The Growth of an Artist – Philip Frey

From Figurative to Abstract to Landscape and Back Again

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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.”

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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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Planning Ahead – 2017 Show Schedule for Maine Art

 

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Next year’s show schedule is set, and we couldn’t wait to share the excitement with all of you. Summer calendars fill up quickly – be sure you fit us in.

We have decided to keep what has quickly become our annual spring show in place. Rebecca Kinkead is taking over the first floor of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture from May 27 though June 17.  Rebecca joined the gallery in the fall of 2015 and has found tremendous success. We enjoyed her 2016 solo show so much and many of you are asking to see more. Therefore, we decided there was no better way to start the summer of ’17.

On June 10, Maine Art Shows opens with the Choice Art Show, the only show curated by you. This is our sixth year combining this show with the Kennebunkport Festival. Twelve Artists. Thirty-six works. Be looking for the voting to begin in May. We always love to find out what your choice is. For more info on how the Choice Show works – Choice Art Show 2016.

Craig Mooney is next on our list of celebrations at Maine Art Shows. He is hosting a one-man show beginning July 1. The show will run for three weeks and contain not only his classic seascapes and landscapes, but also some fabulous new figurative work. Craig has been with us for over 9 years, and this show will be different than any Mooney show before.

The fourth show of the season is something we are particularly excited about. Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is marking twenty years. Twenty years deserves twenty days. We begin on July 22 with the biggest opening reception party Maine Art has ever thrown. Music, food, and of course, art. Fifty of our artists, past and present, are honoring this accomplishment with one-of-a-kind pieces to commemorate the occasion. Both galleries are in on the fun, as they will each host daily events featuring visiting artists. Check our website for a link to all things, “20th Anniversary Show.”

Following the celebration, three of our artists are staying on for three more weeks. Beginning on August 12, Philip Frey, Margaret Gerding and Ellen Welch Granter will each take over a room at Maine Art Shows. These three unique and varied artists will come together to form a fabulous trio.

Our show season will continue back at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture.  On September 2, Liz Hoag, another Maine artist, takes over the first floor and leads us into fall with her wonderful pieces of Maine’s landscape. Immediately following, we will round out the season with David Witbeck and his distinctive coastal works. His show starts off on September 23 and runs through October 19.

That is it… so far. Please keep us in mind while deciding on which weeks to visit us here in Kennebunk. Of course, we would love to have you with us all summer, but we know for some of you that’s not possible. We will do our best to keep you up-to-date on all the goings-on. Please add your name to our email list for reminders. We’ll keep your information private and not inundate your inbox.

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Stories and Insights from each of these artists can be found on our blog. Click the links below to read more.

Rebecca Kinkead~Craig Mooney~Philip Frey~Margaret Gerding

Ellen Welch Granter~Liz Hoag~David Witbeck

2017 Show Schedule with Links to Artist Pages

Rebecca Kinkead –  May 27 – June 17.

Choice Art Show – June 10 – June 29

Craig Mooney – July 1 – July 20

Twentieth Anniversary – July 22 – August 10

Artist Trio; Frey, Gerding and Granter  – August 12 – September 4

Liz Hoag – September 2 – September 21

David Witbeck – September 23 – October 19

Fall in the Kennebunks

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.

Margaret Gerding

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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Creating a Moment – Janis H. Sanders

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A new show often brings fresh inspiration and untried ideas for an artist. It allows them to open doors and produce work that differs, even just slightly, from previous work. It is an opportunity to showcase their growth as an artist. This is definitely the case for Janis H. Sanders.

“This solo show has broadened my spectrum of theme and palette both, from the focused spotlight sunrise to a 360 degree view. I am thankful for it.  Sometimes we think of ourselves as ‘here’ and daylight and sunlight somewhere ‘out there,’ when in actuality, we all are enveloped in it,” says Sanders. “It’s not separate from us, we are a part of it. We are in it.”

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The richness and light found in the collective work of Sanders’ solo show at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is spectacular. His classic blue sky has taken on a fresh glow, his structures and landscapes contain fine details in vibrant colors, and the body of work itself contains a great deal of Maine imagery. This show has found a perfect home in our Kennebunk gallery.

“As I paint, I know in my gut and with each moving second, there is more evolving in front of me and within me. The outcome of the work is not clear, but I instinctively know there is more to be,” says Sanders. “For me there is no goal but the simple evolving and participation in the being and creation of the moment.”

Janis often compares his work to that of a musician or writer. He understands every detail enhances the feeling of exchange and communication. Images are catalysts for other images, and like words in a song or story, he allows the paint to guide him through this harmonic process.

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We encourage everyone to take time this fall and view this incredible work in person. Sanders’ show will run until October 22, and the gallery is open every day from 10am to 6pm. If you can’t make it to Kennebunk, please view the work online at www.maine-art.com

To read more about Janis Sanders and his work at Maine Art in Kennebunk follow this link. Janis Sanders – Stories and Insights.

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A Question of Why and When – Insights into Janis Sanders

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“Fancy words like visceral. The same and different at once. I paint because I feel the beauty so deeply, I must do my best to convey the moments I have seen.”  ~ Janis H. Sanders

Janis Sanders has been painting since he was young. With time and effort he found success and was able to name “artist” as his vocation. Now, he makes it look easy, but it wasn’t always this way.

“In the beginning, I applied to a prestigious art organization. One of the questions posed was, ‘Why do you paint?.’ This was followed by a full page of blank space awaiting my reply.  I just didn’t have that much to say,” says Sanders.  “After careful consideration I simply wrote, ‘I must..’  The application was rejected. Now, years later, I am proudly a member of that organization. I will tell you though, I never changed my original answer to the fateful question of why I paint. Still and simply, I must.”

Growing up in upstate NY opened Sanders’ experiences and imagination to the wonders of the great outdoors. The big skies with billowy clouds in the summers pervaded the skyscape. Sanders always held a sense of wonder for the beauty and magnificence of Nature herself and never intends to improve her work, just share it.

“Near the end, the small finishing touches on a painting become the most important. It may be just a tweak, a tiny bit of color, a pastel shade or a deep rich shadow. My instinct tells me the right place,” says Sanders. “These tiny changes harmonize with the previous hours of work, and the piece begins to hum. Without them something indefinable, but nevertheless crucial, is simply lacking; wanting and incomplete.”

The choice to walk away from a piece of work is one of the hardest decisions to make. If there is always a bit to add or a hue to alter, when is a painting ever complete? When does an artist know he has done all he can to share his vision? Janis Sanders answers this with no hesitation.

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“I am done when I have poured all my emotions of that first glance that stopped me and swept me away in the first place.  Recreating a particular scene into paint, without second-guessing myself, is difficult as it is. I won’t deny that. Yet, when I am sure of myself and my vision and my emotions, I can stop. There is a knowing catharsis, a deep feeling that I’ve done everything I possibly can. It is my best.”

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We at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture are proud to showcase Sanders’ best. We encourage everyone to take time this fall to wander into Kennebunk and view this incredible work in person. Sanders’ show will run until October 22, and the gallery is open every day from 10am to 6pm. If you can’t make it in, please view the work online at www.maine-art.com

To read more about Janis Sanders and his work at Maine Art in Kennebunk follow this link.  Janis Sanders – Stories and Insights.

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Janis Sanders – New Works at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture

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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 Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture in Kennebunk.

Sanders is an accomplished oil painter who has won awards for his distinctive painting style. He melds elements of American Realism with Modernism/Impressionism for a dramatically contemporary visual result. Many of Sanders’ paintings are done outside, “en plein air,” a method meaning “open air,” that was first introduced by French artists in the mid-19th century.

Sanders says, “Each of my works is done as spontaneously as possible, with only minimal blocking in of forms. I paint vigorously, expressively and physically, applying paint with a palette knife in areas of color, then smoothing and blending minimally to keep the paint fresh.”

A landlocked kid raised in upstate New York, Sanders grew into a true New Englander and continually celebrates its beauty through his work. His strong linear shapes of buildings and rooflines stand solid in contrast to the natural curves of land and sea. All are illuminated by sunlight casting gently across the varied surfaces.

“I feel the day, the sky, the atmosphere and the sun on things, just as I did as a kid, with the same amazement and awe and wonder,” he says. “I try to convey that moment of joy and presence through the scenes of my paintings without intention for nostalgia or sentimentality. Whether it is a farm in a pasture with a working barn or a lobster shack along a wharf, the sense of place is real.”

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 one new, each one fresh from the gut.”

Sanders has been represented by Maine Art for six years. This is his first solo show at the gallery on Western Avenue in Kennebunk, and we are excited to end the summer show season with his work. Amy Lewia, Gallery Director at Maine Art, says, “Janis is colorful. From his paintings to his attire to his demeanor, he is remarkable. His artwork exudes the same sentiment. It is difficult not to feel a great happiness when admiring his work.”

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The Janis H. Sanders Show opens at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, 14 Western Avenue, on Saturday, September 24, at 10 am. There will be an Artist Reception that evening from 5-7 pm with the artist in attendance. The show runs through Saturday, October 22, and is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. FMI call 207-967-2803. The show can be viewed online beginning Wednesday, September 21, at www.maine-art.com/shows.

To read more about Janis Sanders and his work at Maine Art check out our blog. Janis Sanders, Stories and Insights.

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Lyman Whitaker’s Wind Sculptures

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We hear words like, “spinny things,” “whirligigs,” and “windmills.” Most often these phrases are coupled with a finger or two pointing in the air, mimicking the round and round motion in which the copper sculptures at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture are perpetually found. The correct term is actually kinetic Wind Sculpture, the trade mark name from Lyman Whitaker and Whitaker Studio. These sculptures have made Maine Art a landmark upon entering Kennebunkport.  Tourists and locals alike stop and watch, take video, and photograph the collection of Lyman’s Wind Sculptures that encompass the gallery year-round.

When visiting Whitaker Studio, it is hard not to be amazed at the fantastic amount of work that goes into each sculpture.  Lyman, the artist, his wife Stacy, the businesswoman, and his brother John, the engineer, are each an integral piece of what makes this studio a success.  They have surrounded themselves with a team of artists, welders and sculptors that are personally invested in and love the work they do each day.  After talking and spending time with each part of this team, it is obvious they feel valued and are a connected family. To be able to sit and watch what unfolds at this studio is a rare experience.

It is difficult not to feel overwhelmed and in awe when standing in the middle of the Wind Forest that is the front yard of Maine Art.  The size and spectrum of the sculptures alone is incredible. The air moves as they spin in complete silence.  Of course, the next notion that immediately comes to mind is, “I want one.” We will warn you that once you have one, the need for another comes soon after.

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The staff at Maine Art is incredibly skilled at helping to discover which Wind Sculpture will best suit your space and need. With prices starting at $300, everyone can find a sculpture (or sculptures) that will enhance a home and landscape. To see these sculptures in their natural habitat, we welcome you to visit our Lyman Whitaker YouTube Channel.  Here you will find home videos taken by our customers showing off their sculptures.

This post happily coincides with our launch of our own kennebunkportwindsculptures.com website. This is a dedicated Maine Art page just for Lyman’s sculptures. Not only can you view them, you can purchase them on our website! We are the first and only website allowing the purchase of these one-of-a-kind sculptures. Still want more information? Try whitakerstudio.com. Here the process is described in detail and small biographies of Lyman, Stacy and John can be found.  Be sure to click the Artwork link to see pictures of their public installations.  If you still want more, there is an incredible video by Amy Spangler covers an installation in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

As always, we encourage you to come visit us in Kennebunk.  There is nothing that compares to being here and watching these sculptures in motion. Of course, you can always find all of Lyman Whitaker’s Wind Sculptures on his Artist Page on Maine Art’s website. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call – we love to help.

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We hope to see you on your next visit to the Kennebunks.

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The Process of the Painter – Margaret Gerding Shares

“The more I paint, the more knowledge is etched into my movements. Every painting is a stepping stone to the next work. Every mistake teaches.” ~ Margaret Gerding

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Margaret Gerding may be new to Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, but she has been painting for thirty-two years. It is in her blood. Even after graduating from UMass, Dartmouth with a printmaking degree, she still found her passion in paint. Most of her work is oil and canvas, but there are a variety of ways Margaret keeps her artistic juices flowing.

“I experiment to keep fresh. I have worked in encaustic and pastels in order to give myself a change. I even quilt,” says Gerding. “Yet, when all is said and done, and it comes to being inspired, I could not be the painter I am without painting directly outdoors.”

Whether she is out on the Bridle Path in Kennebunk with students or pulled over on the side of the road, Margaret is sketching. “It’s a quick way to capture the moment instead of bringing out the whole canvas,” she says. “I still bring out canvases sometimes, but I always have a sketch pad with me.”

These sketches become her inspiration for studio works. Once a painting begins, the pencils get tucked away. Gerding is a firm believer in not sketching directly on her canvases.  She will use anything to make a mark with paint though. With rags and pallet knives, and even her hands which are usually covered in color, the outline for each piece is laid out.

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“My finished work is very smooth, but it certainly is not in the beginning of my process. I often start with a big house brush to block out my ideas. Large strokes mark up a painting in its early stages,” says Gerding. “The work has a very abstract look. For me, it needs to work in its simplest form. If I can’t get the composition and color and tone to work in three elements, I begin again.”

Margaret has taken some artistic license as she explores southern Maine through her work. Yet there is no doubt that she has captured the beauty of this area. Please come and see for yourself.

Margaret Gerding’s show is at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk until September 22. Her new work fills the first floor of the gallery. We are open every day from 10am – 6pm, and Friday and Saturday until 7pm.

Stop in for a visit or view the show online at www.maine-art.com/shows.

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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Time for a Change – Insights from Margaret Gerding

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At a young age, artist Margaret Gerding came to southern Maine for the first time and found her happy place. Since then she has spent pieces of her summers here, from Granite Point to Goose Rocks Beach. Now, years later, those memories have brought her back to the Kennebunk area and her new home in Cape Porpoise. With this new location came many other changes, as well.

“I sold my house in Massachusetts in November and began looking for a place in the southern Maine area. I moved in with family, but knew I at least needed a studio space,” says Gerding.  “The Biddeford Mill was perfect – all light and brickwork and close by. Soon after that, I leased a winter rental and finally began to feel settled. I was relaxed and could take my time looking for a place to call home.”

In January, Gerding found that home in Cape Porpoise. By February, she was moved in and happy to call herself a Mainer. “I used to come to Maine for vacation as a child. Even at that age, solitude was important to me. The marsh near the cottage was one of the few places I was allowed to explore alone. My parents thought I was safe there. Quickly, it became my escape,” says Gerding. “It still is.”

On the way to her studio Margaret often stops at the marshes near Goose Rocks Beach to sketch or take photos. With a four or five o’clock wake-up time, the morning light and peace has become addictive. These small “sketches” she creates have become part of her studio and her process.

“This winter, I would pull over and sit in my car and do studies. These became a reference for me, not even paintings really. They are what I go to to remember the colors, how they worked together, how they blended,” says Gerding.

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“I may be having a problem with how pink I want a sky. Looking at the studies, I realize what worked, what I really saw. Sometimes they aren’t colors I would choose, but mother nature did, “ she says. “If I have a new color I want to try, I will put it on one of these to see what happens, so they are constantly changing.”

All of the scenery that surrounds Kennebunk and Kennebunkport is part of Gerding’s new works.  She was drawn here for the way the fog rolls in and changes the landscape. She came for the green of the marsh and how it changes over to warm ochre in autumn. It has always been about nature and quiet and peace. With that said, there has been a new addition to her canvases since coming back to Maine.

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“For the first time, I’ve included man-made structures in my work. Somehow, the paintings just ‘called’ for it,” says Gerding about her work with views of Great Hill Road. “The Kennebunk area has given me a wonderful sense of community and what it means to be a part of a seaside village. As my new world evolves with my changes, I believe my work will, as well. This is just the beginning.”

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Maine Art is celebrating Margaret Gerding’s changes and new beginnings in our gallery at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. Her new work fills the first floor of the gallery. We are open every day from 10am – 6pm, and Friday and Saturday until 7pm.

Please stop in for a visit or view the show online at www.maine-art.com/shows.

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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Communication of an Artist – Margaret Gerding Shares

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“For me, there are three steps to my communication as an artist,” says Margaret Gerding. “First examine, next interpret, lastly share.”

Visual artists have a different way of communicating with the rest of the world. Each has a lens they look through that changes what is “seen” to what is “perceived.” These perceptions become their art.

“I want to take time to examine what is in front of me. It’s about the moments spent, and a need to witness, explore and really see,” says Gerding. “Then, I am ready to begin my own interpretations. This is my time to paint. During this process my thoughts and reactions come through in color. Last but certainly not least, I share. It’s not only about the finished piece, it’s the act of being viewed.”

And so the cycle repeats. As outsiders we examine what an artist has presented us, often making our own interpretations on what being conveyed. Then, we too share these thoughts, sometimes verbally, sometimes through the written word.

“When something inspires me, I stop and sketch. There is always a sketch pad in my car and even in my purse,” Gerding laughs.  “I do take photographs, but I usually use them only as a reference for color or structure. The final painting is never what I actually see; it’s my response to the inspiration.”

Margaret Gerding

Maine Art is celebrating Margaret Gerding’s inspirations and communications in our gallery at 14 Western Ave in Kennebunk. The first floor is full of the marshes, ocean views and pathways that southern Maine is known for. We are open everyday from 10am – 6pm, and Friday and Saturday until 7pm.

Please stop in for a visit or view the show online at www.maine-art.com/shows.

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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