Side Notes from Artist David Witbeck

David Witbeck has quickly become an iconic artist in regards to Maine Art Hill. When our visitors walk in the gallery for a second, tenth, or millionth time, they always remember and recognize Witbeck’s work.

For his 2019 Fall show, Witbeck shared tidbits, stories, and insights into a few of his pieces featured for this show. We want to share them with you.

Owls Head

“Owls Head is the inspiration for this piece. I spent time there one summer with Barbara, my wife. I certainly took some liberty in scale and added details. My favorite part of this is the tree. It probably has more detail than any other tree I have done. The intensity of having it in the foreground makes it more important. The sparkle in the water is again detail that brings the realism forward,” says Witbeck. “Many of my new landscape pieces are more atmospheric. With this, a bit of the whimsy is lost as it moves more toward realism. This collection started as a commission piece that was 48x 48. Once completed, I needed more.”

Some Breezy

“This is a title meant to be spoken with a serious Down East dialect. The motion in the waves is more detailed than I have done in the past. That motion creates a more intense background,” shares Witbeck. “Even though the boat is supposed to be the focal point, the surroundings sneak in and beg for notice.”

 

With Eyes We See

“In my 12 x 12 collection of fishermen and lobstermen, each had mouths, but there were no real facial features. When I moved to 20 x 20, I felt the details had to be more precise. I had to find a way to show emotion but still, remain a bit ambiguous,” explaine Witbeck. “This was hard work. Facial features are some of the most challenging details for me. ”

It’s a Girl! 

The lobster women are represented. Annie is such classic and the first of the Witbeck Women of Maine. She is a real Maine woman with a sparkle in her eye. Jo, Sam, and Kate could be sisters and represent the hard-working coastal female. Sal, however, maybe a favorite. She and Ben are indeed partners in this little lobster adventure.

David Witbeck’s new works will be featured at The Gallery on Maine Art Hill at 14 Western Ave until September 26. He shares this show with fellow artists Ellen Welch Granter, Richard Remsen, and David Riley Peterson. The Gallery is open every day at 10 am.

To see all available work from David Witbeck CLICK HERE

To see the virtual show CLICK HERE

Dog Days on Maine Art Hill with Artist Gloria Najecki

Featured Artist, Gloria Najecki is the guest artist for Pop-Up

Septemeber 7 through September 23

Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.

When I was a young girl, I brought my dog Muffin with me wherever I could, ran to her to soothe my emotional upsets, and confided in her all of my deepest secrets.  Never mind the cliché — she was my best friend.

 

To this day I remain in love with, and deeply connected to, dogs. Pooches, pups, mutts … call them what you will.  These creatures’ individual personalities, rich histories, and unquestioning devotion to their human companions, inspire and thrill me.

“Lucy”

As an artist, I am fascinated by the incredible variety of canine characteristics.  Their differences in head shapes, body sizes, eyes, noses, jowls, ears, paws (not to mention facial expressions, temperament, and propensity for drooling) continually tickle and intrigue me.

“Gracie”

I guess you could say I’ve been an artist pretty much from the time I could hold a pencil.  My full-time painting career, however, didn’t start until I shared my life with an incredible being named Trucker.  I do not have adequate space here to describe this brawny American Bulldog, but I submit the following:  strong and confident, all chiseled muscle and bone, my fearless protector and bodyguard, Colonel Bighead, dignified, gentlemanly, a man’s man among dogs.  Oh, to be fair, I will add incessant scrounge and avid chippie-chaser.  Trucker was always by my side, even at my very first solo art exhibit.  In 2007  my dear friend transitioned from this life leaving a permanent mark on my heart.

“Newman”

I currently share my life with an incredibly supportive partner named Jim.  When I am not in my studio, you will find me out and about in NH usually with a camera strapped around my neck looking for fascinating subjects to paint.

 

Video Insights from Glass Artist Richard Remsen

Glass Artist Richard Remsen shares a little insight into his work. 

Don’t forget to check out the fall show featuring Remson’s work, along with 3 other Maine Art Hill artists at the 14 Western Avenue gallery. Open every day at 10 am. Saturday, August 31 to September 26.

VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE SHOW

AVIALBLE WORK FROM RICHARD REMSEN

 

A sculptor, a glassblower and two painters walk into a gallery…

It has to be the beginning of a fantastic show at Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk. Celebrating the end of summer in style, The Gallery at Maine Art Hill opens a four artist show beginning Saturday, August 31. The show begins at 10 am with an Artist Reception that evening from 5 – 7 pm at the gallery on 14 Western Avenue.

Painters David Witbeck and Ellen Welch Granter join sculptor David Riley Peterson and glass artist Richard Remsen for this three-week-long coastal celebration. A multidimensional Maine mix of boats, water, and of course, lobster.

Glass artist Richard Remsen is featuring his stunning blown glass lobster claws. Remsen studied at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and received his BFA in Sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island.

“Icons, like the lobster, are straightforward. People recognize what they are immediately, and they draw on the history of their memories. It gives an added dimension to the work,” says Remsen. “Trying to figuring out how the different colors will blend is unlike painting. With glass, I work with opaque color and translucent color. They all blend to give different effects. It is intriguing.”

The iconic lobster appears again with the painter, David Witbeck. Witbeck celebrates these coastal creatures, along with lobstermen or women and their fabulous fishing vessels. Witbeck, also a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, morphed his job as a photographer into a successful career as an artist. Known for his creative angles and skewed perspectives, he captures Maine with color.

“When I was a photographer, I was limited by what is in front of a camera. Now, I can bend, twist, stretch, exaggerate, and simplify the things I see. I can even completely make things up,” says Witbeck.” I can paint how things make me feel instead of merely how they look. I’m most happy when my paintings evoke a smile.”

Sculptor David Riley Peterson is up for a smile or two as well. With a huge grin of his own, his love of what he creates in clay is evident and infectious. His past and present blend a love of boats with playing in the mud. Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Peterson was always reprimanded for playing in every mud puddle now he makes his living doing just that.

“I was clueless about clay until I went off to college. My dorm at the University of Florida was across the street from the ceramics department. I was always curious about the group of students who entered and left the building. They dressed in dirty jeans or tattered shorts with every body part covered in clay; so I investigated,” says Peterson. “What I discovered instantly changed my life, and I could hardly wait until the next semester to enroll in my first ceramics class; ‘Introduction to Clay.’ I was not disappointed.”

Lastly, the lovely Ellen Welch Granter rounds out this ruckus group with her tranquil and soothing renditions of Maine boats, buoys, and beauty. Her colors and shapes represent the softer side of coastal life.

“These works evoke a sense of peace and calmness. Whether they are in the fog, in the sun, or a busy harbor, their curvy lines and sense of possibility are always an invitation to paint,” says Granter. “These works evolve from my own experiences and are not about fine details, such as ship rigging, but rather, the geometry, symmetry, and harmony of the floating boats and buoys.”

This three-week-long show, begins Saturday, August 31 and runs through September 26 at The Gallery on Maine Art Hill at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. The public is welcome to enjoy the Artist Reception on Saturday evening, August 31, from 5-7 pm. FMI 207-967-2803 or maine-art.com. Galleries are open every day at 10 am.

Pop-Up Artist Christina Vincent

Featured Artist Christina Vincent is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning August 27 to September 2. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.

AUGUST 27 to SEPTEMBER 2

Designed and crafted beautifully to live beautifully. 

“My mission is to create innovative pieces coupled with artistic applications while highlighting the beauty of natural wood. I intend for each piece to be versatile; useful and lasting, while intriguing interest and engagement.  

Each piece is handmade in a small scale wood studio. I strive to use a palette of native hardwoods. Every piece of rough timber is hand selected for its unique qualities such as color, pattern, and texture. Embracing the unique characters and colors of each material is an integral part of the design.  

I draw my inspiration from the vast beauty of nature that surrounds me. This inspiration can be seen in the angles, tapers, and design details but also in the joinery, how each piece of wood meets to create form. These unique details make each piece truly original to enjoy for years to come.

For more info about Vincent and her work, follow this link to her website.

christinamvincent.com

Let us know if you’re coming to Christina Vincents’s show on Facebook!

Drawn to the Water – Insights from Artist Bethany Harper Williams

“I am drawn to the water. It is what inspires and energizes me. The colors, the sound, the smells, the calm and the movement – it overwhelms my senses and gives me energy,” says artist Bethany Harper Williams. “When I’m painting water, I get that same energy.”

Bethany loves what the Maine landscape has to offer, both the physical perspective as well as a visual perspective. The beautiful beaches and water provide an area to play and create beautiful memories while also inspiring to capture these memories and make them last forever.

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

The expanse of beach and water allows a play with texture, shape, and color while abstracting the elements. Then Williams uses the people or the boats to put it into context. She creates the unexpected, adding little circles or squares as a reminder that this is not a photo, but inspiration from a moment in time. “Sometimes when I’m painting I get too tight, trying to be too real and I have to step back and loosen up,” she says.

With the Beach Days series, Williams never knows where the people are going to be on the painting until she starts painting them. “I populate the canvas with these little gems of color following where my palette knife takes me,” she explains. “I intend to try and get the vitality and character of the people through very simple but deliberate brushstrokes. It is as if my hand dances across the canvas as I place each person, composing a rhythm of color.”

Bethany Harper Williams is part of a three artist show at Shows on Maine Art Hill. This gallyery is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. It runs through Labor Day. You can find Bethany Harper Williams’s work year round at Maine Art Hill at the main gallery.

To learn more about Williams and her work  CLICK HERE

To see her entire available collection at Maine Art Hill CLICK HERE

To see the virtual show in its entirety CLICK HERE

Pop-Up Artist Marcia Crumley

Featured Artist Marcia Crumley is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning August 20 to August 26. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.

AUGUST 20 to AUGUST 26

The colors, patterns, and textures of the natural world are the source and subject of my art. My primary focus is on landscapes, driven by my lifelong love of being outdoors, no matter what the season. I never tire of Maine’s fast-moving weather or of watching the clouds and light dance across the sky, water, mountains, and woods. I spend a lot of time outside, sometimes painting en plein air, sometimes just observing or taking reference photos. When I put paint to canvas, I always feel free to rearrange objects and intensify or modify their colors and shapes to best capture the essential feeling of a particular moment.

My contemporary landscapes capture the spirit and mood of a place through lush colors and rich textures. They aren’t meant to be accurate illustrations. When I paint a scene, I freely change the light, color, and physical layout to heighten the mood. In the end, it all boils down to my love of color, and of nature, and the pure joy I get from sharing these twin loves in paint, pastels, or inks.

 

Many artists say they knew they wanted to be an artist at the age of three and spent their childhoods obsessively drawing and painting. Not me. As a child, I was a cross between a tomboy and a geek and loved math and science more than anything else.

I stumbled upon painting an adult, and it quickly became an all-consuming passion. I immersed myself in studio art classes at some of the best art schools around, including the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Massachusetts College of Art. I entered juried national competitions and was accepted into several, which led me to more advanced study and exploration of new mediums.

  

In addition to national juried shows, my work has now been exhibited in group exhibitions in Boston landmarks including City Hall, International Place, the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and the Prudential Center. Solo exhibitions include Imagination and Memory at the Landau Gallery in Belmont, MA; Sacred Spaces at the Acton, MA, Public Library; and Expressive Landscapes at the Harris A. Berman Diversity Gallery at Tufts Health Plan in Watertown, MA. I was named one of five “standout artist to keep an eye on” in Maine Home + Design’s September 2017 issue, was a featured artist in artmaine’s 2017 annual guide, and was named one of Maine’s most collectible artists in artmaine’s 2019 annual guide. My art is in homes across the U.S and Canada, as well as in Europe, Australia, and Saudi Arabia, and is also in several corporate art collections, including Boston Children’s Hospital, East Boston Community Health Center, and American Tower Corporation.

If you live in the Boston area and would like to see my work in person, my SoWa study is open from 5-9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. I’m also open by appointment. Please stop by 450 Harrison Ave, studio 225, to say hello!

A large selection of my paintings is also on view in the Boston, MA, Natick, MA, and Concord, NH showrooms of Pompanoosuc Mills furniture. With New England roots, a focus on custom, handcrafted fine furniture, and a commitment to green manufacturing, Pompy is a perfect place to show my work. Stop by to see my paintings in their showrooms at 419 Boylston Street in Boston, Route 9 in Natick, and 100 N Main Street in Concord, NH.

For more info about Crumley and her work, follow this link to her website.

marciacrumleyart.com

Let us know if you’re coming to Marcia Crumley’s show on Facebook!

By Land, Sea, and Sky a New Collection by Artist Claire Bigbee

Pictures are spiritual beings. The soul of the painter lives within them ~ Emil Nolde

“My show is about the sky, land, and water. It is an exploration of using color and canvas to create an expression of three of the four elements. These same elements influence so much of what we see and feel around us every day,” shares Claire Bigbee about her 2019 collection at Shows at Maine Art Hill.

Silverlining is the sailboat that charts out of Perkins Cove in Ogunquit. Bigbee is friends with Capitan, Jack Gordon and his wife, Marie Christine. It is the vessels 80th birthday, and this was an excellent reason to use her for these paintings. Over the years Bigbee has sailed with them many times. From just a friendly gathering to a wedding, this vessel always provides a memorable and enjoyable experience.

“My methodology in this body of work is about expressing my feelings while sailing on the Silverlining. Through the Push and Pull Theory and using color, I create ‘pulsating, luminous, and open surfaces that emanate a mystic light,'” shares Bigbee. “I studied the concept of Push and Pull or Plasticity of Color in Painting at a few workshops. I have also studied The Hans Hoffman Approach with Robert Henry and Selina Tariff at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.”

Hoffman was one of the most important figures of postwar American art and renowned as an influential teacher for generations of artists. He aimed to create pulsating, luminous, and open surfaces that emanate a mystic light, following his most profound insight into the experience of life and nature. Hoffman was Bigbee’s primary influence and inspiration for this show.

“Plasticity is not an easy concept to wrap your head around. Color can exist and define space by way of its hue and intensity. Its relationship to the colors around it,” explains Bigbee. “This new collection of my work is about brooding seascapes, simplified shapes, extreme distance, and using a brilliant palette.”

For Bigbee, inspiration is less about the view and more about the spiritual presence. Her goal is for the viewer to feel something other than just another landscape.

“My paintings become evocative like a haunting awareness of a presence within the view,” says Bigbee. “I strive for the feeling of aloneness we sometimes feel in life. Yet there is also peace when we sense that we are not alone; that is what nature gives back to me; it’s a dialogue.”

 

Claire Bigbee’s entire collection can be found on Maine Art Hill year-round. Her summer show is at Shows at the top of Chase  Hill Road. It will run through Labor Day.  All galleries are open every day at 10 am.

Encaustic Art – Insights from Artist Kathy Ostrander Roberts

In addition to being thrilled to be a part of Maine Art Hill’s August show, Kathy Ostrander Roberts is excited to be reviving an ancient art.


”Encaustic paint is created by combining beeswax, resin, and pigment with heat. This ancient medium has been around since the fifth century with a renaissance of followers in the last decade,” explains Ostrander Roberts. “It is unlike any art ever experienced. I encourage viewers to touch the surface. It has a texture that begs a touch.”

She also encourages viewers to get up close and see the surface of the wax. Whether the canvas is carved, polished, raised, or smooth, each is delightfully dimensional.

Maine Waters I by Kathy Ostrander Roberts Maine Waters II by Kathy Ostrander Roberts

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

The goal is to capture the essence of Maine’s coastal waters. Kathy wants those hope who see her work to think of bodies of water and how they ebb and flow. Whether it is an exploration of the waters of a dark river like in Acqua Oscura or the surf crashing to shore like in Breakers and Waves, there is something magical in the movement of wax and resin.

“There are sometimes as many as twenty layers of wax in each painting. I use pottery tools to carve into the surface to lend a 3-D effect,” explains Ostrander Roberts. “I also try to embed a vintage piece of ephemera, ship captain’s letters, photos, mica, bark, or whatever inspires me into most paintings.”

These works replicate the movement of Maine waters, an element to which Kathy is inexplicably drawn.

 

 

 

 

 

We welcome you to wander Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk, Maine. All of our galleries are open at 10 am seven days a week. Shows on Maine Art Hill is featuring the work of Kathy Ostrander Roberts as well as Bethany Harper Williams and Claire Bigbee through Labor Day weekend. 

If you can not make it to the show, please see it online by click here and taking the virtual tour.

To see all of Kathy Ostrander Roberts available works visit her Artist Page.
Kathy Ostrander – Artist Page

Pop-Up Artist Dina Gardner

Featured Artist Dina Gardner is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning August 13 to August 19. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.

AUGUST 13 to AUGUST 19

“Carpe Diem” 

“ I’ve always been fascinated by how artists, whether they are painters, musicians, writers or anyone who uses their gift of creativity,  work through their creative process. I’m fascinated that the process of creating art is different for every artist, regardless of their medium. 

My process for painting with pastels looks like this:  I start by turning on some music.  My musical tastes are wide and varied and they set the mood for my day at the easel.  There is a lot of singing that happens while I paint (somewhat on key but that is debatable) and dancing too (not bad for a white girl.)  Once the music is on, I then select a photograph I’ve taken and then create a thumbnail sketch.  It is usually a very simple sketch, just enough to capture three to five large shapes that I see in the photo.    I take a lot of creative license here, often adding or deleting objects in the photograph.  Then I re-draw my sketch on my ‘canvas’ which is a  gritty piece of pastel paper.  Next,  I lay down my first layers of color with both hard and soft pastels and then paint over these layers with a paintbrush dipped in alcohol.  And yes, vodka, gin or tequila do work in a pinch!  The alcohol sets the first layer in place and forms the ‘underpainting.’ Once this layer dries,  I lay down layer upon layer of color,  often letting the underpainting peek through. Once in a while, there are happy accidents.  Sometimes there are tragic outcomes. But all the time I am grateful that I found this creative outlet at this stage of my life.  

My paintings reflect the things that I am drawn: to oceans and water, skies,  forests, marshes, and meadows.  I’m also inspired by my travels and I love cities and architecture. When I paint, from a photo reference or even when I paint plein air, I’m not painting what the subject looks like but rather I am painting what my response is to the subject. 

  

For me, the most fascinating ‘accident’ of painting is that I now see the world in an entirely new light…literally.  I see light and shadows like I never did before and I see color very differently.  I’m constantly asking myself how it is that I’ve never really noticed the shadows cast by a tree at 2:00 pm versus the shadows at 10:00 am.  And who knew there were so many shades of green in a meadow or a forest?     Now when I look at objects in nature, I look at them through a very different lens than before I started painting.  I am constantly asking myself  ‘if I were to paint this or that, what color would I use for the underpainting?’ or ‘how would I go about painting that bright spot of light behind that cloud?’  This newfound perspective has helped me to see everything around me in a totally new light (cheesy pun but true) and I now have a much deeper appreciation for colors, light, shadow, the way the sky reflects on the water, color harmony….all of which I work to express in my paintings.   

   

For more info about Gardner and her work, follow this link to her website.

dinagardner.com