Witbeck and his Women – Artist Insights on Nudes

10/12/2017 0 Comments
 
Witbeck and his Women – Artist Insights on Nudes

“The human figure has been subject matter for art forever,” says David Witbeck.

Witbeck has been working on figure drawing almost every week for several years. The drawings and sketches, however, piled up in his studio, unseen by anyone but him. Then one day, that changed. “I thought it would be fun to turn some of them into paintings. An artist should paint what he loves,” grins Witbeck. ‘Nough said.”

Psamathe by David Witbeck

These pieces evoke the classic, whimsical Witbeck style but, because they are based on drawings from observation opposed to the iconic fishermen culminated from memories and imagination, they are more anatomically correct in terms of proportion, though ever so slight in some cases. Witbeck doesn’t draw particularly realistically and is not into making beautifully finished renderings.

“Even when drawing from life, the figure is a point of departure to have fun with making shapes,” says Witbeck.  “The genesis of most of my figurative paintings are rough, one and two minute sketches.”

Nude I - Wood Block by David Witbeck

Just as the model is the point of departure for the original sketch, his sketch is a point of departure for the finished painting. Each step is a little further removed from the original, what many refer to as simulacra.

“Even the most gorgeous young model can become an ordinary, maybe even slightly frumpy, middle-aged beach babe or a voluptuous Nereid by the time she gets to my canvas,” he laughs of his deliberately unconventionally sexy women. “My emphasis is, as always, simplifying and exaggerating shapes and composing the surface of the canvas in a pleasing way.”

Elizabeth by David Witbeck Sirens II by David Witbeck Barbara by David Witbeck

To fill out the composition and give a counterpoint to the main subject there are occasional figures in the clouds and little creatures nearby.

“They are there mostly just for fun, but they are necessary. Maybe a Freudian would say that I’m that little voyeur gull,” laughs Witbeck, “but seriously, a basic element of good composition is a repetition of shapes.”

Witbeck’s women range from nude woodblock prints to his bathing suit-clad beach babes to his Nereids, who are a Witbeck version of the classic sea nymphs.

“They’re all great fun to paint. I especially love when I don’t need to worry about what color to paint their clothes.”

Artist David Wibeck David Witbeck’s Solo Show will run until Thursday, October 19 at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Ave in Kennebunk, Maine.  He has completely taken over the first floor, and his show is a must-see for the fall season. Please click the links below to learn more about David Witbeck and his work. David Witbeck’s 2017 Solo Show David Witbeck  – A Year Round Collection of Available Work David Whitbeck – Artist Insights and Stories      

The Shape of Things – Thoughts from David Witbeck

09/28/2017 0 Comments
 
The Shape of Things – Thoughts from David Witbeck

“All my work is essentially big shapes based ever so loosely on reality,” says David Witbeck.

Morning Commute by David Witbeck

Witbeck is one week into a three-week show at Maine Art Gallery.  He has taken over the entire first floor and this new collection of work is fabulous. His subjects range from pole wharves to harbor scenes to his classic fishermen and lobstermen.

“Regardless of what the nominal subject matter of my work may appear to be,” says Witbeck,  “to me, my paintings are about making interesting shapes and composing the surface of the canvas in a pleasing way.”

Be it the larger than life Hank, the fisherman, or the harbor of Blue, Blue Bay, it is easy to spot a Witbeck original work once you have seen one.

Hank by David Witbeck Blue, Blue Bay by David Witbeck

“I start just about every painting by drawing one big shape, the “subject” directly on the canvas. By default that leaves a second shape, the “background,” explains Witbeck. “I try to refine the two shapes so they’re both interesting. Even my landscape, seascape, and harbor scenes are essentially a sky or water shape combined with a land shape.”

After that the subject gets subdivided into smaller shapes. in the case of his fishermen, for example, to suggest clothing and such. Then other small shapes are attached to the primary shape to suggest the fish or the lobsters, or even the clever little seagull that finds his way into many of Witbeck’s pieces. “I usually add some little details to the background to suggest a boat, a gull or a piece of land, which creates the illusion of a middle ground.”

Bellbuoy in the Night by David Witbeck Patrick by David Witbeck Blue Harbor

“A compositional thing I do, which adds to the two-shape idea, is when I add these little details to the background, I usually ‘attach’ them either to the figure or to the edges of the canvas,” he explains how he keeps his work connected. “Few of my paintings have more than a couple ‘free-floating’ shapes. “That is, the shapes are not attached to one another nor to the edge of the canvas.”

This is by far the most diverse collection of Witbeck’s work we have seen here at Maine Art Gallery. We love the variety of both subject and size. It is truly a wonderful show. The work is simple and clean, but never loses the honest feel of Maine and the way it should be.

Witbeck’s Solo Show is at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. It will run through October 23. We are open every day at 10 am. Please check the website or call for closing hours as they will change later in the fall. You can also see the entire show virtually by clicking the show link here.  David Witbeck – A Solo Show 2017

Click here for the website – www.maine-art.com or call  (207) 967 – 2803 FMI

To read more about David Witbeck click here – David Witbeck – Artist Insights

To see our entire collection of Witbeck’s work click here – David Witbeck – Artist Page

 

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.

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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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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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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A Gallery of Flowers – Studies by Margaret Gerding

08/14/2017 0 Comments
 
A Gallery of Flowers  – Studies by Margaret Gerding

Margaret Gerding is not only a painter, she is also a teacher. Spending many days in the marshes or on the beaches of the Kennebunks, she shares her gift of art with her students. It was during one of her recent sessions that she asked her students to stretch themselves a little further. She issued the 30-Day Artist Challenge, a test to push the artists’ skills beyond their normal comfort zone. Not only did Gerding issue this challenge, she joined in.

For Gerding, the landscapes and seascapes of Maine are her love. She paints them every day with a smile. However, part of this challenge was to paint something that isn’t a “normal” subject matter. “It is an exercise that reminds the artist to really examine a subject, while at the same time staying loose with the short amount of allotted time,” says Gerding.

After a bit of deliberation, she chose flowers.

Due to this, not only did Margaret bring a season’s worth of amazing work with her for this show, she brought a very special gift, the gift of her flowers.

As you enter Maine Art Shows, each room is designated to one of the three featured artists. Gerding has a room near the front of the gallery. Adjacent to it is a small entryway that presently houses her “garden”. Here you will find many of the small studies Gerding completed during this challenge. With more than fifteen small flower paintings, they are a must-see part of this show.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Maine Art Shows’ three rooms are each filled with a different artist. One of those artist, of course, is Margaret Gerding. She has recently become a Kennebunkport resident and is incredibly happy to be back in the place of many happy childhood memories. With her home and studio in Cape Porpoise, she is able to capture the beauty of our area every day.

We welcome you to come visit. Maine Art Shows is open every day from 11am to 5 pm. It is also viewable with our virtual tour by clicking here. The show will run through Labor Day. Please call or visit us online to see details or get more information. 207-967-0049 or  www.maine-art.com.

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Three Rooms, Three Artists, Three Shows in One

08/11/2017 0 Comments
 
Three Rooms, Three Artists, Three Shows in One  

It‘s going to be three for three at Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk. A three-artist show, featuring the works of painters Philip Frey, Margaret Gerding and Ellen Granter, will be on display for three weeks, beginning with an opening reception tomorrow, Saturday, August 12th. The artists will attend the reception, which is 5 to 7 PM.

“All three artists have strong ties to Maine and capture the true essence of the state,” says gallery owner John Spain.  “Though each has distinctively different styles and subjects, the show as a whole is a wonderfully cohesive body of work.”

Philip Frey, a Maine native, lives and works near the central coast.  He often travels to Acadia National Park, where he finds inspiration in the rugged environment. Primarily an oil painter, Frey’s subjects and styles vary. “I have a need to explore and discover, to stretch my limits so as to become a better painter,” Frey says.  “Cityscape, abstract, interior and figurative genres are ways for me to do that.”

Philip Frey

At one time Frey considered himself a landscape painter, but that has changed. “I think the variety (of subject and style) influences my landscapes in a positive way. Working with pure abstraction, in particular, helps me break down what good composition and a dynamic palette could be. In turn, my landscape composition has become more dynamic and has allowed me to home in on what is most important in each painting.”

Margaret Gerding has recently moved to Maine after spending many summers here as a child. Her new home and studio in Cape Porpoise give her complete access to the marshes she loves. Gerding says, “Even after having visited Kennebunkport my whole life, I am still surprised every day with new places to paint and explore.”

Margaret Gerding

Margaret’s collection of oil paintings, whether on panel or canvas, were inspired by what is right outside her doorstep. “These paintings are my recording of the quiet moments on the marsh — a touch of light, a pop of color or a connection with the land,” says Gerding.

Ellen Granter

The solitude and quiet Gerding finds in the marsh, Ellen Welch Granter finds in the harbor. Once known for her bird paintings, Granter is now focusing on boats, from sailboats to schooners to dories. “I began painting boats because I love the way they evoke a sense of peace and calmness,” she says. “Whether they are in the fog, in the sun, or in a busy harbor, their curvy lines and sense of possibility are always an invitation to paint.”  Granter’s compositions, peaceful symmetries of boats and their reflections, incorporate Maine’s distinctive and nuanced soft blues and grays.

We open Saturday, August 12th at 11am. Our artists’ reception starts is from 5-7 p.m. Please come by and visit. All three artists will be present and look forward to discussing their work and process.

To see the show online, including a 360 degree virtual tour click here.

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Twenty Years Deserves Twenty Days – 20th Anniversary of Maine Art

07/20/2017 0 Comments
 
Twenty Years Deserves Twenty Days – 20th Anniversary of Maine Art

“Twenty years deserves twenty days,” says John Spain, owner of Maine Art.

Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is marking twenty years of fine art in the Kennebunks with their 20th Anniversary Show. Thirty-three artists, past and present, are honoring this accomplishment with one-of-a-kind pieces to commemorate the occasion. The show opens on July 22nd at Maine Art Shows and will run through August 10th.

The artists at Maine Art are some of the finest in the area. Each has a distinctive style, but all have a connection to Maine. Amy Lewia, Gallery Director, is excited about the extensive collection of work, but for her it is more. “This show has a lot of meaning, and we love the idea of bringing all of these artists together to celebrate with us, sharing new work alongside memories from the last twenty years.”

David Witbeck

Natalie Lane, the Gallery Manager, agrees with Lewia wholeheartedly. “We have, and have had, an incredible amount of talent here. It will be exciting to see the works of present and past artists together under one roof.” Many mediums and styles will be represented. Sculpture to canvas, acrylic to oil, and abstract to absolutely everything else. “It will certainly make for an impressive show,” says Lane.

Maine Art has two galleries here in Kennebunk. Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, at 14 Western Avenue, and Maine Art Shows, found up the hill at 10 Chase Hill Road. Each will be hosting events throughout the three-week period. Artist visits are scheduled, demonstrations will take place at both galleries, and artist talks are planned on-site and at a variety of local businesses.

Gretchen Huber Warren Janis Sanders

“It all begins on July 22 with the biggest opening reception party Maine Art has ever thrown,” says Spain. “There will be music, food, and of course, art.”  The reception will be from 5-7 PM. Additional events are posted on Maine Art’s online calendar. “We have a great deal to be thankful for here. Our goal is to truly celebrate our artists, our customers, and our community every day for these twenty days.”

Spain and his staff have filled the weeks with events for all to enjoy, but his true focus is on the show itself. “This show is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the significance of the work. To commemorate our 20th anniversary we asked each of the participating artists to supply us with that one painting they feel is their best work from the last twelve months,” reminds Spain. “They have delivered.”

When John Spain first came to town in 1991, it was as the new owner of Kennedy Studios, a small gallery focused mostly on framing and prints. In three years’ time, one gallery became two, but it wasn’t until 1997 that he took the name Maine Art. In 2000, he built the new gallery space on Western Avenue, then later branded the two galleries together as one entity.

Susan Wahlrab

“The Kennebunks are an amazing place to visit, but an even greater place to work and live,” says Spain. He gives credit to the support of this community throughout the years as a reason behind his success. “I love it here. It’s home.”

The 20th Anniversary Show will open at Maine Art Shows at 11 AM on July 22nd. The gallery is open 11 AM to 5 PM daily. FMI visit maine-art.com/20th or call 207-967-0049. The online 36o° virtual tour will be available Friday evening on the top of the show page. Click here to view it.

Participating Artists Include – Kate Adams, Christine Brenner, Annie Burnett Hidell, Christopher Castelli, Sandra L. Dunn, Alex Dunwoodie, Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald, William Fothergill, Philip Frey, Margaret GerdingEdward Gordon, Ellen W. Granter, Ed Hicks, Liz Hoag, William B. Hoyt, Rebecca Kinkead, Karen McManus, Craig Mooney, Scott Moore, Elizabeth Ostrander, Trip Park, Denise Patchell Olson, Barbara Jones Peabody, Tom Puschock, James Rivington Pyne, Holly Ready, Janis H. Sanders, Carol Sebold, Jill Valliere, Susan Wahlrab, Gretchen Huber Warren, Abbie Williams and David Witbeck.

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Craig Mooney Opens at Maine Art

06/29/2017 0 Comments
 
Craig Mooney Opens at Maine Art

Artist Craig Mooney is stepping back to a time when art was an escape.

“People are always going to be in search of love. People are always going to be in search of adventure. People are always going to be in search of an escape,” says Mooney. “This show gives them all three.”

Celestial by Craig Mooney

Maine Art Shows is hosting Craig Mooney’s one-man show beginning July 1st. This show will run for three weeks and contain not only his classic semi-abstract seascapes and landscapes, but also some fabulous new figurative works.

Mooney says, “In this time and age we are entering, people are looking for an escape. This new series of work offers that. My recent works are more romantic motifs. I want to give people a place to go for a bit of peace. It’s that feeling found when spending time with a painting, then suddenly it captures you. It holds on, and you are there, even if only for a while. It’s more than just seeing it, it is feeling it. The work has to be sincere.”

Dory Calm by Craig Mooney Surf Riders by Craig Mooney

Born and raised in Manhattan, Mooney left the city in 1988 to attend Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where he received a fine arts degree in 1992.  He secured his first large commissioned work from New York Hospital in 1995. “The work for the hospital turned into a series of works and more commissioned pieces for Cornell Medical College,” says Mooney. “Thanks in part to this early success, I was able move to rural Vermont and set up a studio.”

He is inspired by all the places he has called home – his native New York, the mountains and farms near his studio in Stowe, Vermont, and the beaches of Maine and Massachusetts where he spends as much time as he can.  Mooney imbues these semi-abstract renderings of place with emotions he feels are universal and timeless. “I love my studio in Vermont, but with all the time I spend in Kennebunk and the weekends I spend with family on Cape Cod, I have become a ‘coastal painter.’ I am not sure when it happened, but it is part of who I am now,” says Mooney.

The romance of his landscapes is also found in his figures. Amy Lewia, Maine Art’s Gallery Director, notes, ”I’m very excited about presenting some new imagery in this solo show. His figurative works and cityscapes are absolutely breathtaking, and we can’t wait to share more of them with our customers.”

Craig Mooney

Mooney looks forward to discussing his work and his process during his Artist Reception on Saturday, July 1st, from 5 to 7 PM.  This show runs though Thursday, July 20th. Maine Art Shows is at 10 Chase Hill Road and is open from 11AM to 5PM daily. If you can’t make it to town, please visit the show online by clicking here. FMI visit www.maine-art.com or call  207-967-2803.

To read more about Craig’s process and past – Craig Mooney – Artist Insights

To see Craig’s entire collection – Craig Mooney – Artist Page

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