The First Fisherman – Artist Insights from David Witbeck

Artist David Witbeck has made many fishermen friends. He created them, literally and in art world terms, figuratively. They are his signature, whether it was the intention or not.

“When I started painting my fishermen fifteen or sixteen years ago, I made two sketches. One of a man holding a giant fish, and the other was of a man with a tiny fish in his gloved hands. At the time, I could keep the fish/fisherman thing going for fifty paintings, and then there would be a Last Fish painting,” shares Witbeck. “Several hundred fishermen later, I think I’ve said about all I can say about a guy holding a fish.”

Slim Pickens may be a study for that last fish painting…although I still get requests for them, who knows?” says Witbeck. “Slim Pickens is also one of the very few paintings set on the deck of a fishing boat. So I may be able to play with that idea a little bit more. We shall see.”

So how does he keep it fresh? For Witbeck, it is all about the angle and perspective.

“Many people comment on my perspective, the low point of view. To change it up, I try to have a high point of view. We all know eye level can get a little boring,” shares Witbeck. “I can make a boring situation look dramatic by going low or high or using a wide angle up close.”

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SHOW VIRTUALLY

See our complete collection of Witbeck’s work by clicking the link below.

David Witbeck – Artist Page

To read more about Witbeck, click the link below

David Witbeck – Insights and Stories

Evolving Into Blue – End of Summer Show with Janis Sanders

 

As summer comes to a close, artist Janis H. Sanders remembers the sun and salt air through brilliant color and brushstrokes in his new show at The Gallery at the Grand at Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk. The show begins at ten in the morning on September 10. There is an artist reception from 5 – 7 that evening to meet and toast Sanders for his brilliant work, which celebrates the place we all love.

“Maine takes me by the hand and gently, quietly reaches in, touches my heart, my soul, tantalizing, whispering, seducing. She knows me, owns me,” Sanders tries to explain. “I watch the sunlight’s yellow dance tango on indigo waves and the seagulls floating free, suspended weightless on invisible air. I can hear the call on the wind. It is wild.”

Sanders is an accomplished oil painter who has won awards for his distinctive painting style, yet he continues to grow and change as an artist. He melds elements of American Realism with Modernism/Impressionism for a dramatically contemporary visual result.

“Funny, you’re evolving even when you think you’re not,” shares Sanders. “Each step is the destination. There is nothing bigger or grander. Color is still the fundamental, basic, and utmost expression in the tangible visual form of emotion and art.”

Sanders uses strong linear shapes of buildings and rooflines to stand solid in contrast to the natural curves of land and sea. All are illuminated by sunlight casting gently across the varied surfaces.

“Whether it be gentle waves rolling and lapping at the rocks where the lighthouse lights, in peril itself, though standing firm. It illuminates homeward for countless seafarers,” says Sanders,” to a pastoral seaside farm, a low tide sand beach, all are an open invitation for a warm summer afternoon stroll and suggest an idyllic life.”

Known for his vibrant blue, the dominant color in much of his work, a Sanders sky catches the eye and holds it. The other elements, be it the rocky coast of Maine or an old house at the water’s edge, are always added later.

“I begin each painting with the sky; to me, the most important element,” says Sanders. “The sky is light. We are immersed in it. It’s the key to determining the entire atmosphere of the painting. Visually and practically, it provides the backdrop for the other objects in view,” says Sanders. “I paint those blue skies, each new and fresh from the gut.”

The Janis H. Sanders Solo Summer Show opens at The Gallery at the Grand at Maine Art Hill, 1 Chase Hill Rd, on Saturday, September 10, at 10 AM. Again there will be an Artist Reception that evening from 5–7 PM with the artist in attendance. The show runs through Thursday, September 29, and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. FMI call 207-967-2803. The show can be viewed online beginning Wednesday, September 7, at www.maine-art.com/shows.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE COMPLETE SHOW 

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL AVAILABLE OF SANDERS WORKS

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Patterns and Paintings – Artist Insights from Bethany Harper Williams

When the front of a canvas isn’t enough, a pattern wraps around and extends something already so beautiful.

“I’ve started to think more about the side panels of the paintings,” explains Bethany Harper Williams. “I was at a show at the Guggenheim and noticed a glow of color above some of the paintings. As I ascended the gallery, I looked down on these same paintings and saw that the top panels had been painted a vibrant pink.”

If you are looking for inspiration, where else do you go but the Guggenheim?

“It inspired me to look at the sides of my paintings,” shares Williams.”I like the glow it creates without distracting from the painting itself. The stripes add to the whimsy of the paintings and allude to the stripes of a beach towel.”

The question always comes down to how the process works. What is the plan? Ironically, the answer is that there is no plan.

“I don’t plan where the patterns will go. They are just an expression of what I’m feeling now, ” Williams says.  “I often leave a painting and come back to it to see it from a different perspective and then add to it. That’s usually when the fun stuff happens!”

Bethany Harper Williams 2022 Summer Show ends September 15th at Shows on Maine Art Hill. Come in to check out these amazing little details. It’s always worth the trip. Remember, we carry her work all year long. This is just a blast of summer fun all in one place.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SHOW VIRTUALLY

See our complete collection of each artist’s work by clicking the links below.

Bethany Harper Williams – Artist Page

To read more about each of these artists, click the links below

Bethany Harper Williams – Insights and Stories

 

Witbeck Revisited – Artist Insights from David Witbeck

When an artist is as recognizable as David Witbeck, having him reconsider what worked a few years ago is always a welcome surprise. Be prepared to see a few familiar faces and friends.

“This year, I revisited some earlier ideas. Iggy, the fisherman in the boat with the larger-than-life fish, and Taking Out, a similar fisherman but with an entire basket of fish, are themes I haven’t done for a few years. So I thought I’d give them another try now that I’m a better painter,” laughs Witbeck.

For Witbeck, every painting, every class, every sketch makes him a better painter. The kicker…we reap the benefits of all that hard work. His willingness to share some of that process with us makes the “better” all the better.

Another piece that Witbeck revisited is Bustling Harbor from last year’s show. Below you will see Bustling Harbor centered between two new pieces.

“The two Downeast Geometry paintings are a bit of a spinoff of the large Bustling Harbor from last year’s show,” shares Witbeck. “Sometimes, after creating a complex painting, I dissect it for smaller paintings.”

Late to Work is also a spinoff from Bustling Harbor with the man on the ladder becoming the main subject,” explains Witbeck. “He is more front and center than just something to complete a painting corner.”

It is so amazing to see how each piece has morphed from Bustling Harbor. Even though the original was sold during last year’s show, there are many new pieces that embrace the heart of this popular piece. It is also available as a print if your heart is set on the original composition.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SHOW VIRTUALLY

See our complete collection of Witbeck’s work by clicking the link below.

David Witbeck – Artist Page

To read more about Witbeck, click the link below

David Witbeck – Insights and Stories

Exploring – Artist Insights from Ryan Kohler

“As I continue exploring what I can do with acrylics and collage, I’ve expanded my materials to include found papers, posters, maps, flyers, brochures, adverts, birthday cards, fortune cookies, and other found, saved, and collected papers,” shares artist Ryan Kohler. “You name it.”

Some of the materials Kohler uses were from when he was in high school and worked for a local record shop. The store had promo posters or cardstock adverts in the windows for new albums or movies to be released.

“The crew and I had first dibs on anything we wanted, so my bedroom walls were always covered with many pop culture references,” says Kohler. “Last year, my wife and I moved into our forever home. As we were unpacking, I came across an old tote with all my high school stuff, and all these colorful materials became a treasure trove of collage materials. All my old stuff suddenly had a new purpose.”

 These papers are used in abstract ways. Little unrecognizable bits of color is ultimately what he is after, but they are found in sometimes unlikely places.

“There is a particular color red of a Green Day promo background for their album in 2004 or a section of a purple gradation on Prince’s leg while playing guitar in a magazine clipping from the same era,” explains Kohler. “Then there is the colorful reflection of colors in Ray Charles’ sunglasses on the poster promo for the movie “Ray” that came out in 2005. I can’t list it all here. I hung onto some pretty random things.”

Each of Kohlers new works is a plethora of memorabilia best witnessed in person. His Summer Solo Show runs until September 8. Open every day at 10 am. Please visit.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SHOW

To see all available work from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.

Ryan Kohler –  ARTIST PAGE

To read more insights from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.

Ryan Kohler – INSIGHTS AND STORIES

Ryan also has a collection of videos, including Secretly.

Ryan Kohler –  VIDEOS

 

 

 

Witbeck and Williams, Together Again – Summer Show Season 2022

There is something special when creative people get together. ~ Joy Mangano

That is precisely what Shows on Maine Art Hill is celebrating from August 27 to  September 15 with artists Bethany Harper Williams and David Witbeck. Starting at 10 AM Saturday, August 27, this dynamic duo fills the walls at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk.

“We have showcased this talented pair a few times with great success,” shares gallery owner John Spain. “Both Witbeck and Williams revel in Maine’s summer, so saying goodbye to the season with these two artists seems perfect.”

From his first venture on a fishing boat, working behind his camera instead of in front of his canvas, artist David Witbeck fell in love with these hard-working folk. He captures their essence of work and play, along with so much more of Maine.

“I never know where my inspiration will come from, a piece of real life, a memory, a color, a moment,” says Witbeck. “My fishermen often remind me in a distant way of Andrew Wyeth. He celebrated the fishermen and their dories but in a way very different from my own. Still, we certainly share the same sense of respect for this demanding career.”

 

Artist Bethany Harper Williams finds inspiration in daily life. She uses small shapes to create her scenes of summer. Each small brush stroke is coupled with a collection of marks. The expanse of the canvas allows Williams to play with texture, shape, and color, abstracting the elements but using figures or boats to put everything into context. However, adding geometric patterns in her oil paint often spark questions.

 

“I prefer to go beyond what is expected. I keep the viewer intrigued, finding more, and wondering. I play with patterns. Polka dots, lines, circles,” explains Williams. “It is meant to be playful and whimsical, not focussed on representing the reality, but creating a joyful mood. This keeps the viewer continually involved, looking, and questioning.”

Starting on Saturday, August 27, at 10 AM, the gallery at 10 Chase Hill welcomes the public to view and purchase these stunning celebrations of color and summer. In addition, both artists will be at Shows on Maine Art Hill on Saturday evening from 5 – 7 PM. They are excited to share their process, inspiration, and new works. The Artist Reception is a free event.

Again, the show runs until Thursday,  September 15, and is open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM  Plan to stop into their other three locations. The Gallery at 14 Western Ave, The Grand Hotel Gallery at 1 Chase Hill, and Studios at 5 Chase Hill. All are open during the Artist Reception and every day this summer. Check the website for all summer hours. FMI www.maine-art.com or 207-967-0049

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SHOW VIRTUALLY

See our complete collection of each artist’s work by clicking the links below.

Bethany Harper Williams – Artist Page

David Witbeck – Artist Page

To read more about each of these artists, click the links below

Bethany Harper Williams – Insights and Stories

David Witbeck – Insights and Stories

My Studio’s a Mess – Artist Insights from Ryan Kohler

“My studio’s a mess. There’s no logical way to organize all this stuff. So when I’m creating, the paper starts flying as I hunt for colors and patterns among the sea of scraps, then cut what I find into the appropriate shapes that fit the painting,” laughs artist Ryan Kohler. “After that, it’s all trial and error.”

Kohler’s studio may be a mess, but the organized chaos and a great rake instead of a broom, keep things contained.

“It’s not a streamlined process, and it’s not practical,” says Kohler. “The upside is that I have clean shapes of pure color and exactly the shape I want.”

“The process and results are a bit like palette knife marks, except I have much more control, and if I don’t like the piece I’ve just added to the painting, I simply remove it,” shares Kohler. “I have a window of time before the glue permanently adheres the paper to the canvas, and even if I am beyond that window, I still have the option to continue gluing more paper to cover up any mistakes I’ve made. ”

“Sometimes that leads to the most interesting results. When layers and layers of paper are added to each other, especially something with patterns, it can look like mixed paint from a distance,” says Kohler. “Again, very cool.”

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SHOW

To see all available work from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.

Ryan Kohler –  ARTIST PAGE

To read more insights from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.

Ryan Kohler – INSIGHTS AND STORIES

Ryan also has a collection of videos, including Secretly.

Ryan Kohler –  VIDEOS

 

 

 

The Peacocks at Snug Harbor – Artist Insights from Claire Bigbee

Artist Claire Bigbee made a short trip to  Snug Harbor Farm in Kennebunk to get some flowers for her open studio in the spring and was fascinated by the peacocks. She loves to paint birds and thought it a fun challenge and something different for her show. So with that, she looked up the symbolic meaning of a peacock.

The peacock is a possessor of some of the most admired human characteristics and symbolizes integrity and the beauty we can achieve when we endeavor to show our true colors. In history, myth, legend, and lore, the peacock symbolism carry portents of nobility, holiness, guidance, protection, and watchfulness. Contemplate the powers of the peacock when you need more vibrancy and vitality in your experience. The peacock can also help you on your spiritual path and breath new life into your walk of faith.

“I was reading my art journal,” shares Bigbee, “and this kept coming to mind while I was working on this painting. So get out of your way and access the source of your creativity.”

With this came the realization that children make art with no artist statement.

“They are in a particulate place, and their art is not predetermined. Our culture is articulate, analyzing, and knowing. We force experience, pushing us as adults away from the willingness to be in the unknown,” says Bigbee. “Being still settles the movie running in my head; in yoga, it shuts off the mind chatter. I like to call it the mind storm. Practicing yoga through meditation allows me to see what’s behind the curtain of my thoughts. It allows me to reveal what’s inside; it opens a pathway to follow my inner guidance. The essence of mystery in life can be conceived not by reason but through intuition.”

Another influence on this painting was when she visited the Van Gogh Boston Exhibit.

“I visited the Van Gogh  Immersive Experience in Boston with fellow artists  Ingunn Joergensen and Diane Carr. The animation and music of his paintings and drawings projected onto massive walls surrounded me in his flower paintings,” explains Bigbee. “It was exhilarating to see his brushwork on a large scale. The buttercup flowers as a stencil covering the peacock add another element to draw.”

For Bigbee, the peacock paintings manifest hearing those inner messages or intuitions.

“The phrase get going and see what happens guided me through this painting. So I titled it Sparkle on, Darlings, which permits me to be myself.”

Details for Claire Bigbee’s show follow this link.

To read more about this talented woman, click the link below.

Claire Bigbee

To see our present collection from this artist, click the link below.

Claire Bigbee

 

The Paint Does All the Hard Work, and the Paper Gets All the Credit – Artist Insights from Ryan Kohler

When artist Ryan Kohler says, “The paint does all the hard work, and the paper gets all the credit.” He is not kidding. Watch the video below to see how a painting is born in Ryan Koher’s studio. Then compare it to the final product after the papers have been added.

 

“It should be noted that painting is still very much the root of what I do. I’m still in love with painting, and I’ve learned all my best works begin with the strongest paintings,” says Kohler. “No amount of paper is going to save a poorly done painting. I know this because I’ve tried.”

It’s easy to say “good enough” when he is in the painting phase, but he always regrets it when it comes to the secondary collage. “When I have a solid painting done, it forces me to add paper more thoughtfully and slowly, careful not to add an incorrect piece that will shatter the illusion.”

Each component added is like a revelation, revealing something that wasn’t as defined as before—the hull of a boat, a bird’s wing, the shadow’s edge. Sometimes it is necessary to walk back and forth from the easel after each piece, carefully observing how the painting changes from a distance.

“There are times I go unconscious and add a hundred pieces before I realize what I’ve done. But, no matter how I apply it, the paper is usually the brightest, most prominent, and most exciting part you see,” explains Kohler. “It is the top surface of the artwork, but the paint below is the foundation that props the whole thing up.”

There are a few reasons for using all these old paraphernalia.

“First, I don’t have the heart to throw it away. Who wouldn’t love to recycle in such an incredible way? It’s also nostalgic and a way to feel a personal connection. It’s my stuff, youth, influences, and personal past. Finally, it’s a way to subtly insert me as I create images I want to see,” shares Kohler. “It’s also a way to enrich the viewer’s experience. It invites them to take a closer look at my surfaces and notice little patterns, words, or textures. I want to keep the viewer looking longer.”

Oddly each piece rarely comes out as cool as he sees them in his head, but he is always learning to create better and, as time goes on, learning to create more and more like himself.

 

To see all available work from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.

Ryan Kohler –  ARTIST PAGE

To read more insights from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.

Ryan Kohler – INSIGHTS AND STORIES

Ryan also has a collection of videos, including Secretly.

Ryan Kohler –  VIDEOS

From Just Acrylic to Just Amazing – Videos from Ryan Kohler 2022

Click any of the images below to see the finishing touches on several of Ryan Kohler’s new works for his 2022 Solo Show.

TETCHY

 

 

GENTLY

 

 

LULLING 

 

 

KIPPING

 

QUIETING

 

 

GUMBOOTS

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SHOW

To see all available work from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.

Ryan Kohler –  ARTIST PAGE

To read more insights from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.

Ryan Kohler – INSIGHTS AND STORIES

Ryan also has a collection of videos, including Secretly.

Ryan Kohler –  VIDEOS