Season of Solitude – Claire Bigbee, Artist Choice

Claire Bigbee is profoundly influenced by her surroundings, both place, and person. Season of Solitude, her Artist Choice piece, was inspired by a working vacation she took this spring. 

Season of Solitude began at my recent trip to the tip of Cape Cod for a weekend. I visited Anne Packard, and her daughters Leslie and Cynthia Packard. Anne, has been the matriarch of an artist family for three generations,” says Bigbee. “Both daughters are a continuation of an artist lineage.”

Bigbee studied under both Anne and Cynthia over the years.  It had been a while since their last visit and Bigbee was excited to spend time with these three women she now calls friends. The fact that it is in a place she finds incredibly beautiful is an added bonus.

Provincetown is a special place that, for centuries, has captured the attention of many famous artists, poets, and writers. “For me, the quiet solitude in Provincetown offseason is a perfect getaway to catch-up and do hopefully do some painting,” says Bigbee. “The incredible light and colorful surroundings are captured perfectly in Season of Solitude, as well as others sparked from this same visit.”

Bigbee has also done workshops on The Hans Hoffman Approach with famed artist Selina Trieff and her husbanding fellow artist Robert Henry at The Provincetown International Art Institute. 

“Since Charles Hawthorne’s arrival in 1899, the Provincetown art colony has played a significant role in the history of American art,” shares Bigbee. “Going there to study my craft is my connection to the great artist in American history there before me.”

Claire Bigbee has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Claire Bigbee ‘s Artist Insights and Stories

Claire Bigbee’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

Banana Bread – William B. Hoyt, Artist Choice

William B. Hoyt is a veteran to the Choice Art Show, and this year one of thirteen Maine Art Hill Artists participating in the event. 

Hoyt is the master of taking small and ordinary and turning them into pieces of beauty.  Where others see personal collections of love and laughter, Hoyt sees art and an opportunity to capture those collections permanently on canvas.

“This is an altar of goodness painted midwinter with the kettle on to boil,” shares Hoyt, referring to Banana Bread, his Artist Choice piece for this year.

When bread, especially banana, comes fresh from the oven, it is always the right time to stop and breath it in. Especially in Vermont. Especially when snow is covering the ground.

“Fresh from the oven, my wife Kathy and I love this edition of the recipe shared by a friend whose mother wrote it out years ago on an index card,” shares Hoyt when explaining the details of the piece. “Above that, from the top, is Willy, a neighbor’s hound, Kathy in Umbria by the Arno in Florence, and two photos of our friend Kim plunging into the water.”

These are just small memories tacked to the window above the kitchen sink. These are just small memories, like so many others for Hoyt, that are now preserved in paint.

Hoyt has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

William B. Hoyt’s Artist Insights and Stories

William B. Hoyt’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

Breakers and Waves – Kathy Ostrander Roberts, Artist Choice

“There is something magical in the movement of wax and resin. It replicates the movement of Maine waters to which I am inexplicably drawn. It too, ebbs and flows, builds and, breaks,” says Kathy Ostrander Roberts, one of thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

Breakers and Waves is Roberts’s Artist Choice and for her a relatively easy one.
“I love the movement of it, the scale, and overall tone. It is one of the bigger paintings I’ve done,” says Roberts. “It held me captive every minute of its creation.”

The depth of the pieces Roberts creates, sometimes fifteen or more layers of wax, allows her to occasionally embed bits of ancient ephemera like ship-captains letters or bits of mica, birch bark or other treasures one might find along the coast.

“Having worked for years in dry pigment in the form of pastels, I find using a blow torch to paint, very freeing,” says Roberts. “It is not only rhythmical but can be meditative as well. The outcome is never certain, and the result is always engaging.”

Roberts typically paints bodies of water and the movement of oceans. Occasionally she paints landscapes with dark and moody callings, bog-like and eerie.

“This ancient medium has been around since the fifth century and has had a renaissance of followers in the last decade. It is unlike any art ever experienced,” Roberts shares. “I encourage viewers to touch the surface. It has a texture that should be touched! I also encourage viewers to get up close and really see the surface of the wax, which can be carved, polished, raised, or smooth. It is delightfully dimensional.”

Roberts has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Kathy Ostrander Roberts’s Artist Insights and Stories

Kathy Ostrander Roberts’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

Secrets of Summer – Bethany Harper Williams, Artist Choice

“I am drawn to the water – it’s what inspires and energizes me – the colors, the sound, the smells, the calm, and the movement. It overwhelms my senses and gives me energy. When I’m painting water, I find that same energy,” says Artist Bethany Harper Williams, one of thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show on Maine Art Hill.

Williams loves the Maine landscape and all it has to offer, both from a physical perspective and a visual perspective. For her, the beautiful beaches and water provide an area to play and create beautiful memories, as well as the inspiration to capture those memories and make them last forever.

“My work explores the shared emotion many of us have to our memories of the beach. As much as it is important the image feels real, I don’t want to get caught up in the reality of the image,” explains Williams. “I want the viewer to take a second, or third, or fourth, look and discover a shape or a pattern and the whimsy in the painting that may not be visible at first glance or from a distance.”

The expanse of beach and water allows Williams to play with texture, shape, and color, abstracting the elements, but using figures or boats to put everything into context. Her addition of geometric patterns in her paint, however, often spark questions.

“I like creating the unexpected. Adding little circles or squares serves as a reminder that it is not a photograph, but inspiration from a moment in time,” explains Williams. “Sometimes, when I’m painting, I get too tight trying to be too real, and I have to step back and loosen up.”

With the Beach Days series, even the artist never knows where the people are going to be on the painting until she starts painting them. Populating the canvas with these little gems of color, she follows where her palette knife takes her. The intention is to find the energy and character of the people through very simple but deliberate brushstrokes. “I feel as if my hand dances across the canvas as I place each person,” says Williams, “composing a rhythm of color.”

“When I see the lobster boats in the water I think of the adventures these simple boats have experienced out on the ocean and the personalities of the people on the boats,” Williams shares. “I love the weathered look and the character of each lobster boat. The water gives me a space to play with shapes, colors, textures, and energetic brushstrokes. The boats give this abstracted area a context.”

Recently Williams began adding sailboats to her repertoire, both up close and far away. She captures both the energy of sailing through her brushstrokes and the calm through the subtle colors and open space.

Secrets of Summer, Williams’s Artist Choice, shows this combination of energy and calm. The long horizontal format provides open space to play with textures, shapes, and patterns in the sand, giving a sense of whimsy and energy, while the open space offers a calmness.

Bethany Harper Williams has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Bethany Harper Williams’s Artist Insights and Stories

Bethany Harper Williams’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

Finding a Way Through – Elizabeth Ostrander, Artist Choice

“I want my sculptures to hold space, to produce the feeling of connection with the mythical and the mystical within and to create bridges to new possibilities,” shares Elizabeth Ostrander Roberts, the only sculptor of the thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show on Maine Art Hill.

For Ostrander, art stirs a renewed aliveness. It sparks curiosity and transports to new places where imaginative possibilities open. It is a gift. A gift she needs to put back out and into the world.

“For me, clay is magical. It feels alive and is so responsive to my hand. I also need to be sensitive to clay’s personality too, as its physical capability changes in variations of air and moisture.” says Ostrander. “We ‘talk.’ It’s a partnership. On my part, it’s also love. Whether I’m happy or sad, clay always feels right.”

After her clay piece is vitrified, made solid in the kiln, Ostrander chooses to add color with acrylic. Painting her sculptures as if they were canvases.

“Color too is transformative magic and brings out the sculptures personalities. Sometimes I collage or stencil or join my clay sculptures to found objects of metal or wood,” explains Ostrander. “This gives my clay sculptures a larger juxtaposing story. When I choose such serendipitously found objects to add with a clay sculpture, it “speaks” to me and tells me that it wants a larger story. It’s not yet done with being important.”

When she joins her clay sculptures with metal, it gives them a more tenuous personality reflecting, to her, a love/hate relationships to our inventions. With wood, they share more of a compatible natural essence.

“Living in Maine near both forests and the shifting tides of the sea, my life feels like a free-flowing mythical, magical journey,” says Ostrander. “Wanting to imbue my sculptures with my own exploratory narratives, I always hope others might use them as bridges to their personal mythical, magical possibilities of renewed aliveness.”

Ostrander has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Elizabeth Ostrander’s Artist Insights and Stories

Elizabeth Ostrander’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

Feeling the Sun – Liz Hoag, Artist Choice

Artist Liz Hoag chose Feeling the Sun for her Artist Choice piece for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show. “The simplification, abstraction, and color choices come together to give it an open but also warm and comforting feeling of place,” says Hoag.

Hoag’s current work is a refining of her ideas about composition, color, and light. In this work, she sheds realistic or narrative detail, while retaining idea. More than depicting a detailed image of a place, the work retains a sense of place, but absent are the most clearly defined ties to a specific location.

“I use the woods as a starting point for an abstract idea. By intentionally cropping the view, I consciously retain a substantive structural focal point within the composition,” shares Hoag. “I use other elements that guide the audience to look around the space and return to the focal point. The forms from nature I choose to retain are weighted and colored in a way that makes the viewer feel sure of her footing, feel balanced, feel comfortable.”

Hoag’s use of color and value gives depth to the realistic space at the same time it aids in the abstract two and three-dimensional balance. With different palette choices in each work, there is often a sense of season and time of day as well. This adds to the comfort the viewer experiences and a feel of a defined place.

“My use of negative space between trees or other elements enhances the push and pull of both the depth of the imagined landscape and the flat plane of the canvas,” explains Hoag. “It helps us travel through the space in more than one dimension. And I love the interplay that often comes off like stained glass.”

Artists learn to make forms turn in space and mimic what we see. Hoag is growing out of that system of seeing. She is looking for a connection to the real world that is more sensory and abstract than constructed.

“I still retain a feeling of solidity in wood or tree without the constraints of super realistic painting. The work is not impressionist but contains impressionist elements,” says Hoag. “It maintains a solid base structure with light and color as interrelated collaborative elements.”

Hoag has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Liz Hoag’s Artist Insights and Stories

Liz Hoag’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

Marsh Glow and Others – Janis Sanders, Artist Choice.

“Each one of the paintings is my favorite of this bunch. Each for its own different reasons,” says Janis Sanders one of the thirteen featured artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show at Maine Art Hill. “I aimed for a broad spectrum of method, and the result was this new body of work.”

Sail by Janis Sanders

In one direction, the loose abstraction of  Sail allowed and demanded flowing expression in reality, and as a symbol of a bright care-free summer day at the beach. Yet, Bay Fish Shacks challenged Sanders’s perceptual and paint application aptitudes with ever so subtle late daylight, and the subsequent feather touches nuanced painting of this scene.

Bay Shoreline by Janis SandersBay Fish Shacks by Janis SandersBay Lupines by Janis Sanders

Bay Shoreline is a close cousin of Bay Fish Shacks, but with a gentle restrained yet energetic application of paint to indicate a bright light summer day at the ocean,” shares Sanders. “Bay Lupines, as it developed in front of me, evolved to have something of a loosely guided life of its own. It happily and not quite intentionally spills beyond the edge of the painting itself, leading to a sense of vast space, though painted on a fairly small format.”

Then there is Marsh Glow, the Artist Choice piece for Sanders. He and his wife Vizma were roaming around the North Shore one Sunday afternoon last fall, following the road never traveled. After rounding a curve in the road, Marsh Glow’s inspiration was seen.

Marsh Glow by Janis Sanders

“This beautiful house and scene with warm enveloping light smiled at us from across the tidal river. The little nook at the ocean’s edge felt like I had just walked back in time,” shares Sanders.”That beautiful moment then translated into River Shore, which is the house in Marsh Glow.”

Marsh Glow presented Sanders with the broadest range of challenges of this collection of new paintings, all of which he relished. There is an array of texture, color, and form in the trees that is both interesting and demanding to portray in an engaging, attractive, compelling way on this large scale.

“The varied textures, shadows, and colors of both the grass and bending river areas are a challenge to keep the paint fresh, varied and unified all at once, requiring assorted direction and application of the paint,” explains Sanders. “And last but certainly not least, and the thing that drew me to this scene this time, is the entirely placid low tide waters in the river, then the still reflection.”

Sanders has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

William B. Hoyt’s Artist Insights and Stories

William B. Hoyt’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

Distant Dune – Charles Bluett, Artist Choice

This year Charles Bluett’s submissions for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show are focused on the great outdoors and the ethereal and barometric elements that go to make up this great gift we all live in and share.

“At a time when the planet we live in is under the spotlight, I respect its resilience and ability to transform in so many ways,” says Bluett. “I never cease to wonder at its supreme beauty and the differing delicate environments.”

Bluett’s Artist Choice is Distant Dune, a painting capturing light and shadow and quiet in a world that seems to be so filled with noise of all kinds. It is places like this that bring Bluett the peace he needs to recharge his soul on a regular basis.

Distant Dune was inspired by the time after, what the old-timers refer to as, a proper winter. The winter of 2019 was definitely a ‘proper winter’,” says Bluett. “I painted this piece looking forward and the ability to return to soulful dunes, fescue grass and long walks along the beaches and varied shorelines.”

Bluett has captured the distant view to a grass-lined dune with an endless sky above and soft sands below. It is a view that is both specific and general. It is seen often and just for that one fleeting moment.

“As with all my works, I try to capture the barometric powers that are such a huge part of any outdoor environment. Although the works are not of any specific place, I want the viewer to instantly connect to the sense of having been there before,” says Bluett. “ I strive for an immediate feeling of a place in the memory of my viewers and of the joy being there brought.”

Bluett is fascinated by distance and what lies ahead, and he captures the perspective of that view within each work.

“I am blessed have these views, feeling the place, taking in the smells, the movement of the breezes, the patterns of the clouds and the sounds of the sea, or rhythms of the water ahead,” explains Bluett. “For the viewer, the place may be different but the feeling is the same.”

Charles Bluett has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at  THE 8TH ANNUAL CHOICE ART SHOW

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Charles Bluett ‘s Artist Insights and Stories

Charles Bluett ‘s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

 

 

I Want to Feel Pretty Again! – Rick Hamilton, Artist Choice

Rick Hamilton chose, I Want to Feel Pretty Again, for his Artist Choice piece. With an effort to focus on the variety of beauty represented not in art but people. Hamilton gives us a peek through an artist’s eyes and displays a beauty rarely seen in the mirror.

“This is a woman putting a flower in her hair in order to feel pretty again,” explains Hamilton. “What she doesn’t realize is the rest of the world can already see how beautiful she is.”

Self-esteem, as we age especially, can take a severe hit. Receiving the gift of our own beauty reflected back through paint, is an incredible one.

“I painted this piece to acknowledge how hard we are on ourselves. Maybe we are all similar in that way,” says Hamilton.  “It was a hard one to pick, but an important piece for me!”

Hamilton has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Rick Hamilton’s Artist Insights and Stories

Rick Hamilton’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill

 

Only Us, Maine – Jeffrey Fitzgerald, Artist Choice

“For decades, I look out from shore to rocky haven, with content I have climbed upon and also foraged for periwinkles, starfish and precious stones,” says Jeffrey Fitzgerald one of thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

Only Us, Maine by Jeffrey Fitzgerald

Only us, Maine is a painting about a specific rock formation and cove that for Fitzgerald is home. Each time he returns to this piece of work, he travels a different course, from the color that suggests objects to two hues that are so compatible that together they evoke emotion.

Fitzgerald, a part owner in Oarweed a restaurant in Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, spends a great deal of his day looking over the cove that houses large rocks and crashing waves. “This garden has brought me wonder, security and sustenance,” says Fitzgerald. “For decades, while working at the Oarweed, I have been blessed and charged by this giant. The worked hours at the restaurant aren’t averse, the actions and interactions there feed a painterly battery.”

Unassumingly, of course, Fitzgerald knows he has robbed from this grotto to create this piece of work. “I play to and off the surf, I use the tide and the sun. They round out my memory and being,” says Fitzgerald. “Only Us, Maine is about color and brushstroke on raw linen, it is illustration and expression. The act of painting, for me, is intentional at times, even strategic, but at others, it just happens or is a lucky break.”

Fitzgerald’s work often borders on the abstract. However, when the story of time and place, or even title are given, images surface and a landscape can be seen.

For Fitzgerald, this composition of brushstroke and pigment is an altar or bouquet. “I paint a totem of what my eye and senses catch, often for us, sometimes, for just me. At slack tide, this painting is building and construction as a panoply of ‘my Maine.’”

Jeffrey Fitzgerald has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Jeffrey Fitzgerald ‘s Artist Insights and Stories

Jeffrey Fitzgerald’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill