music, but it is the physicality of dance that becomes the physicality of my sculptures.” Nature, especially in Maine, also gives her enduring inspiration. In 1971, Elizabeth moved from New York to the coast of Maine, a move that holds no regret.
“Rural Maine has been my home since I moved from New York City, heeding the call of the then popular back-to-the-land movement. Like many others, I was filled with the idealism of the time, and wanted to live a self-directed life, close to Nature,” says Elizabeth. “I am still grateful for my unique and uprooted New York City childhood, and Eastport has its own distinctive history of artists finding their way to its beautiful shores. My Eastport colleagues and I continue that tradition.”
Grateful for her ability to continue the unfolding adventure of pursuing her work as an artist, Elizabeth celebrates being able to create what she needs. “The impulse to create is ancient.  I feel goosebumps when I picture that somewhere back in the days of early humans, someone reached down and pulled up a handful of mud and started shaping it – and something arose in this artist’s hands and mind that had never existed before. I like feeling I’m a part of this continuum. This passion to create has been my unfolding adventure in life.”


Elizabeth has a wonderful collection of sculpture at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture in Kennebunk. She is always bringing in new work, and we encourage you to visit, as well check out her Artist Page on our website. Our January hours are Friday – Sunday, from 10-5.  Please feel free to call with any questions 207- 967-2803.

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The Sculpture

01/28/2016 0 Comments

When someone asks of art in Maine, the mind goes to seascapes and fishing boats; classic Maine scenes captured in oil, acrylic or watercolor hung on walls in memory of a time and place lest we forget the beauty. Yet, when walking into Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, one quickly realizes it is more than just one-dimensional. Here, among the canvases, is sculpture.

Sculpture, by definition, is the art of making two- or three-dimensional representative or abstract forms, especially by carving stone or wood or by casting metal or plaster. Though Webster says this in the most succinct way, it lacks the passion and awe that sculpture evokes.  Helen Keller held the key to the best way to experience sculpture. “I sometimes wonder if the hand is not more sensitive to the beauties of sculpture than the eye. I should think the wonderful rhythmical flow of lines and curves could be more subtly felt than seen,” she said. Great sculpture draws the hand as well as the eye. Our fingers lift and twitch with the overwhelming desire to touch it.

When viewing James Rivington Pyne’s Diver, this need is very real.  If tracing a finger from the tip of her toes to the end of her fingers, the impression of diving into the cool water of summer time is present. The smooth lines and deep colors of this piece hold the sense of water gliding over skin and blocks out everything else. There is an understanding of the sculpture. You have been there.


Elizabeth Ostrander agrees. “Both gentleness and strength inhabit my sculptures. Their quiet joy is a ‘hooray’ for life. It can be a reminder that we can all meet in that wisdom place. And sculpture also invites touch and the soothing experience of graceful shape and the nuance of texture,” says Ostrander. Her sculptures, while still using human form, find a mingling of nature and man, or more often, woman. In her piece, Trust, Elizabeth captures that connection with nature. The smoothness of her skin and softness of her closed eyes begs for a touch which connects the viewer to the art.


Though Webster’s definition indicates a casting or carving, which both Pyne and Ostrander do so well, modern art has discovered a repurposing or redesigning of materials to convert the normal and familiar into the beautiful. Patrick Plourde does this well.  His work still demands the viewer to engage, to reach out, but the emotion is different. Spigot Flowers is one of these pieces.  The repurposing of the water spigots in this piece immediately brings memories of summertime sprinklers. You know the metal is cool to the touch as it pulls a knowing smile full of old friends and family gatherings. Plourde collects such items and blends them flawlessly into his work.


These are the sculptures of Maine.  Maine art and Maine memories.  We welcome you to come in, visit, and see for yourself the beauty of Maine in three-dimension.  You will find us at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk.  Check for our website for winter hours. www.maine-art.com.

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Elizabeth Ostrander and Her Crows

09/02/2015 0 Comments

“My fascination with crows continues to grow. Perhaps it’s their close knit family units and other shared human traits, like cooperation and ingenuity that win my allegiance. Mostly, I am drawn to a mystery; a spirit energy surrounding them,” says Elizabeth Ostrander. “They are a portal where my soul seems to find an easy connection with nature.”

Ostrander_Curious_ceramic and acrylic_8.5x8x16.5

Curious, a small ceramic and acrylic crow, focuses on the inquisitiveness and intelligence of these birds. With his head cocked and lowered, he appears to be looking for just a little more. The title fits. According to Ostrander these two traits are mutual for these birds and humans. “We both have a desire to learn new things. I think we must both recognized this familiar trait in one another.”  This is true as well for our mutual love and fascination with all things shiny. “Shiny Heart Cache” is a larger crow that represents this. His heart is filled with a nest of “shiny.”  Even the tiny gold heart placed in the center of it all leaves us to wonder at our own “treasure troves of delight and entertainment.”

Ostrander_Shiny Heart Cache_ceramic, acrylic and mixed media_18.5x13.5x7.5

“Crows in Eastport, along with the gulls, have become our resident totems.  They give our island community an exciting, aerial tambour – a pulse of shared activity and connection,” says Elizabeth. “But it is indisputably the black-feathered crows who dwell the deepest inside our human imagination. Crows have become like deep wells of inspiration not only in myths and legends but also in our visual arts, literature and music.”

Elizabeth Ostrander’s work is interesting and unique both visually and conceptually.  If you would like to see more of her work, please visit the gallery at 14 Western Ave in Kennebunk, Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, or take a peek at her on-line Artist Page.

The show, BIRD, including these two pieces as well as others, will be running until September 7th.  Maine Art Shows can be found on 10 Chase Hill Rd. in Kennebunk and is open from 11-5 every day. Please visit either in person or on-line at BIRD.


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Elizabeth Ostrander in BIRD – A Maine Art Show

08/06/2015 0 Comments

Elizabeth Ostrander by Ric Kasini Kadour

Ostrander_Trust_ceramic and acrylic_27x14x9

In her ceramic and acrylic sculptures, Elizabeth Ostrander expresses a mystical fantasy world. She uses her sculptures to express ideas of self-agency and selfhood. She embeds these ideas in a mythology that is loosely informed by Paleolithic imagery and an assortment of fables and stories from long gone civilizations. The results are timeless sculptures that are magical, cosmic and earthy.

The Spanish influence in her work comes from her studies with Jose de Creeft at The Art Students League of New York in the 1960s. As a child, the Spanish-born de Creeft sculpted religious figures in clay to sell at the Festival of Santa Lucia in Barcelona. After a career in Europe, in 1929 he emigrated to the United States where he pioneered direct carving and became a master of figural works of women. Ostrander continues his legacy.

Crow Totem is a testament to Ostrander’s ability to create powerful symbols. The two-foot-tall inverted cone sculpture features the head of a crow. Its wingless, legless body is marked and scratched in a manner that conveys a sense of timelessness. Her sculptures lend themselves to a kind of fabulism. Trust is the bust of a woman. She rests her head towards the bird on her shoulder. In her chest, another bird sits on a nest. Ostrander draws a connection between the woman’s outward communication with the bird on her shoulder and the feelings one has, as expressed by the bird and nest occupying the space where her heart is. The use of bird as a metaphor repeats itself in Gentle, where a bird rests in the palm of an outstretched hand. These elements or strategies come together in Shiny Heart Cache, where a totemic crow is revealed to have a heart surrounded by nest-like string. Ostrander’s sculptures, while narrative in appearance, are designed to be pondered, to be used as tools for truth seeking and personal reflection.

Ostrander_Gentle_ceramic, acrylic and sand on wood base_11.5x5x7

If you would like to see more of Elizabeth’s work, we welcome you to visit Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk, or online at her Artist Page.

BIRD will run at Maine Art Shows, 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk for four weeks. From August 8th – September 7th.

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