After last week’s winter storm, we have our fingers crossed that spring is truly on her way. Soon the grass will be green, and the branches on the trees will succumb to that lovely glow of new growth. Once spring has started, she usually rolls right along, which means the flowers are sure to follow. These are our favorite signs of the season here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, and the favorite of many of our artists, as well.
If you, like us, are a bit impatient and want to fill your home with the brilliant flowers of Maine’s warmer seasons, come and visit. Our flowers are always blooming. Whether it be the poppies and delphiniums of Sandra L. Dunn, in Royal Purple Delphinium and Profusion of Poppies, or the simple strokes of Philip Frey’s Blooms, these up-close, still lifes bring color and light to any room.
If you prefer the beauty the blooms bring to the exterior of your home and the way your yard comes alive, works like No Thyme Farm from Karen McManus and End of May from Abbie Williams will help remind you that springtime is upon us.
Even Lyman Whitaker is in on the fun with his very popular, Tulip. There are few buds that can stand winds up to ninety miles per hour and look glorious covered in snow. This is a flower for all seasons; always in bloom and no watering necessary.
Of course, with the flowers come the birds and the bees. Spring would not be the same without them. Both Trip Park and Ellen Granter celebrate these little creatures. Lilac Lover is a fun and colorful portrayal of one of our favorite pollen spreaders, and Bonita and Soon Soon are beautiful reminders of the wonders Mother Nature is about to unfurl on us.
So — if you need a little pick-me-up, and flowers make you happy, find your way to 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk. You can always find a hint of spring in the air. Until then, we can settle for Lobsters and Champagne and its little pot of blooms, much like William B Hoyt, as he too waits for spring to blossom.
Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is now open seven days a week. Click here for hours.
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“I’m off to go birding.”
This is how Ellen Welch Granter ends most of her correspondence. Each time, we never know if she is heading outdoors with binoculars or to her studio with a brush. Regardless, Ellen spends a great deal of her time with her birds.
“There is an excitement while watching birds in the wild,” says Granter. “My paintings are an expression of my desire to create beautiful and pure images of my favorite subjects.” When viewing her works, that same excitement comes through. There are many layers to her work which create interesting depths and shadows that change depending on light. “They are the textures, shapes and patterns of daily life. This work is all about that constant motion of the birds, their particular gestures and way of walking in the shallows.”
Granter has a large collection between Maine Art Shows and Maine Art Paintings and Sculptures. Her work in the Choice Art Show features three pieces. Begin and End was the Editor’s Choice. We owe thanks to Susan Grisanti from Maine Home + Design for her choice. This piece showcases Granter’s love for the sandpiper and incorporates her signature gold leaf, as well. “The gold shape is a sort of calligraphic stroke that represents the water’s edge and reflected sunlight,” says Granter. Her gold leaf is found in many others works hanging at our sister gallery, Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, down on Western Ave. in Kennebunk.
The Choice Art Show will be on display at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk until June 30th. Please stop in any day from 11am – 5pm to see the show in its entirety. It is also available to view online by clicking here; Choice Art Show.
To see our complete collection of Ellen Granter’s work visit her Artist Page. Also, if you are interested in reading more about Ellen and her work with Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture click here. Maine Art Blog – Ellen Granter.
Ellen Welch Granter has been with Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture for over ten years. Her love of nature and wildlife, especially the winged ones, is well known in the Maine art community. Her work is peaceful and warm and welcomes the viewer in with open arms. Yet, her life did not start at an easel.
School for Ellen looked a little different than you might expect. A bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a master’s degree in History. Government? Politics? This isn’t the jumping-off point for most artists. Like so many of the most interesting people in our world, Ellen’s past is varied and fascinating. Having the opportunity to chat with Ellen at an opening is always a pleasure. She is intelligent and well spoken, and offers so much insight into her work. However, there are pieces of her past one would never guess. The pinnacle being six years of studying Mandarin Chinese. “I started learning it as a study-abroad student in Hong Kong in 1982. Then I did Middlebury College summer intensive language training… twice. After that, another year in Beijing. I had an internship during that time at a very sleepy import/export company. There was virtually no importing or exporting actually going on at that time, 1985, so I hung out with the drivers and office staff and learned a lot of Beijing slang.”
There were some years, like the rest of us, Granter had to work her way through. Her patience with her art and with her clients certainly was earned from the beginning of her employment history. “My first job… I worked for the Sisters of Saint Joseph as a nurse’s aide in their infirmary at Nazareth College,” say Granter. “I was also a lifeguard, a waitress, a quilt piece cutter and a knitting shop assistant.” She did it all. “Making submarine sandwiches for drunk students was in there somewhere as well,” Ellen remembers. “But hands down my worst job was working a folding machine in a print bindery. It folded those little paper instructions that used to come inside pill bottles. I lasted a full two days!”
Eventually, her odd jobs began to lean a bit into the art world. “I was a technical illustrator, video editor, t-shirt silk screener and graphic designer/art director in various places.” When a person really looks at their past, it is hard to have regrets when happiness fills the present. “It all enriched my life, and sent me on my path. Non, je ne regrette rein,” says Granter. No, I regret nothing.
Please visit Maine Art at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk to see all of Ellen’s work. You can also see it online on her Artist Page.
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When it came to curating the show BIRD, artist Ellen Welch Granter was an obvious choice. Her work was meant to be featured on the walls of Maine Art Shows, surrounded by other artists with the same adoration for birds. “As a group, I think this work will create an environment that transports a viewer to the shallow water at the beach,” say Granter. They, the birds, are so much a part of the coastline here in Maine; it is a wonderful way to remind the locals and the tourists alike how integral they are to our landscape and charm.
Ellen Welch Granter has an affection for birds. They appear frequently in her work, and when first walking into Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, she and her birds are easily recognizable. Another distinctive trait for Granter is the characteristic gold leaf found in her work. Be it a wire her birds are perched upon as in Every Fifth, a puddle they are watering in as in Wild, or the shimmering moon in Robin Moon No.2, this gold leaf brings a touch of beauty to each of her pieces that feature these winged wonders. “The long legs of the sandpipers make an interesting calligraphic pattern, especially over the brightness of the gold leaf and the color field behind them all.”
Ellen’s connection to her work becomes even more obvious as she explains her choices for this particular show. “These paintings are iterations of three themes I have been working on, sandpipers, egrets, and the lowly house sparrow. They congregate, then move apart, and reform a flock, so the shape of the group, as well as the spaces between them, are always changing.” With a varied collection such as hers, the motion she speaks of is felt as the visitor moves through the gallery from one piece to the next. There is a fluidity. It is natural and elegant and graceful.
The show BIRD runs until September 7th and will be open everyday from 11-5 at Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk. Please come by and see Ellen Welch Granter’s work for yourself, as well as the additional five artists showcased. If you cannot make it in, visit the collection on-line at BIRD. Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture also boasts a large collection of Granter’s work and is only a few steps away down at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. Again, you can also view all of Granter’s work on her Artist Page.
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Ellen Welch Granter, by Ric Kasini Kadour
Ellen Welch Granter’s paintings, on the surface, read as straightforward, representational renderings of birds, but on closer inspection, they are deeply poetic paintings.
Granter studied Chinese in Hong Kong and Beijing and earned a Master’s degree in Chinese History from the University of Vermont in 1988. A number of Granter’s compositions are reminiscent of 12th century Chinese Emperor Huizong, whose suprarealistic style portrayed bird movements in a manner that privileged the rendering of their spirit over their literal representation. The British Museum writes, “Huizong saw his paintings as the representation of a perfect and harmonious world. His careful rendering of each element and skillful balance of form and void are characteristics which influenced the academic style of the Song dynasty.” Granter takes a similar approach. The sandpipers in Beginning perch, poke, and prance around an ethereal shore that is rendered as a glossy pool of blues and stripes of shiny gold. This compositional play keeps her paintings fresh and the focus on the gestural movements of the birds.
“To brush dabs of oil on a surface, in a human effort to capture the sublime, is a challenge that has made me hyper-aware of the textures, shapes, and patterns of daily life,” writes Granter. “I believe that a beautiful painting is both a gift of vision and a testament of appreciation for our short lives here on this beautiful Earth.”
In a few paintings, Granter employs a different approach. In Edge, three sandpipers peck the sand for food. A gentle landscape rises in the top of the painting. A few paintings experiment with solid blocks of color. “I am searching for an elegant balance of spare compositions over large fields of luminous color,” wrote Granter. The white birds in Random highlight and bring to life the Rothkoesque red background. Every Fifth is a playful painting in which a series of chickadees occupy the bar of gold leaf that breaks up the blue field. The title refers to the fact that Granter portrays the chickadees from every possible viewpoint. Granter’s paintings show us a romance between the birds and the artist, how she invites them into her paintings, and how they are beautiful.
The entire show, BIRD, can be seen at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk at the Maine Art Shows Gallery. You can also visit on-line at BIRD. To see Maine Art Painting and Sculpture’s complete collection of Ellen Granter’s work, click on her Artist Page or visit us at 14 Western Ave, Kennebunk, Maine.
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Goose Rocks Beach is a lovely little beach just off the beaten path in Kennebunkport. With over three miles of beautiful sand, it is a perfect spot to spend the day. However, when visitors take just a few minutes to look behind them, they notice the Batson River Marsh. It is here Ellen Welch Granter has found her perfect image of Maine.
“I remember the thick green grass seeming perfectly even for a huge distance. It is peaceful scene, but I chose to named the painting Listen,” says Granter. “If you truly listen, it isn’t really quiet. You can hear willets, piping plovers, terns, gulls, and a myriad of insects all around.” So often, the majestic crash of waves and never-ending span of sea hold our attention, and the casual beauty of the small marshes and winding rivers that feed the oceans are overlooked. “Listen” is all about not overlooking this place and this moment.
Locally, the marsh is known for more than just its beauty. “We used to dig clams there, getting eaten alive by greenies, of course, but it was worth it,” says Granter. The rules and regulations for clam digging are getting stricter here in Maine, but carrying a clam fork and a bucket along the coast at low tide, is a memory many of us can claim. The horse flies, or ‘greenies’ as Ellen calls them, are still included, no license necessary.
Ellen’s piece, Listen, will be on display until August 6th at Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk. The Maine. As they see it. show has been a wonderful success, and we welcome you to visit any day from 11-5.
Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, down at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk, is lacking in the painful little green horse flies, but to make up for it, we do have a wonderful collection of Ellen Welch Granter’s work. We encourage you to come visit here as well, or to see the collection online on her Artist Page.
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Before we start in on what today brings, we have to give a huge Thank You! to a few folks for last night. First off, One Dock Prime rocked it! What a perfect way to start of this week. After cocktails we were lucky enough to spend the evening in Jay and Erica Knudsen’s home with a crazy group of wonderful people. Artist Jill Valliere, Sponsor Tom LaPierre from LaPierre Stone, Maine Media Collective’s Emily McConnell, and of course the fabulous Chef Cara Stadler from Tao Yuan, thank you so much. Kudos to everyone involved in the Kennebunkport Festival, last night was amazing.
Today’s calendar of events is just as crazy and just as wonderful as yesterday’s. And, of course, Maine Art Painting and Sculpture will be celebrating the best of it. Our artists, David Witbeck, Ellen Welch Granter, Henry Isaacs, Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald, and Philip Frey are all having artwork delivered as we speak to the homes hosting dinners tonight and they will be in on the festivities tonight, as well.
Everything begins at the Colony Resort at 140 Ocean Ave in Kennebunkport for cocktails around 5pm. John and the artists will be milling around enjoying all the wonderful treats the Colony has to offer, and listening to the wonders of Dominic Lavoie, a Portland area musician. It is sure to be a perfect way to kick off the second night of the Art of Dining. There are still a few tickets available at the Kennebunkport Festival website.
Tonight you will find David Witbeck and his collection of fun and interesting Maine characters at the home of the Raffaellis, whom have graciously opened their home yet again this year. Chef Harding Lee Smith from The Rooms will be joining them. The Rooms, refers to several of Smith’s Portland restaurants. All of which are worth a visit if you are in Portland. This is sure to be a dinner to remember.
Ellen Welch Granter and some of her new work will be found at the Turner/Bull residence tonight. Chef Jeff Buerhaus of Walters will be wooing the guests with his Asian, Mediterranean and Caribbean inspired menu. This is a lucky crowd to be feasting on such fabulous artwork and food all in one beautiful place.
Dinner at the Hurlbutts’ is sure to be one of the highlights of the Festival again this year. They were gracious enough to open their home to both artist Henry Isaacs and Chef Guy Hernandez of Lolita. Henry will be sharing some of his best and newest pieces from the Choice Art Show and Guy will be offering up the flavors, traditions, and simplicity of the Mediterranean cuisine from his restaurant on Munjoy Hill in Portland. Everyone will be very well taken care of at the Hurlbutts’ tonight.
The stunning artwork of Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald graces the walls of the Taranto/Ellms home this evening. Fitzgerald will be joined by Chef Chris Wilcox of the Velveteen Habit in Cape Neddick. The Velveteen Habit is said to be a place that invokes, “…memories of family gatherings where food was made for comfort and nourishment and families gather together to share stories and make memories.” A few more memories will be made tonight thanks to all involved with making this dinner happen.
Even though Philip Frey isn’t a Choice Art Show artist, he is one of Maine Arts Paintings and Scultpure’s featured artists this summer. He also loves a good time for a great cause and is happy to be a part of the Art of Dining party at the Rice home. Chef Emil Rivera of Sur Lie on Free Street in Portland is the second half of the talent joining this gathering. While Frey will be sharing pieces from his extensive collection, Chef Rivera will be sharing the progressive and delectable plates and snacks from the cool new restaurant that is rocking Portland.
The Philip Frey Show, New Works, will start June 27th at Maine Art Shows and run to July 16th.
Well…that is what we are eating tonight.
Then its on to the After Party!
Stripers at 133 Ocean Ave., right here in Kennebunk, is hosting this complimentary event starting at 9pm. It will be a great way to work off some of this food! Todd the Rocket will be our DJ and Maine Art will be there to celebrate the end of another successful day of the Kennebunkport Festival. Come wrap up the night with us – you can sleep next week!
Remember to stop in at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture as you wander around Kennebunkport, or visit us on line at maine-art.com.
As you peruse through Ellen Welch Granter’s work, it quickly becomes obvious how much she loves nature, especially the beautiful winged creature that calls Maine it’s home, the chickadee. Her use of a thick layer of color next to the bright gold creates a lovely contrast. The oak leaves appear to be in motion, giving the feeling of a summer breeze and the calm reassuring presence of Maine. For Ellen, this piece has all the elements she tries to bring into a painting. This is the main reason she chose it for this show. “I want it to find a good home where chickadees are welcome.”
As you walk into Maine Art Shows, you will find this piece, as well as two others. One chosen by you, the voters, and one chosen by Maine Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Susan Grisanti. Check out the final selections for the Choice Show after the opening on June 13th, as well as more of Ellen’s work at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at www.maine-art.com.