At a young age, artist Margaret Gerding came to southern Maine for the first time and found her happy place. Since then she has spent pieces of her summers here, from Granite Point to Goose Rocks Beach. Now, years later, those memories have brought her back to the Kennebunk area and her new home in Cape Porpoise. With this new location came many other changes, as well.
“I sold my house in Massachusetts in November and began looking for a place in the southern Maine area. I moved in with family, but knew I at least needed a studio space,” says Gerding. “The Biddeford Mill was perfect – all light and brickwork and close by. Soon after that, I leased a winter rental and finally began to feel settled. I was relaxed and could take my time looking for a place to call home.”
In January, Gerding found that home in Cape Porpoise. By February, she was moved in and happy to call herself a Mainer. “I used to come to Maine for vacation as a child. Even at that age, solitude was important to me. The marsh near the cottage was one of the few places I was allowed to explore alone. My parents thought I was safe there. Quickly, it became my escape,” says Gerding. “It still is.”
On the way to her studio Margaret often stops at the marshes near Goose Rocks Beach to sketch or take photos. With a four or five o’clock wake-up time, the morning light and peace has become addictive. These small “sketches” she creates have become part of her studio and her process.
“This winter, I would pull over and sit in my car and do studies. These became a reference for me, not even paintings really. They are what I go to to remember the colors, how they worked together, how they blended,” says Gerding.
“I may be having a problem with how pink I want a sky. Looking at the studies, I realize what worked, what I really saw. Sometimes they aren’t colors I would choose, but mother nature did, “ she says. “If I have a new color I want to try, I will put it on one of these to see what happens, so they are constantly changing.”
All of the scenery that surrounds Kennebunk and Kennebunkport is part of Gerding’s new works. She was drawn here for the way the fog rolls in and changes the landscape. She came for the green of the marsh and how it changes over to warm ochre in autumn. It has always been about nature and quiet and peace. With that said, there has been a new addition to her canvases since coming back to Maine.
“For the first time, I’ve included man-made structures in my work. Somehow, the paintings just ‘called’ for it,” says Gerding about her work with views of Great Hill Road. “The Kennebunk area has given me a wonderful sense of community and what it means to be a part of a seaside village. As my new world evolves with my changes, I believe my work will, as well. This is just the beginning.”
Maine Art is celebrating Margaret Gerding’s changes and new beginnings in our gallery at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. Her new work fills the first floor of the gallery. We are open every day from 10am – 6pm, and Friday and Saturday until 7pm.
Please stop in for a visit or view the show online at www.maine-art.com/shows.
You can also read more about Gerding and her work on our blog at A Look Inside Margaret Gerding and Maine Art.
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