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.
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Much of the work that our artists accomplish for a summer season is actually created during the winter months. For many, the snow in New England brings quality and uninterrupted studio time. Summer is for celebration and winter is for work. With that said, we do continually receive new works from our artists from October to May. We keep our website up-to-date as they come in, and we post these new works on our social media sites. This February, in particular, found one of our artists very productive. And lucky for us, he agreed to send a few of his newest pieces to Kennebunk.
Trip Park tries to paint seven days a week. If he is lucky, he can finish one new piece a day. It doesn’t always happen, but having the goal is important to Park.
“I’m going to quote Ralph Steadman again,” says Park. Steadman is a British artist Park enjoys. “He said, ‘Simply start a drawing and it will come out (on) the other end somehow. I won’t know how it is going to come out, and that’s the fascination – that makes it a worthwhile pursuit. If I knew what was going to happen before I started what would be the point of doing it?’ How cool is that? It’s a great way of disarming your psyche. I try to remember this throughout every painting. Blank canvases are like bullies, and I hate bullies! Every day is like a tiny ass-kicking on the playground for me.”
With that attitude, it is easy to see why the creative juices have been flowing in Park’s studio this winter. He is a perfect example of the celebration of summer coming out in the work of winter.
“When I was visiting Maine, I noticed little pops of color out of the corners of my eyes. It turned out that within all of these massive crates of wire and steel mesh of all these lobster traps, there were these brightly painted lobster buoys all over the docks,” says Park. “I thought to myself, there’s no way people would find a painting of those interesting, but I had to try it. I think I’ve done over fifty variations of them, now.”
Like Park’s ‘Buoy’ series, the colors and characters of Maine continue to appear in his work. He claims that it’s hard not to love a variety of color all at once. This is obvious in these new works, Storm Rider and Nomad. He is always consciously aware of what he sees and observes, keeping a running tally of ideas and concepts that are “on deck” and the next things up after his current pieces in progress.
“I love finding that combination of things I’ve done and new things I have not tried. However, I don’t attempt any painting I don’t want to create. I have to love each one, even just the thought of it, going in,” says Park. “I try to change things up with every painting, you could call it free-flowing. Paintings I do that make me happy are the ones that jump out and feel different than what I’ve done before.”
Chesapeake Charms and Lilac Lover are wonderful examples of trying something new. If you know Trip Park’s work, these pieces are obviously his. Style and design are familiar, but there is new content and a fun energy in them that makes them unique. Of course as a gallery, we are always wondering what is coming next.
“My life is going to go where that creative inspiration takes me,” says Park in response to this. “I have no control over it, it’s just the nature of creating something out of nothing. As long as I work to my fullest potential every day… I’m happy.”
And so are we.
We invite you to wander down to Kennebunk during the next few weeks. The sun even comes out sometimes! We are open year-round, but check the website for specific times. As always, you can view our entire collection of work from Trip Park on our website. www.maine-art.com.
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Born in upstate New York – really, really far upstate New York – Trip Park “started” in the world of art by drawing. Not knowing where it would eventually lead, he took every opportunity to put pencil to paper. He didn’t just love to draw, he felt he had to draw – every and any place he could.
“For me, drawing was a zip-line to staying focused. I drew through high school and college,” says Park. “I created editorial cartoons at UNC, which was fun. Perhaps I had a never-diagnosed-case-of-ADD. If so, drawing was my natural Ritalin.”
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he majored in Journalism, but drawing lead him to advertising classes. A career in advertising, as an art director, soon followed. It wasn’t until five jobs later – an illustrator, a children’s book illustrator, an editorial cartoonist and an animation character designer – that he began painting.
“Let’s be clear. I never, ever wanted to paint!” laughs Park. “I painted with watercolor and gouache when I began illustrating, and I will never forget how messy it was. There was paint everywhere. Later, I illustrated children’s books on the computer. The drawing programs were so clean and simple. I loved the fact that there was no mess.”
It wasn’t until his wife decided to paint and sold her work first that the idea of painting became reality. Trip claims he was shamed into paint. Little did he know, after a few years of painting, he would finally turn himself over to “the mess.”
“I’m a pig-n-slop-slobby. There is paint everywhere in my studio. It is on me, on my clothes, in my hair,” Park says with a sigh. “I miss drawing on the computer.”
Trip works best in his studio, but owns the fact that it’s a complete chaos of art in progress. Paint truly is everywhere. With this, he knows it’s best to stay put. His studio is his creative space.“It’s good I stay inside. People would be highly offended if I flung paint at them in public,” says Park. “Also, I’m a hoarder of many paints and need the routine of all of them surrounding my canvas. I don’t just want my studio, I need it.”
Amongst the artist clutter, there is little about Trip’s process that stays consistent. It is a place he can explore and experiment. It’s always changing. He started with brushes, then for a while only used palette knives, and now he is back to brushes. The only constant; he must love what he creates.
“It stings a little each time one of my paintings leaves the studio; I really want to love each one before I let it go,” says Park. “I owe that to anyone who purchases one of my paintings. If I’m not happy with them, how should I expect anyone else to be?”
In this regard, Park is relentless. He doesn’t give up until he feels the work is his best. He admits to not meeting his own expectations sometimes, but the continued push is what makes his work great.
“I never quite get a piece exactly like I had hoped, but in the words of artist, Ralph Steadman, ‘Anything could be there (on the canvas)… I don’t go out of my way to be professional, I go out of my way to try and make something that is as unexpected to me as anyone else.’ This quote gives me solace,” says Park, “and I continue to paint.”
Trip Park has been with Maine Art for over two years now. We are lucky to have a fabulous collection of his work in the gallery at 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk. We welcome you to come visit and see it in person, but know it is also available to view online at www.maine-art.com/trippark.
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A self-proclaimed work in progress, Trip Park focuses on the happy side of things. “There are enough negatives in daily life, art should help with that,” Trip says. This happy side is obvious in all of his work, and especially in this particular piece. “Mother Load,” his first in a series of bike florals, has a sense of nostalgia mingled with the anticipation of summer. That is the bike we all want to meander around Kennebunkport on!
Trip claims, “…this was a challenge to myself, really. I had no idea whether I’d like it or not.” Lucky for us, he loves it. It is now hanging on the walls of Maine Art Shows ready for the opening of the Choice Art Show this Saturday, June 13th.
You can also see two more new pieces of Trip’s in the Choice Art Show. The Editor’s Choice is chosen by Maine Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Susan Grisanti, and the People’s Choice, chosen by this year’s online voters. Trip just joined the gallery in 2014 and has an impressive collection at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture. If you are interested stop in, or visit on-line at www.maine-art.com.