At Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, all of our artists have strong connections to Maine and New England. With artist, Abbie Williams, Maine has come in and out of her life for as long as she can remember. However, recently her curiosity as both a woman and an artist has brought her back to the southwestern part of the United States and a place she has called home before; Taos, New Mexico.
Often, we are able to visit artists in their studios and see where their magic happens. It is not often that studio is in New Mexico. However, all the stars aligned in February, and we found ourselves in Taos and able to spend a wonderful day with Abbie and her husband, Bob.
Over sixteen years ago, Abbie and Bob built their dream home at the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Made in the traditional southwestern adobe style, Abbie was the architect, and Bob was the Builder. With help from wonderful local contractors and the blessing of an exceptional sense of imagination and adventure, their perfect home and studio was created. Two years later life changed again and Maine called them home. They spent twelve years from Nobleboro to Monheagan Island as Abbie captured the beauty of this state. Maine has her heart, and for many years, her paint brush. Yet, things were about to change again.
“During my time in Maine, I visited the Taos area while house sitting for a friend,” says Abbie. “There is something about this area that has always called to me. Two years ago, when the opportunity to come back presented itself, I had to take it. There is a saying in Taos. ‘The mountain either accepts you or spits your out.’ I felt strongly that the mountain was calling me back.”
Since Abbie has returned to Taos, she has not only found the land she missed while back in Maine, she also found the house she missed. As fate would have it, the home and studio they designed and built was for sale.
“Years ago, we made a wonderful light space for my studio. It was a place that called me. It was still there, almost just as I left it. Here I can let down and relax. It’s more than just a place to paint. I meditate. I write. It’s a place for me to go and just be,” she says. “I am a believer in positive energy, and I need that to be part of my studio space. It’s just a peaceful spot.”
From her studio, Abbie looks out onto flower gardens, she planted years ago, not knowing if she would ever see them full grown. Gardening has always been one of her passions. She left parts natural and wild, but also added meditation paths to wander through. There is even a bench that began as a practice piece of Bob’s for their kitchen counter.
“Everything is the way we planned it. The bench was still here, waiting for me. Everything was still here,” she says. “I stand at the window in my studio, and say, ‘I did this.’ I planted everything around me. I created my little Garden of Eden here, and now I am able to come back and see it all grown up.”
Since her move back, she is stepping out and trying new things, especially where her work is concerned. Abbie has always been a very serious artist. She has used her talents to support herself. The importance of producing work was engrained in her. It was what she did for a living. It was her job. This is changing, too.
“I needed to get back in touch with my imagination. I lost that for a while and very realistic work was the result. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like this time,” says Abbie. “I fight with my internal New Englander as I begin to push the edges a little bit. I am still a Maine painter, but I want to bring a little more abstraction into my work, make it more contemporary. I have very strong drawing skills, and I want to start using them more.”
For Abbie, there are choices to be made all the time. In the past, if she was using a photograph, she followed the picture. As she began pushing her limits, she began following the picture but took charge of her own color choices. Next, she began to move a subject or make it bigger or smaller.
“At this point, I am finally free enough to start adding and subtracting. I can do whatever I feel like doing. I am no longer beholden to the image. If I want to copy it exactly I can, but I no longer have to, and I don’t feel bad about it,” she laughs. “I am starting to let go. I still feel a little guilty if I don’t go into the studio every day… but I don’t. Now the main point of it all for me… it has to be fun.”
Of course, the change in Abbie’s scenery has had an impact on her work. We will still see the classic Maine that we love, but there are changes, good changes, that are happening. Be the first to see some of her new work during the 2017 Choice Art Show. She has six amazing new pieces that will be up for your vote in May. Be sure to watch for future posts about the Choice Art Show and, as always, you can see her work on her Artist Page.
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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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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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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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The birth of David Riley Peterson’s boats was an interesting one. To say ‘one thing lead to another’ is an understatement, but it is still the best way to describe his ‘AH-HA’ moment.
Riley explains, “I was asked to make an olive tray for a local gift shop. Not seeing much challenge in it, I procrastinated until the third request. I returned to my studio and, reluctantly, rolled out a small thin slab of clay and folded it into a simple tray and joined the ends. It was a waste of my awesome talent.” Staring at it in dismay and disgust the little pod transformed. “I held it in my hands, and the ‘AH-HA’ moment occurred. The clay spoke and in a meek, shy voice it said, ‘I want to be a boat.’ Ever since that moment, I am a devoted (clay) boat builder,” laughs Peterson.
His past and present blend a love of boats with playing in the mud. He is the first to admit that clay just suits his personality. Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was always reprimanded for playing in every mud puddle he could find. Growing up, there were no art classes, let alone ceramics, offered in school.
“I was clueless about clay until I went off to college. My dorm at the University of Florida was located across the street from the ceramics department. I was always curious about the group of students who entered and left the building dressed in dirty jeans or tattered shorts with every body part covered in clay; so I investigated,” says Peterson. “What I discovered instantly changed my life, and I could hardly wait until the next semester to enroll in my first ceramics class; ‘Introduction to Clay.’ I was not disappointed.”
Peterson went on to graduate with a BFA in Ceramics/Sculpture, own his own studio and teach. Since 1984, he has also been the President of Peterson Marine Surveys. Two careers that appear to be quite different, Peterson effectively merges into one life.
Peterson’s father was originally from Maine, and the family often came north during the summer. He remembers spending that time playing with boats. “Maine is a real fishing community. They used dories for fishing and pulling nets in, and stuff like that, but mostly lobstering. These boats were iconic watercraft years ago.” It wasn’t a stretch to add Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture to Peterson’s list of galleries. His boats fit perfectly between images of seascapes and rocky coasts. The life-like quality he brings to his clay captures locals and tourists alike, and are a beautiful reminder of life in Maine.
Come and see David Riley Peterson’s work in person at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk, Maine. We are open year-round. You can also view his work on our website at his Artist Page, David Riley Peterson at Maine Art. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call. 207-967-2803
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There are so many exciting and new goings on with Maine Art and Whitaker Studio, we thought we would take the time to catch you up.
Last week, Maine Art had the chance to get up close and personal with Whitaker Studio. Not only were we able to see the studio and peek at the process, but we also spent some time with the staff. Thanks to a quick stop in St. Louis and a serious freezer stocking of Pappy’s BBQ, we treated them to a rib feed and caught up with the personal and professional side of the studio. They are a dedicated, hardworking and incredibly talented bunch.
Ironically, they were packing up a big ole crate with a Kennebunk shipping label. Forty-five original Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculptures were snug inside, including a few of the new Gemini. Building a crate to hold this valuable cargo is almost as much of an art form as the sculptures themselves.
Getting a good look at the new Gemini was another perk of the visit. The two double helix forms sitting at the top of the sculpture are hand cut to fit and interact perfectly with each other. When spinning, they never touch, but move so close they seem as one, like the twins they are named for. This new sculpture stands over ten feet tall and four feet wide. The twins move independent of each other, while the bottom wind wheel rotates the entire sculpture. The sculpture is not on the website as of yet, but a photo rendering can be seen on Maine Art Gallery’s Facebook Page, and of course outside of Maine Art on Western Ave. in Kennebunk.
Don’t forget! If you are planning to purchase a sculpture for the holiday gift-giving season, you must have your order in by December 9th to guarantee delivery for Christmas. Delivery will only be guaranteed for Small through X-Large sculptures that are in stock at the studio. You can of course visit the gallery and take one home with you as late as 1:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Last, but certainly not least, is our Wind Sculpture Photo Contest! On November 14th, the 12 finalists’ photos will be posted on our Facebook Page, and you, our fans, can vote for your favorite. The finalist who’s photo receives the most “likes” as of 10 a.m. EST on Friday, December 2, will be this year’s winner of a Desert Flame by Lyman Whitaker.
Throughout the holiday season the gallery will be open from 10am – 5pm every day. Please stop by and visit – new artwork arrives frequently and there is almost always something new to see. Our website is updated daily and is also a wonderful source for up-to-date inventory. www.maine-art.com If we can help in anyway, never hesitate to call. 207-967-2803.
Follow this link to see all of Lyman Whitaker’s Wind Sculptures – kennebunkportwindsculptures.com
Follow this link to read more about Whitaker Studio – Whitaker Studio Insights and Stories
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Visiting artists in their studios is one of our favorite things to do. Seeing each individual, how they work, what their space looks like, and the process they go through gives us a better understanding of the artist and their final works.
“No artist works the same way. I am always amazed at the range of style and personality that comes through on a studio visit,” says John Spain, owner of Maine Art. “From organization to process to space, each artist visit truly is a unique experience.”
When visiting Craig Mooney in Stowe, Vermont, this generalization held true. Craig has a fabulous space off a small gallery in Stowe. It is large and bright, and has become more than just his space, but part of his process. In the very center of his studio is a large rectangular table that holds his brushes and paint. No matter what it looks like to the outsider, it is organized chaos to him.
“Typically when I finish a collection of works that have to go to a gallery, I need to go through and reorganize. As you can see, things end up in a messy state,” claims Mooney. “It’s a system, believe it or not. I know where the location of certain pigments are, even though it doesn’t look it,” Craig laughs as he explains. “I can tell you that there’s definitely a cadmium green over there somewhere, a Van Dyke brown on this side…” Mooney waves his hands as he shows off his system. “My cools over here, my warms over there; I have sort of families.”
When the paint tubes are pretty much empty, he sends them to “the bin.” Someday, he says, he will pay his nephews to squeeze all of the almost-empty tubes and get one more tube out of the remnants.Click here to see video of Craig’s explanation.
Another difference, compared to other artists, is that Mooney likes to work at night. Apparently, the witching hour is what gives that touch of magic to a Craig Mooney sky. The irony is not lost that some of the most beautiful skies and light come from a man that prefers to work when its dark.
“The building is quiet at night, and I get in my zone,” says Mooney. “Most people are home from work and doing other things, and I’m here. The night is a peaceful time. All the thoughts I have accrued throughout the day percolate to the top. It is just a good time for me.”
Whatever he is doing is definitely working. Craig had a fabulous summer with us here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, and we are looking forward to a repeat performance in the Summer of ’17. Mooney’s solo show at Maine Art Shows starts July 1 and runs through July 20. Until then, please come and see our entire collection in the gallery at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. We are open every day from 10 – 5.
To see Craig Mooney’s collection online, click here. Craig Mooney Artist Page
To read more about Mooney and Maine Art, click here. Maine Art and Craig Mooney – Stories and Insights
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Everyone needs to take time aways from their busy schedule to recharge and rejuvenate. We all lead such busy lives. With work and family obligations, we often forget how important it is to take care of our own selves. Everyone does this in a different way. Spa time, curling up with a good book, exercise, or being outdoors do it for many. For William B. Hoyt, it is reminding himself that work is also something he loves. Taking time to just paint, especially with other like-minded souls, does wonders for his own.
“This August I found myself in a covey of painters, out on Pemaquid Point on a beautiful day painting plein air. It was workshop for alumni of Julien Merrow-Smith’s, ‘Painting in Provence’,” said Hoyt. “I sort of crashed the party. I came with my friends Hope and Rob. They are actually in the painting, fourth and fifth from the left.”
Hoyt can fly by the seat of his pants like few others. He embraces the moment and absorbs all he can from each experience that wanders across his path, or in this case an experience he wandered upon.
“I often paint outside but have never done a workshop. I had just mounted a big show for you at Maine Art and had spent months before in my studio. I had been doing mostly larger works,” said Hoyt. “Then this happened. I thought it might be just the thing to recharge my batteries.”
It was. The six small studies, two of which are above, were his output during the workshop, showing various scenes out on Pemaquid Peninsula. This larger painting, The Way Life Should Be, was a piece he worked on after the workshop and shows about half of the fifteen artists painting that day. A painting of painters; that is inspiration.
William B. Hoyt has been with Maine Art for more than thirteen years. We have a continuously growing and changing collection of his work. To view it in its entirety, please visit his Artist Page, William B. Hoyt at Maine Art. To read more about Hoyt and his work with Maine Art, see his featured posts on our Blog Page; Insights and Stories from William B. Hoyt.
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We know and love Philip Frey for his interesting and distinct landscape work. He has a way of looking at Maine and all her beauty with an eye for detail and color. However, his latest work also holds a variety of figurative works and interiors.
“I have a need to explore and discover and stretch my limits as a painter. Cityscapes, abstracts and figuratives are a way for me to do that,” says Frey. “I often wonder how this effects my landscapes. I believe it influences in a positive way. Working with pure abstraction helps me break down what composition could be. In turn, my landscape composition has become more dynamic.”
Stretching as an artist becomes more and more important. Looking for that continued opportunity for growth is how an artist develops. Philip’s exhibition with The University of Maine Museum of Art is one such opportunity.
“I don’t think I would have done this kind of show in a gallery. Normally, I don’t blend representational and abstract work together. I usually present a more consistent body of work,” says Frey. “This collection is work that has happened over the years. Parallels is about the color, light and movement. These are what bind the work together.”
With over two-hundred people at the opening, Philip was interested to see the reactions from people. The feedback was positive, and Frey actually found it to be fun.
“About a year-and-a-half in the making, I set aside work as I painted for galleries. I pulled pieces out that made sense in this exhibition. The timeline was much longer than a normal gallery show. There was no rush,” says Frey with a smile. “George Kinghorn, the curator of the show, made a few studio visits and helped me to hone in on what made sense.”
Frey’s exhibition, Parallels, at the University of Maine Museum of Art will run through the end of the year. Collectors both old and new will find this display of work both interesting and beautiful.
Like any artist, the ‘what now’ kicks in after the hustle and bustle of putting such a collection together.
“I am headed to London this fall. Museum visits and playing tourist is all that is on the docket for about a week. When I was in college, I went to London and saw the Turners. They had a significant impact,” says Frey. “I am always learning. Other artists’ work that I admire, though not always conscious, comes out in my own. Brushwork and colors used inspire me.” Philip has a particular interest in The National Gallery and the Beyond Caravaggio exhibit. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was a serious influence on Frey in his early life.
“This winter I may go off into a warmer climate. Maybe Colorado will help me find some sunshine,” says Philip. “Normally, winter is filled with studio time during the day. I also love snowshoeing and skiing. I have many friends who all stick around for winter, and we get together on a regular basis.”
Looking at residencies for the future is also on Philip’s mind. “I like to illicit more active feedback from my peers. Having conversations about my work and their work is so important. I did a residency in 2012. It was very fruitful. There are a couple I may apply for next year,” says Frey. “It’s just a place to escape with like-minded people. Though I attend as an individual, I leave with a good cohort of artists and friends.”
Last, but certainly not least on Frey’s to do list, is a piece celebrating our 20th Anniversary, as well as his August show at Maine Art Shows. From August 12 through Labor Day, Philip Frey, Margaret Gerding and Ellen Welch Granter will be having a three-week long show.
“I have already started to think about it. Even though the ideas are not fully formed,” says Philip. “I am sure there will be a continuation of looking at light more and more closely. I enjoy how it works in my paintings, and I am continually exploring how I can express it in a more dynamic way.”To read more about Philip Frey and his work at Maine Art Gallery follow this link; Stories and Insights from Philip Frey. To see his entire collection of work at Maine Art, follow this link; Philip Frey: Artist Page.
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October is here. The leaves are starting to change, the air is growing cooler, and Margaret Gerding has once again delivered a stunning body of work to Maine Art. Though Margaret is known for her marshes and seascapes, she, like so many Mainers, has found a love of the trees in this part of the state – especially the birches.
“I try to capture the beauty of branches. The strong autumn light is so intense by the coast,” says Gerding. “The negative spaces and patterns required me to look at shapes differently. It becomes a puzzle I have to put together.” Gerding knows her brush strokes must mix, mingle and change with each gust of wind. “The colors and light dapple not only the birch trunks, but even spaces between,” she says.
As realistic a painter as Gerding is, she truly enjoys some artistic license when it comes to her trees. “In painting the birches, the sketchbook and reference materials become less important,” says Gerding. “The colors take on a life of their own.” These works still hold her traditional realistic view. Yet, the fine papery bark of the birch reflects both the color in the foliage and the autumn light thus producing a truly etherial scene.
Gerding will admit these trees sometimes became challenging. “I wanted to make them hold vibrant colors, but still read as birches,” says Gerding. This is an example of the continuous push and pull between what the eye sees and what the artist interprets. Regardless, what Margaret has created is magic, so grab your sweater and come visit the Kennebunks this fall. There is beauty to be found both inside and out.
Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is open every day from 10am – 6pm, and Friday and Saturday until 7pm. After Columbus Day, hours will change to 10 – 5 daily.
Stop in for a visit or view Margaret Gerding’s work online at http://www.maine-art.com/paintings/Margaret_Gerding/43752/.
You can also read more about Gerding and her work on our blog at A Look Inside Margaret Gerding and Maine Art.
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