Trial and Error – The Process of David Witbeck

“I guess there’s something to be said for making sure the drawing is just right before applying paint,” shares artist David Witbeck. “My brain doesn’t seem to work that way. I tend to find the painting through trial and error on the canvas.”

First Sketch Final Piece

In this particular work, Witbeck lends his frustration with the subject being so young. Before this, he hadn’t ever attempted to paint a child. 

“it’s too easy to slip into the realm of the saccharine, and partly due to the way I take liberties with human anatomy, I don’t want the child to look awkward or strange,” shares Witbeck. “I hope I can navigate that narrow path with this one.”

The idea for the girl with the lighthouse was inspired by a Facebook friend of Witbeck’s who grew up in the ‘40s as the daughter of a lighthouse keeper.

“That’s a childhood I would have loved…I think,” he says.

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Quickly drawing the basics with charcoal and washing in some tones at the beginning of a painting is the fun part for Witbeck. Then comes the hard work of making sure the made-up perspective isn’t too wacky and tweaking the drawing, and of course, and painting.

“I spent all day spinning my wheels with a deepening sinking feeling on this one,” a frustrated Witbeck shares. “Then, when I was just about ready to give up and go home, I figured out what it needed. It might turn out okay after all.”

Someone once said something to the effect that “a work of art is never finished, it’s just abandoned at some point.” Even though Witbeck thought a painting was done one day, he can wake up and realize something was all askew. 

“For this piece, the lantern was askew. This necessitated repainting most of the sky,” says Witbeck. “It’s exhausting making stuff up, especially something this literal. I am looking forward to getting back into my comfort zone tomorrow.”

******************************

“This was to be a reinterpretation of a painting I made six years ago. It is one of the only ones that is heavily informed by a photograph,” shares Witbeck.

 “The photo below was of Bernard Raynes, and the 58-foot wooden dragger named Irene Alton Raynes built it in his backyard and launched it in 1976. I had met Bernard in 1989 and spent a few days on the Irene Alton in the Gulf of Maine one January doing a personal photography project. Bernard no longer fished due to declining health but owned the boat, and it was fished with a hired crew. The trip was cut short when the seas got too rough to keep the gear on the bottom. We returned to Owls Head with few fish and few photos.”

Years later, Witbeck and his wife, Barbara, rented a house overlooking Owls Head Harbor from  Bernard and Eleanor. They did that for fifteen summer vacations. The photo that inspired this painting was taken when Witbeck accompanied Bernard to the boat to do some maintenance.

“On clear days when Bernard wasn’t getting dialysis, we’d explore nooks and crannies of Penobscot Bay with him in our various small boats. From Port Clyde to Brimstone, Isle au Haut and Stonington, from Eagle Island and Camden to everything in between. Great memories.”

This image has greater personal connections than most for Witbeck. And that may have caused a few more trials and a few more errors. 

Recently, Witbeck used Bernard’s image to inspire another new piece, but it didn’t go smoothly.

“After three days (see sketch above), I realized I wasn’t having any fun. I was too hung up on the architecture of the skiff, the details of the big boat, and I even started to turn my generic fish shapes into cod!” Witbeck laughs. “I was getting way too careful and literal with everything.”

For Witbeck, the only solution was the razor blade treatment. “I knew if I didn’t destroy it, it would haunt me, and I’d keep trying to fix it. Sometimes it’s better to start over from scratch.” (see below)

“Everything is just the right amount out of whack this time around,” he explains. “I replaced the fish with lobsters. Lobsters are funnier than fish. Now I just need to name it. ‘Day’s End’ or ‘Lobster for Supper’… I hate naming paintings.”

To see our entire collection of work from David Witbeck.

DAVID WITBECK ARTIST PAGE

To read more Artist Insights from David Witbeck.

STORIES AND INSIGHTS FROM DAVID WITBECK

Making a Landscape Come to Life – Artist R Scott Baltz

Gold Breaking Blue

When most of us take in a landscape, we note the emotion it evokes and its beauty. We may take a quick photo. We even may bring that photo out off and on and remember the place and time. For artist R. Scott Baltz it is more than that, much more.

“Something must stand out in the landscape, and I will hold on to it, and often I’ll come back to it,” shares Baltz. “It is a way of being in it, seeing it, experiencing it.”

Baltz spends a lot of time outdoors, which is where the bunk of his inspiration comes from. He prefers to let things gestate in his mind for a while. Sometimes for a very long time.

Lemon Zen

“It starts when something in the landscape speaks to me.  It may be a very small thing, instead of something grand,” says Baltz. “Maybe it is just the way the light hits the tree or something that stands out as being a little unusual. So often I find it deeply, movingly so, beautiful.”

Once an image, real or mental, clicks, the process begins.

“I do use cell phone photography. Sometimes it is to capture a moment for compositional purposes to be referenced later on,” he explains. “However, I actually never paint from photographs. I do rough sketches, but I always just let color happen and evolve during the painting process.”

Being inspired is half of the battle for most artists. Taking that inspiration and turning it into a physical piece of art that captures the emotion that was felt…that is the magic.

The Opened Window

Stay tuned for more about artist R. Scott Baltz and his process.

As always you can see Maine Art Hill’s collection of his work by viewing his artist page. You may also read more about Scott by checking out our blog posts that feature him.

R. Scott Baltz – Artist Page

R. Scott Baltz – Stories, Shows, and Insights

 

 

 

The Kennebunks are Still Painting the Town Red in 2021

It’s the beginning of February, and in the words of our fearless Chamber of Commerce leader, Laura Dolce, “I want to talk about what you LOVE.”

Paint the Town Red is an annual event in the Kennebunks. It celebrates local businesses that are still open this time of year, as well as a community that comes together and welcomes locals and tourists alike.

“Beyond friends, family, and pets, I bet a lot of what you love is what you’ve found here in the Kennebunks: a home and an awesome community,” shares Dolce. “Well, to keep this community awesome, especially in these challenging times, we need to show some LOVE to our local businesses.”

From restaurants and take out to specialty shops and gift cards, there is something for everyone in the Kennebunks. And of course, flowers never hurt.

Margaret Gerding | Close to Home - Day 21 | Oil on Panel | 8" X 8" | $850

Maine Art Hill participates in this hypothetical painting palooza with our annual 25% off all custom framing sale. We do this every year, and we are always overwhelmed with the number of customers who find their way to Custom Framing on Maine Art Hill… especially since we moved the framing gallery up to Studios at 5 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. Meet Taylor and Louann and let them help you create the perfect accent to a piece you already love.

Follow this link to find our hours and contact information for the framing gallery.

Follow this link for a fun throwback to 2017! Wow, has Framed on Maine Art Hill grown and changed. 

More notes from the Chamber…

You can check out all of the Paint the Town Red specials (the list is growing daily) HERE. And remember – they aren’t just for visitors. Locals get some great bang for their bucks, too.

And in case you really want to LOVE LOCAL, or you need some gift ideas, some of our favorite businesses have chosen an item they absolutely love – and think you will, too, and you can find those HERE.

To learn more about the Framing Sale, click this link

 

Art to Go on Maine Art Hill

We are hoping to make your life a little easier and a little more fun. Using various technologies, local delivery, and private appointments, we have many ways to help stay connected to our artists and our galleries.

Shopping from Home

For many small businesses, this is a way to stay connected to clients. We have an incredible website full of high-resolution images, artist bios, and insights and stories from our artists. With a simple phone call or email, we can share a great deal without you ever leaving your home. We offer five ways to help and are always open to other ideas. All processes start with an email to [email protected] or a call to the gallery where you can leave a message if call when we are closed. 207-967-2803.

Online Links – Thanks to our website’s organization, it is possible to create new links just for you that showcase only the artist or works you love. We can share these with you both via email or text.

Virtual Appointment with a Gallery Associate – With the power of FaceTime or Skype or the ever more popular ZOOM, we can virtually chat “face to face.” As one of our staff walks around the gallery with you, they share details and up-close information on any works you find interesting.  An appointment is necessary.

Sharing a Video of Particular Pieces or Artists – Email or call to give us the artists and pieces you love. We create a video just for you by walking around the galleries and featuring the artwork you request, like the Face Time option, but not interactive.

Virtual Art Placement – Again, thanks to technology, we can take any home photo and virtually place the specific pieces you are interested in on your wall and send you the images. Again this requires an email, text, or phone call, in which we discuss the pieces you love. Then just a few quick measurements, a little tech magic, and we virtually place the art in your home. Check out the images below to see what we mean.

Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculptures – Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculptures can be virtually placed in your yard as easily as paintings can be placed on your wall. Again, all we need is a few simple measurements, and we can create an image showing virtually what the sculptures look like installed in your landscape.

Shopping at the Galleries

Gallery Visits – The galleries have set winter hours. You can find these on our website. We follow all federal and state CDC guidelines to provide you with a safe and healthy environment for your visit. *January Hours – Friday to Sunday from 10-5. February Hours – Friday to Monday from 10-5. March Hours – Thursday to Monday from 10-5.

Private Gallery Visits – Private gallery visits may be arranged by appointment only. Email [email protected] or call to set up a private appointment. Know that all the galleries are CDC compliant and are cleaned and sanitized before your visit.

Curbside Pick-up – Finalize all your purchases in any way that works for you, then let us know when you are coming to pick them up. We meet you “curbside” at one of our many preferred parking spaces. We load your new works right into your car or contactless with a heads up when you arrive.

As you can see, we are here to help.

With all of these precautions in place, we are hopeful that we can help you find new art pieces to compliment your home.  

We are happy to help you in any way. Just contact us. Working together is what we do.

Please contact us via email at  [email protected] or call the gallery and leave a message at 207-967-2803.  We are automatically notified when a message has been left.

Again check the hours before coming because they are different during the winter.

April Hours – Thursday to Monday from 10-5.

May Hours – Open Daily from 10-5.

Annual Custom Framing Sale at Maine Art Hill 2021

Traditionally, folks flock to our frame shop in Kennebunk every February to take advantage of our Annual 25% off Custom Framing Sale. This year will be no different, but with a few tweaks and twists.

Here are the details so you can plan ahead…

Technically the sale starts on the first Friday of February, the 5th. Due to limited winter hours during Covid, the Studios galleries will only be open Friday through Sunday.

We welcome “in-person” visits to the frame shop every weekend. Opening at 10 each morning and closing at five o’clock on Friday and Saturday and four o’clock on Sunday. This is the perfect time to visit Studios on Maine Art Hill and pop your head in to see Louann and Taylor at Custom Prints and Framing. Both of these lovely ladies are masters at making your keepsakes, prints, and photographs into beautiful heirlooms to be passed on for generations.  All for 25% less!

Click here to read more about the Frame Shop

Call 207-204-2042 (Frame Shop) or 207-967-2803 (Main Gallery)  to speak with one of our staff.

February Gallery Hours

Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday & Monday 10am-4pm

February Frame Shop Hours

Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 10am-4pm

VISITING THE KENNEBUNKS IN FEBRUARY 2021

Over the last few years, the sale has been in conjunction with Kennebunk’s annual “Paint the Town Red” celebration. However, we are a bit unsure of how the rest of the town will be celebrating safely this year, but we will try and keep you posted. See links below.

My Birds – Insight From Artist David Jacobson

We asked artist David Jacobson to share a bit about his birds. It is always so interesting to hear the inside scoop on an artist’s work. Here, not only does he talk about his process, but also his inspiration is explained. Enjoy…

“I would love to talk about the birds I have been making for over a year now. Like most good things, they started by accident. I played with solid glass, pushing and pulling them out and glass around a solid rod. When I stopped, I realized the object looked like a bird. I decided to see if I could control the process a little more and developed it into what I am offering today. I am further along than where I was initially, but I am nowhere near where I want to be.

My goal is to capture the gesture of the bird. Its essence. I am not concerned with details of the eyes or feathers, for example – more, of the form of flight. My recent wall piece of assembled birds of various colors at Maine Art Hill is a good example of what I am after. Each bird is interesting, in and of its self, and together forms a more intricate sculpture. The birds are placed in a formation that is influenced by observed birds in flight. Angling up, lifting off, soaring. Actual colorings influence the birds’ patterns and colors, but the birds are representational of actual birds.

In fact, the names of the birds are completely made up. I take great joy in coming up with playful names, sometimes matching real species with randomly selected countries. If I smile, I know I have come up with a good combination. I find this process adds another level of interaction with the viewer.

Color and light reflection are major draws for me in working with glass. I use a combination of transparent and opaque-colored glasses in most of my birds. This adds depth when looking through the bird. I also sandblast some of the birds or partially sandblast. This, too, adds depth and interest to the bird’s surface, as the color and reflective qualities of the glass are affected by the mat or shiny surface.”

To see David Jacobson’s entire collection of available works, visit his artist page or come in and see them in person. They are on display at both the main gallery at 14 Western Ave and The Works at 5 Chase Hill, both in Kennebunk.

DAVID JACOBSON – ARTIST PAGE

Save the Date – Summer of 2021 Schedule for Maine Art Hill

This year’s show schedule is set, and we couldn’t wait to share the excitement with all of you. We know how quickly summer calendars fill up, so be sure to pencil us in.

In 2021, we are thrilled to start the season with our 6th Annual Spring Show featuring artist Janis H. Sanders.  Sanders’ work can be found on the first floor of The Gallery on Maine Art Hill on 14 Western Avenue from May 8 through May 27.  Sanders has been with Maine Art Hill since 2010 and is well known for his love of the perfect blue in the company of a splash of yellow., but there are always a few additional pleasant surprises. With this show and each painting he paints, he gives his best effort to interact with the scene’s atmosphere.

On May 29, Shows on Maine Art Hill at 5 Chase Hill Road opens for the summer with the 10th Annual Choice Art Show, the only show curated by you. This is our tenth year. WOW!  Twelve Artists. Thirty-six works. We always love seeing your choices.  Remember, voting begins on May 1! Be on the lookout on social media and in your inbox for details.

Beginning June 12, R. Scott Baltz, Charles Bluett, and Erika Manning form a fabulous trio at Shows on Maine Art Hill.  Their show will run for three weeks, closing on July 1.  All three of these talented artists are thrilled to be jump-starting the summer with us. This is sure to be a must-visit show this summer.

On July 3, our show gallery at 10 Chase Hill hosts the much loved and respected work of three of our most colorful artists.  This show features all-new work from artists Ryan Kohler, Claire Bigbee, and Karen Bruson and runs until July 22. This is the first time these three have shown together, and we can’t wait!

The next show is an encore presentation of one of our favorite dynamic duos artists David Witbeck and  Bethany Harper Williams.  The way these two share space and celebrate all that is coastal is fresh and fabulous. This show begins on July 24 and runs through August 12.

In the spirit of dynamic duos, we have put together another stunning pair for all of the “scapes,” a person can dream of. Landscapes, seascapes, marsh scapes, cityscapes, and the most important scape of all, escapes. Who better to wander through these beautiful places with than Craig Mooney and Margaret Gerding. August 14 to September 2 at Shows on Maine Art Hill.

 

The gallery at the top of Chase Hill wraps its season up with an incredible finale of four artists, four names you know and love:   Kathy Ostrander Roberts, a woman who makes a blowtorch look like a magic wand, William B. Hoyt, a man who paints with such incredible detail one needs to step closer to take it all in, local lovely Jill Matthews, who always brings her hometown of Kennebunkport to life with her sweeping brush strokes, and last, but certainly not least  Ellen Welsh Granter,  the grand dame of boats, buoys, and birds and who knows what else she is planning to surprise us with.  Opening September 4, Labor Day Weekend, and running to September 23, this show is a splendid way to end the summer.

By September 25, we are ready for a change in scenery, and our fall show opens at the main gallery on 14 Western Avenue. If anyone knows how to celebrate Maine with all of the leaf peepers, it is Liz Hoag. Her forests and trees wrap us in a different side of Maine, and she never fails to include a few coastal pieces for those who can’t live without them.

Phew.…

With all of that said, please keep us in mind while deciding which weeks to visit us here in Kennebunk. Of course, we would love to have you with us all summer, but we know that’s not possible for some of you. We do our best to keep you up to date on all the goings-on, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you stay connected. Please add your name to our email list for reminders if you don’t get them already. We keep your information private and will not inundate your inbox unless you ask us to. Also, follow us on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, and of course, keep an eye on our Calendar on our website.

The Gallery at 14 Western Ave and Studios at 5 Chase Hill Road are open all year round with limited winter hours. Check the website for details.

Stories and Insights from each of these artists can be found on our blog.

Click the links below to read more.

R. Scott Baltz ~ Claire Bigbee ~ Charles Bluett ~ Karen Bruson 

Margaret Gerding ~ Ellen Welch Granter ~ Liz Hoag

William B. Hoyt ~ Ryan Kohler ~ Erika Manning ~ Jill Matthews 

Craig Mooney ~ Kathy Ostrander Roberts ~ Janis H. Sanders

Bethany Harper Williams ~ David Witbeck 

 

2021 Show Schedule with Links to Artist Pages

Janis Sanders at The Gallery from May 8 to 27

Choice Show from May 29 to June 10

R. Scott Baltz, Charles Bluett, and Erika Manning at Maine Art Shows from June 12 to July 1

Ryan Kohler, Claire Bigbee, and Karen Bruson at Maine Art Shows from July 3 to July 22

Bethany Harper Williams and David Witbeck at Maine Art Shows from July 24 to Aug. 12

Craig Mooney and Margaret Gerding at Maine Art Gallery from Aug. 14 to Sept. 2

Kathy O. Roberts, William B. Hoyt, Jill Matthews, and Ellen W. Granter from Sept. 4 to 23

Liz Hoag at The Gallery from September 25 to October 7

 

White House Blue Roof – Bethany Harper Williams Fall Favorite on Maine Art Hill

Bethany Harper Williams | White House Blue Roof | Oil on Canvas | 38″ X 48″ | $3900
“Part of the new series I’ve been exploring, Near and Far,  is where I crop off something large and usually graphic in the foreground, then have some detail that pulls the eye to the background,” explains artist Bethany Harper Williams. “I love the contrast of the bold, architectural, graphic, simplistic feel of the house with the serene, calm feel of the water and the activity of the kids on the beach.”
Harper knows this house is simplistic yet still representative of many beach houses, especially here in Maine.
“The shadows on the building add to the sense of light of the sunny day. It feels like you are right there on the beach,” shares Williams. “The monochromatic feel of the color palette creates a calmness, but the viewer is drawn into the kids’ playfulness and their colorful bathing suits.”
As with Bethany’s works, one can almost hear the laughter as the waves roll on the beach!
To see all available work from Bethany Harper Williams, click the link below.
To read more insights from Bethany Harper Williams, click the link below.

Prelude Pop Up with Cartoonist Ron Campbell

Cartoonist RON CAMPBELL

BEATLES YELLOW SUBMARINE ANIMATOR

 BEATLES SATURDAY MORNING TV CARTOON SERIES DIRECTOR

EXHIBITING & TALKING CARTOONS

 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13

The legendary animator will be exhibiting Beatles cartoon pop artwork as well as other beloved cartoon characters that encompass his 50-year career in Children’s Television, such as Scooby-Doo, the Smurfs, Rugrats, Winnie the Pooh, Flintstones, Jetsons, Yogi Bear & more.

ALL WORKS ARE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE.

In 1964 the Beatles invaded the United States, performing for 73 million people on the Ed Sullivan Show and dominating the US pop charts for years. Now over five decades later, the Fab Four continues to be the most celebrated musical group in Rock history.

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine, will make a rare personal appearance at Studios on Maine Art Hill, 5 Chase Hill Rd, Kennebunk, ME, Friday, December 11th – Sunday, December 13th. Campbell will showcase his original Beatles cartoon paintings created since his retirement from his 50-year career in cartoons. The exhibit will also feature

Paintings from other cartoons that Campbell was involved with throughout the Golden Age of Saturday Morning Television, including Scooby-Doo, Rugrats, Smurfs, Flintstones, Jetsons, and more. The exhibit is free, and all works are available for purchase. As a special bonus, Campbell will also paint original remarques on-site featuring any one of his cartoon characters for customers who purchase any of his artwork.

Ron Campbell will be offering for sale original cartoon paintings of the Beatles both in their Saturday Morning Cartoon and Yellow Submarine roles and various other works from his 50-year career in animation, including Scooby-Doo, Smurfs, Rugrats, and more.

Friday, December 11th – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday, December 12th – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 13th – 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

The Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series received monstrous ratings in its time slot….a 67 shares! The cartoon series debuted on ABC on September 25th, 1965. It continually fueled new music to America’s young kids as they followed the bouncing drumstick to each Beatles tune. Campbell also wrote the forward to the definitive book on the Beatles cartoon series “Beatletoons.”

2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles classic animated film, Yellow Submarine. Since its release, Yellow Submarine has become a permanent fixture in pop culture, defining the psychedelic 60s for generations to come. In his book, Up Periscope, Yellow Submarine Producer Al Brodax gives Ron Campbell a great deal of credit for saving the movie and tying it all together at the last minute.

Campbell has also been involved with some of the most beloved cartoons including, Scooby-Doo, Winnie The Pooh, Krazy Kat, George of the Jungle, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, the Smurfs, Goof Troop, Sesame Street, Captain Caveman, Rugrats, Ed, Edd n’Eddy, Yogi Bear and dozens more. Campbell’s former studio was awarded a Peabody and an Emmy for his work in children’s television. Since retiring after a 50-year career, he has been painting subjects always based on the animated cartoons he has helped bring to the screen. With an emphasis on The Beatles, he shows his Cartoon Pop Art in galleries worldwide. More information on Ron Campbell can be found at www.BeatlesCartoonArtShow.com.

See more at www.BeatlesCartoonArtShow.com.

To read the full press release cick the link below

Beatles Cartoon Art Show Kennebunk 2020 (1)

The Ron Campbell exhibition is open to the public. Masks and social distancing are required.

Lower Village Fisherman – Rick Hamilton’s Fall Favorite on Maine Art Hill

Rick Hamilton | Lower Village Fishermen | Acrylic on Canvas | 30″ X 15″ | $750

“My Fall favorite is Lower Village Fisherman,” shares artist Rick Hamilton. “This piece was fun for me as it was a slight departure from my usual style. I see it as very loose, and it was interesting not to paint the faces in.”

As a side note, Hamilton often paints over older paintings. He did so in this case, then realized he had replaced one favorite place with another.

“There is an older piece underneath this one. It was of Greece, another favorite place of mine,” explains Hamilton.”This new piece, however, definitely says ‘Maine’, but it’s fun to know Greece is underneath.”

 

To see all available work from Rick Hamilton, click the link below.
To read more insights from Rick Hamilton, click the link below.