It has been ten years since John Spain, owner of Maine Art, first saw Lyman Whitaker’s copper Wind Sculptures. It has been ten years since conversation about representing them started with Stacy Christensen, Whitaker’s wife and business partner. It has been ten years since the amazing kinetic sculpture garden began greeting all who visit the Kennebunks. It has been ten years, and it is time to celebrate!
Off and on, over the last few months, Maine Art has been lucky enough to spend some time with the masterminds behind Whitaker Studio. Between dinners with Lyman and Stacy, off-roading and tenting with John Whitaker and his lovely wife, Janet, and even some crazy slot canyon scrambling with the fabulous Jen Shepherd, the General Manger of the studio, plans started to form. It was inevitable that some crazy scheming and concocting would happen during this time spent together. The results were better than we ever expected!
As you know, on July 22nd, Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture will begin twenty days of celebrating twenty years – with our 20th Anniversary Show. The three-week span will be full of amazing art, gallery events and artist visits. Thanks to some fantastic fancy talk from one John Spain, one of those artists will be Lyman Whitaker. We are lucky to have him visiting for a few days and plan to schedule a variety of ways for you to interact and meet with this talented man. To culminate his visit, Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, at 14 Western Ave, will host a Whitaker 10th Anniversary Party in and around the sculptures which have made him famous. Be sure to stay in touch for all the details.
Lyman’s visit is just one of many exciting and fun events we have planned for the 20th Anniversary Show. The best way to stay abreast of our summer events is to add your email to our mailing list, if you haven’t already. Our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will also have continuously updated information.
As for now, and throughout the spring season, the gallery will be open from 10am – 5pm every day. Please stop by and visit. If we can help in any way, never hesitate to call 207-967-2803 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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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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