David Witbeck – Celebrating the Start of Summer

On Saturday, May 28th, help us at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture to celebrate the beginning of summer in the Kennebunks the best way we know how; with David Witbeck, New Work.

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Witbeck is an artist with a special talent, a unique eye and an unconditional love for coastal life. His canvases are full of characters from working fishing villages and harbor towns. He captures the fabulous personality of the lobsterman and the sarcastic sass of the seagull while maintaining the charm and appeal of New England. He has an appreciation for their hard work, but also for their humor. “I’m most pleased when my paintings evoke smiles. Humor is an element too often missing in art,” says Witbeck. Living and working the Maine coast takes a sense of humor.  This is evident in the subjects of his paintings.

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Witbeck is no stranger to the working man. From truck driver to school teacher, journalist to photographer, he held many a job before finding success as an artist. His path was not straight or easy, but lucky for us he found his way. “I never had a studio as a photographer, always working on location, but in 2003 I rented a mill space to paint in in my spare time,” says Witbeck. It wasn’t long before his spare time became full-time. “By 2007, I was selling enough art to turn down the occasional photo job that came my way… and the rest is history,” he says with a humility we have grown to love at Maine Art.

That same humility comes though when Witbeck speaks of his mentors and his development as an artist. “When I first started painting again in 2001, after not having painted since 1968, I painted watercolors,” he says. It started out as a practical decision. “I found painting en plein air with acrylics next to impossible. The paint dried so fast on hot windy days, and oils made a mess of the leather upholstery on my then brand-new Outback,” he laughs. All that was left were watercolors.

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It was then David discovered Edgar Whitney, a kind of guru for many watercolor painters. “The most important thing I took from him,” says Witbeck, “is his definition of an artist.” It was an epiphany of sorts to discover he didn’t have to change the course of Art History. He didn’t have to have something earthshaking to say. He didn’t have to alter the world. “According to Edgar Whitney,” David paraphrases, “an artist is simply a shape maker, a symbol finder and an entertainer.” This was Witbeck’s proverbial “ah-ha” moment. “Wow! What a relief. I can do that,” he laughs.

And that he can. His new show is full of interesting shapes and symbols that represent coastal life, and even a few rare pieces influenced by of his own life. Witbeck doesn’t often work from photographs. “Every once in a while,” he admits, “a photograph will trigger an idea.” Lobstah for Suppah and A Fine Catch are examples of these triggers; they were both inspired by a dory built by the Landing School in Arundel and a fond memory shared with his wife from the summer of ’88.

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This show is going to be a great deal of fun,” says gallery director Amy Lewia. “David is a character himself. Having him at the opening on the 28th will allow our customers an exciting chance to meet the man behind the work.” The Artist’s Reception will be held at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk, from 5-7 pm, and all are welcome to join.

These larger-than-life works and this incredibly talented artist need much more than just a night, so the celebration will last for three weeks. Through June 16th, David Witbeck’s show can be seen at Maine Art. We are open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. For more information please call 207-967-2803. The show can also be viewed online at www.maine-art.com starting today. Works will be available for purchase at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Come and celebrate summer on the coast of Maine. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

Read more about David Witbeck and his work on Maine Art’s Blog.

See our entire collection of Witbeck work on his Artist Page.

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Maine Art Joins The Nonantum’s Kennebunkport Progressive Dinner Tour

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This Sunday, May 22nd, Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is happy to join The Nonantum Resort in hosting the first of two Spring Kennebunkport Progressive Dinners. May’s tour will be a small group visiting several of Kennebunk’s quality establishments in the resort shuttle. With only fourteen guests, this will be an intimate gathering. This visit will start with a private party at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture for appetizers, followed by Jillyanna’s Woodfired Cooking School, Ports of Italy, Kennebunk, and One Dock Prime. At each stop guests will enjoy one course and a beverage.

Last year, the owner of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture had the opportunity to experience one of these Progressive Dinner Tours. “It is a wonderful way to dine your way around Kennebunk and Kennebunkport,” says John Spain. “When The Nonantum approached us about being the kick-off location for this year’s spring tours, I thought it was a great idea.”

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The next scheduled Kennebunkport Progressive Dinner Tour will happen on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19th. Again, Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture will be hosting the first stop. Guests will gather at Maine Art Shows for a cocktail and appetizers, and a private look at the Choice Art Show. Other stops planned are Salt & Honey and 95 Ocean at The Nonantum Resort. One more local restaurant will soon be announced.

The Nonantum Resort offers the tour as part of an overnight package. It includes two tickets to the Kennebunkport Progressive Dinner, breakfast the next day, and two Nonantum Resort etched wine glasses to take home as a souvenir. To book online click here. Individual tickets can also be purchased for $95 pp by calling the resort at 207-967-4050. There are one or two tickets left for this Sunday’s event and several left for the event on Father’s Day.

Be looking for three more Kennebunkport Progressive Dinner Tours this fall.

nonatum-resort-sign-300x200photo credit to Greg Burke, VisitMaine.net

To read a more detailed account of one of last years tours visit www.kennebunkportmainelodging,com

 

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James “Riv” Pyne – A Sculptor

 

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James Rivington Pyne is a Mainer. Maybe not born and raised, but he certainly has done his time.  He is a life-long summer resident who just couldn’t stay away.  In 1983, he moved here permanently, and now is happy to call it home. There is just something about this state that captures a heart and soul and refuses to let go.

“Riv” feels the same way about the subject of many of his sculptures, birds.  “I could be cynical enough to say my love of birds began when they started making money for me,” Pyne says with a smile. “But before that–in fact when I was 15 or so–I came to the realization that birds, even condors, turkeys, and vultures, are the most beautiful creatures on this earth.”

Pyne’s sculptures, especially his birds, have a unique and interesting feel, both literally and figuratively.  The use of mixed media and composite gives a rough and real texture to the pieces he creates. The wings of his birds are life-like and natural, encouraging the admirer to reach out and touch them.  “In the spring when the sap is running, I put split-in -half poplar logs into a vice, chisel a couple of inches into the wood, get my hand around the cut piece and rip it off the far end of the log. The results are bird wings, fish fins, and a number of other things,” explains Pyne. This technique is seen in the tail feathers of this Pair of Whimbrels.

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Figuratively,his work captures a personality that may normally not come through in the physical characteristics of his subjects. “My work is stylized, but the subject is never unrecognizable,” says Pyne.  “I find that the best way to express a bird’s edginess on a limb or briskness in flight is by rough, almost blurred outlines, similar to a sketch, rather than smooth finishes.”  Even his bronze work has a texture that catches the eye and the imagination.  The surface of the Bronze Greyhound has a dimension which not only captures his character, it makes him real.

 

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Recently, Riv delivered a wonderful sculpture of a flock of Kingfishers. They are crafted with care and detail, and urge the viewer to move closer to take them all in. The title of this piece is Set of 8 Kingfishers. What makes it curious? There are only seven.  “I’m assuming the eighth one is in flight,” says Natalie Lane, the gallery manager. Maybe that is what they are all looking at. This piece is only five inches tall, but they are perched on a platform that is almost two feet wide.  There is a window sill out there that is just perfect for this work.

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Pyne has been a part of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture since 2012, and we have quite an extensive collection of his work. This new work has such personality and charm, it truly is meant to be seen in person. Of course, his work is also available to view online by visiting his Artist Page.

To read more blogs about Pyne and his work with Maine Art Click Here.

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Let the Voting Begin – The Choice Art Show

“I know very little about art, but I know what I like.”

This is a phrase we hear many new customers use the first time they walk into the gallery. For new art buyers, just walking through the door is a bit outside their comfort zone.  The feeling of being overwhelmed and undereducated is a common one. At Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, it is our goal to change that. We want the gallery to be a place where beauty not only surrounds the customer, but it welcomes them in.

We are have an amazing and varied inventory and an incredible array of artists. But we have always found it beneficial to listen to the opinions of others with different views. And so, the Choice Art Show was born. This one-of-a-kind Maine art show allows you to help curate the final show. No matter how well we know our clients, it is still often difficult to know for sure what you, our customer, will fall in love with. And so, we ask.

The Choice Art Show starts with seventy-two original works from twelve artists.  The six pieces each artist submits will be narrowed down to three.  One, the artist chooses. One, Susan Grisanti, Editor-In-Chief at Maine Home+Design, chooses. The last piece is all up to you. Your vote chooses the last and final piece of the three (per artist) which will be featured at The Choice Art Show at Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk. Each and every artist represented in the show is one of the very best in the area. You can trust that no matter which piece you choose, many others will be in complete agreement.  All you need to do is click the link and let us know which one you like best. You have until Sunday, June 5th to vote. The “People’s Choice” winners will be announced on Monday, June 6th.

After clicking, you are directed to the Choice Art Show page. Here you begin voting.  Each screen shows you the six paintings each artist has submitted.  All you have to do is tell us which one you love most by clicking it and then clicking “Vote.” Once you decide, the site will show you what other customers liked and then move you forward to the next artist.

On Saturday, June 11th, the Choice Art Show opens at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill in Kennebunk. When you walk through the doors, you will immediately recognize all the work you saw during the voting process. The question will be whether or not your favorite made it to the walls of the gallery.  The show will run for three weeks, until June 30th.  However, if you are in town for the Kennebunkport Festival, the reception for this show is one of the culminating activities on the final day of the festival. We welcome you join us from five to seven and enjoy the opportunity to meet the artists who created the work you voted on. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing you soon, and happy voting!

By The Way –

If you cannot make it to Kennebunk to see the show in person, the full catalog will be available for online viewing. Join our mailing list to receive an email on the day it goes live.

Also, if you can’t find the piece you fell in love with, visit the Artist’s Page on our website or the gallery on 14 Western Ave. All these pieces are far too beautiful to not showcase somewhere at Maine Art and will be on display at one of our two locations once voting is closed.

The Artists: Daniel J. Corey, Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald, Philip Frey, Ellen Welch Granter, Liz Hoag, William B. Hoyt, Henry Isaacs, Craig Mooney, Janis H. Sanders, Jill Valliere, Susan Wahlrab and Abbie Williams.

First Lives – Philip Frey

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Like so many artists, giving back and sharing skills and knowledge found its way into Philip Frey’s life. Aristotle said, “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” Not only did he teach students at the high school level, but Philip was just crazy enough to take on the role of the K-8 art teacher on Swan’s Island right here in Maine. Teaching is still very much part of Philip’s world. He hosts various workshops and classes for children and adults throughout the year.

He wasn’t always lucky enough to find work in his field. However, working with his hands and creating seems to be a common theme in his past and present.  “I worked on an organic farm, spent some time doing carpentry work and like so many other artists, found odd jobs to keep busy,” says Frey. He also spent a bit of time in a few framing galleries.

Apparently, those skills have served him well. Having been fortunate enough to wander through Philip’s studio, the discovery of a small woodworking shop in the back was a pleasant surprise. Philip often designs and frames many of his own pieces. In addition, he has left his mark on the wonderful little house which sits adjacent to his studio space.  The entire property has the look and feel of an artist’s sanctuary.

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This “feel” didn’t just happen. Philip has spent many years studying Buddhist philosophy, epistemology, psychology and mindfulness meditation. The sense of peace Philip has created is proof of his studies. “Hiking, walking and mindfulness meditation keep me grounded,” says Frey. Even talking with Philip brings a sense of this same calm. We always look forward to his visits to the gallery.

Its hard not to wonder where someone so inspired has found his own motivation and guidance. For Philip, it is the people who surround him, both in and out of the art world. “My dear parents, Jim and Mickey,” says Philip before giving credit to any others. “I also have close friends, Bill and Jane, and of course, Ken Mike, my high school art teacher,” he continues. “Maine artist, Alan Bray is amazing. Fairfield Porter’s and Eve Mansdorf’s works and writings continue to inspire me.” The thoughtful look that is such a part of Philip’s charm tells me he has many more, but he limits his list with a smile.

Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture has a wonderful collection of Philip Frey’s work in the gallery at 14 Western Ave. In June, you will also be able to see a few of his new pieces in the Choice Art Show up on Chase Hill at Maine Art Shows. If you can’t make it for a visit, please visit his Artist Page, and click here to see other posts that feature Philip and his work.

Voting for the Choice Art Show will begin on May 2 at www.maine-art.com/choice.

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The 2016 Summer Season

As everyone in Maine begins to celebrate the coming of spring, here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, we are already looking toward the coming summer. Which means… The Summer Show Schedule! We have planned four single-artist shows and one group show.  All will contain new and unique pieces from many of our amazing artists.

Normally, our summer shows are held up on Chase Hill in the Maine Art Shows gallery. However, this year we are starting a bit early, and thought it would be fun to have our first show right on the first floor of the 14 Western Ave. location. And who will we be kicking off the summer with? David Witbeck, of course.

David’s solo show will run from May 28th to June 16th, and will not only feature his classic men of Maine and coastal working life images, but a few new perspectives on the wonderful state we love. You can still see many original Witbecks in the gallery and online on his Artist Page, but be sure to check his online show catalog for new work. It will be live soon! Even better, put your name on our mailing list to receive a reminder when his new work from the show is available. While you are waiting, please click here to learn more about David and his work.

 zjvxzv0cxlwyygtlg6viDavid Witbeck: May 28, 2016 – June 16, 2016

Maine Art Shows, at 10 Chase Hill Rd., will again host the Choice Art Show from June 11th through June 30th. This show not only features twelve of our top artists, it is also the only show that lets you, the public, vote for the work you want to see on our walls.  Voting doesn’t begin until May 2. Again, watch for the link or join our mailing list to get a behind-the-scenes peek at this one-of-kind show.

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On July 2nd, one of our new artists will open her solo show at Maine Art Shows. Holly Ready is no stranger to the gallery, but this will be her first solo show with us.  A few examples of her work are in the gallery now and on her Artist Page, but for the first three weeks in July all the walls of Maine Art Shows will display her stunning landscapes and a few more wonderful surprises. We are happy to send you a reminder when this show catalog is available to view if you join our mailing list.

c1isqitsm1c7fqjelot7Holly Ready: July 02, 2016 – July 21, 2016

 

In the spirit of celebrating our new artists, we will also be featuring Rebecca Kinkead this summer.  Her solo show begins on July 23rd and will run through August 11th. Rebecca’s work is nationally known and celebrated, and we are very excited to be able to share it with you here in Maine. To learn a bit about Rebecca, visit her Artist Page or click here to read more.

lrddpjxq6ngwqsrguyahRebecca Kinkead: July 23, 2016 – August 11, 2016

There is no better way to end a perfect summer than a William B. Hoyt show.  His timeless works capture his travels in both grand sweeping landscapes and with the tiniest of detail. He celebrates Maine and New England like no other. His show opens on August 13th and runs through Labor Day. Click here to read a bit more about Hoyt or visit his Artist Page to see our present collection of his work.

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William B. Hoyt: August 13, 2016 – September 05, 2016

This summer holds a plethora of talent and personality that embodies who were are here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture. We look forward to celebrating this summer season with you and yours. There are so many ways to stay updated on what is going on here. Be sure to check out the links below. We look forward to seeing you soon here in Kennebunk, Maine.

Our Website – www.maine-art.com

Our Blog – www.maine-art.com/blog

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MaineArtGallery

Twitter – https://twitter.com/maineartgallery

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/maineartgallery/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/maineartgallery/

Jay Sawyer – New Artist and New Work

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We are very happy to welcome a new sculptor to Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture.  Jay Sawyer is a Maine native who has taken his love of metal, background in engineering and fabrication and experience in repair and maintenance and created a place for himself in the ever-popular world of Maine art.

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“Most of the sculpture is inspired by found objects or discarded materials. This inevitably leads to a body of work with a wide variety, however, most are rustic and very suitable for outdoor environments. My appreciation for form and balance is applied to these materials that represent time and a previous purpose for existing, giving each piece its own unique story,” says Sawyer.  One of his more popular repurposed metal objects are horseshoes.  Perfectly placed and welded, they create a stunning outdoor sculpture. Maine Art presently carries two sizes, a 55” round, large and a 30” round, small. You’re Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover.

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Since 2007, Jay’s work has been found in galleries and public spaces. If you are a local there is a chance you have seen his work as you enter the Portland International Airport, A Spirit of Its Own. While many of Sawyer’s pieces are meant to be outside, there are a few that are small enough to bring inside. Untitled I and Untitled II are both part of Jay’s drill bit “Borin’ Art Series,” and measure under two feet tall. However, each would be fabulous in a garden or patio, as well.

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Maine has a wealth of very talented artists.  When exploring the art scene, it is easy to see why someone could be intimidated.  It has taken Jay time and experience and still he has difficulty grouping himself in with the talent that Maine holds. However, Jay Sawyer has definitely earned his place in this exclusive community. “It is an honor to be spoken of as a Maine artist and a privilege I do not take lightly,” says Sawyer.

Jay is one of a handful of new artists who have joined us in the past year. We are very excited about each of them. Coupled with the amount of winter work from the artists you all know and love here at Maine Art, our gallery is full of artwork. We invite everyone to stop by for a visit and catch up with this winter’s goings-on. Remember, all of our artwork are can be viewed online at www.maine-art.com.

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Jennifer Clement – New Artist and New Work

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Jennifer Clement is just as impressive on paper as she is on canvas. To start, she earned a BFA in painting and a Teaching Degree of Advanced Standing from Montserrat College of Art, graduating Summa Cum Laude. In addition, she holds an AAS in Marketing/Communication from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, New York. If that isn’t enough, she received an AAS in Interior Design from Newbury College in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Although when asked, these degrees are not what she is all about. “It was alive, and fun, and wonderful, but didn’t fulfill the need to create something from nothing,” says Jennifer.

“Each piece starts with a feeling,” she says when asked about the content of her work. “A memory and a palette. Yet, often times it begins to dictate to me how it wants to shift and move. I have to let it happen.” Always deeply rooted in nature, she enjoys where her work takes her. An escape. Sharing her work, for Jennifer, is a way to also share this escape with others.

Jennifer spent summers in Wells, Maine with her grandfather when she was young. She later returned to the Maine coast as a teenager for six summers in a row. “My boyfriend’s aunt had a house in Biddeford Pool,” remembers Clement. These experiences were just the beginning of her love affair with the ocean. “There is a peace and balance when I am around the ocean.” This attraction fills her canvases, maybe not with a single beach or certain skyline, but with an emotion, a connection, a bond with the coast. “There is a piece of my soul in every work.”

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Clement describes her work as somewhere between Tonalism and Luminism. Her love of the misted landscape, a classic characteristic of Tonalism, sometimes leaves behind the dark, neutral hues of the late 1800’s for a brighter, bluer sky. We see this in pieces like Day’s End. However, her brilliant use of light sways her work more toward Luminism. A popular style in the mid to late 1800’s using the effects of light in a landscape. This is especially true in her nightscapes with the use of fading light, as in Embrace. Either way, the blend of these two styles leaves us with a canvas that is difficult to walk away from.

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Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is truly delighted to have Jennifer as part of our gallery family.  Our new collection of her work is presently on display at 14 Western Ave, Kennebunk. We welcome you to come in for a visit. As always, you can view her work on her Artist Page on our website. We look forward to having Jennifer visit the gallery this summer and will keep you posted on any opportunity to meet this amazing woman.

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Rebecca Kinkead – New Artist and New Work

Last fall, Rebecca Kinkead, a graduate of the University of Vermont and Minnesota State University, joined the Maine Art gallery family. Over the course of the winter, our collection of her work has grown, and we are extremely excited to add more. On July 23rd, we will host a one-woman show at Maine Art Shows on Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk.  This show will run for three weeks. Until then, we wanted to share a bit about Rebecca and some of the work we presently have of hers.

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“These paintings are an exploration of energy, transience and time; The residue of a fleeting moment; The seen, and unseen vibrations of a living being,” says Kinkead.  Every word of this description rings true in Cannonball (Yellow and Blue). The motion is captured in the fragments of water which surround the child as the sunlight reflects on the splintered surface. There is no gender, no age. It is a memory so many of us share; not only a moment from our childhood, but also one we have recreated with our own children. It is timeless.

When asked about her process Kinkead provides more than just the physical process. She also tries to explain the phenomenon she knows happens as she works.  “Paint and wax are layered, dripped and scraped to create a sense that the subject is still emerging… still ‘becoming.’”  In the painting, Roost, we can see how this works. The owls have a depth and dimension which draws not only the eye, but the hand. They beg to be touched.  However, it is not just about the beauty and love of the animal; there is a sense of family and community present.  That is the “becoming.”

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Kinkead has been painting professionally since 1999. She has found success in galleries across the United States.  Her work has no geographic constraints. She is able to capture moments and memories for us all, no matter where we live or where we grew up.

We welcome you to come into the gallery and see her work for yourself.  We are open until five everyday. Remember to save the date for her show at Maine Art Shows on July 23rd, as well. As always, all her work can be viewed online on her Artist Page at www.maine-art.com.

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First Lives – Susan Wahlrab

 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states, “Art is something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.”

Many of our artists have always found a way to integrate art into their lives long before society ever called them artists. In their early years, they were drawn to color, design, photography, or just a really great napkin doodle. Regardless, it was in their blood. It was a knowing that beauty is meant to be captured in a form. They sketched or sculpted and always found a way to express themselves and their surroundings with visuals.

At a very young age, Susan Wahlrab was expressing her own “important ideas.” “My grandmother said I came home from whatever event and went right for my drawing pad or my desk chalkboard and immediately created a visual diary of what most interested me,” says Wahlrab. “Making images has been my way of integrating life’s experiences since I was very small.”  Having someone to nurture those interests and natural curiosities soon led Susan down the road to becoming an artist.

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“It was a natural step to go to art school,” remembers Wahlrab. However, it was while she was completing graduate work that she discovered a different passion, a passion for teaching. This lead to positions at Swain School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University, Framingham State University and Maine College of Art.  Teaching became a way of sharing a love with others who understand that love.

The other side of Wahlrab’s life was quite different from her art. “I discovered movement from an early age, as well. It began with swimming, on to hiking and running, then to yoga,” says Susan. It is this exploration that led Wahlrab down a path which she thought would run parallel to her art, but became something separate. And yet, turn after turn these roads continued to weave together, one not complete without the other.  “At this point they are both such a part of me. I can not imagine a day without my morning practice and meditation followed by hours in the studio. The yoga brings the balance and connection I need to continue to grow.” Susan knows that on a practical level the physical strengthening and calm focus supports the demands of standing all day painting and working through challenges, yet she knows it is more than that. “On a deeper level yoga has integrated a full and complex life which I can use to inspire as I continue the journey of expanding as an artist.”

Again, a passion led her to teaching; something that has become just as natural as movement and art. “One thing is clear. When I find something I truly am passionate about, I want to share the excitement through teaching. The process and time I put into classes supports my own learning journey. A life of observation and connection of body, mind and spirit.”

DSC_0017.JPGSusan Wahlrab’s Studio

We welcome you to come in and see our complete collection of Susan Wahlrab’s work here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture in Kennebunk. Her watercolor technique is as beautiful as it is unique, and is meant to be seen in person. However, we know this is not often possible and encourage you to visit her Artist Page on our website. If you are interested in learning more about Susan Wahlrab and her art, please read an earlier blog about one of her works, Reflection.

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