Happy New Year with Henry Isaacs

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Reflection is inevitable and often fun.  Yet in this day of social media and digital storytelling, remembering becomes visual as much as mental. Our past is captured in our minds and memories, but also on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  For those of us that have a bit of trouble remembering what we had for breakfast, this is wonderful perk when reflecting on all moments of 2015. Thank you to all.

However, as interesting as it is to look back at what the past year was, we are much more excited to look ahead to what 2016 has in store. New artists, new shows and a new season. As we check in with all of our Maine Art family, we realize we are not the only ones looking forward to a new and exciting year. Henry Isaacs, one of our artists, is embracing the new year as well.

“This winter, I will celebrate a new studio in Portland,” shared Isaacs in a recent talk about his work. “This will bring new images from walks around the peninsula, South Portland, Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth and beyond.”  A change in scenery can always breathe new life into an artist. Henry has a wonderful and interesting perspective about his new place. “I’ve lived in remote areas for so long that the ‘big city’ sits out there fun and fascinating.”

His winter’s work will include glimpses of landscape vistas and rural scenery, but will also incorporate figures within the glimpses of beaches and parks. “I remain a fan of the great Hudson River School painters,” he says, “yet they painted a world devoid of humans; a garden of eden that didn’t exist then or today.” Henry is ready to incorporate the people that love and live here into the places he so beautifully captures.

Henry was kind enough to share a few paintings from a project in California, but as for the new works from Maine, he tells us to ‘stay tuned.’ New and exciting is always full of emotion. For us, the anticipation of Henry’s new work is one of the many things we are looking forward to in the new year. So, in the wise, wise words of Henry Isaacs, “We will see.”

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Sail Away with Sandra Dunn

The coast of Maine is dotted with vessels of every sort.  Sailboats, lobster boats, fishing boats, yachts and the occasional cruise ship. People come from all over to visit Boothbay Harbor for Windjammer Days or plan trips to Portland to see the Tall Ships.  Of course our own Kennebunk Harbor boasts a variety of trips and an array of boats for visitors and locals to have a chance to be out on the open ocean. When in town try The Pineapple Ketch or The Schooner Eleanor for starters. Also, the Kennebunk Chamber of Commerce is very helpful.

Now some of us love the feel of the sea air, some of us the love the feel of the ocean spray and some of us love the feel of solid ground under our feet as we stand on shore and watch from a distance. Regardless, the beauty of the ships of Maine is alluring. One of our artists, Sandra Leinonen Dunn, is in the latter category.  However, she has recently produced a collection of tall ship pieces which are wonderful part of our Holiday Show.

“I’m not sure ‘from whence’  this series  comes since I don’t even like boats!” says Sandra when asked about this group of work.  “My husband, who is a photographer, recently spent four days on a schooner and came home with some lovely photographs.  I asked him to print me out some images to use as photo references.”  With opportunity being the mother of invention, the small vertical canvases she already had in her studio seemed an ideal format for a tall ship painting.  “I kept the palette and background simple. This seemed to create a very peaceful feeling to the paintings,” says Dunn.

The series kept growing, upward of a dozen to date.  With this came the need to investigate the the structure of old sailing vessels. Bilges and booms, masts and main sails, she immersed herself in this world. “These ship paintings feel like a fantasy,” says Dunn. “I think psychologically the ships somehow encapsulate the feeling I have at times of wanting to just ‘sail’ out of my life!”

In the works, Emerald Sea and Misty Harbor, it is easy to see what Sandra L. Dunn means when she talks about escaping.  Fantasy, history and folklore are easily intertwined and allow us to sail away right along with her.  In this years Holiday Show, Sandra has offered four pieces from this series.  All are oil on canvas and only twelve inches by four.  Individually they are stunning; as a collection they are captivating.

If you haven’t had a chance to come in to see the Holiday Show in person, we encourage you to add Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture to your “to-do” list.  The show will be open until the end of December.  If you can’t find time to visit, please check out our website to see the complete Holiday Show. The entire gallery is available to view at www.maine-art.com, along with our Holiday hours.

Happy Holidays!

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Jill Valliere; A Day in My Life

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“Whenever I am having dinner with someone new, I pose to them this question; ‘Tell me about a day, from the moment you woke up, until the moment you went to bed.’  It’s a wonderful way to learn about a person on a more personal level,” says Jill Valliere. With that said, the tables have been turned and Maine Art is giving you a unique opportunity to learn about Jill on a more personal level.

My internal clock wakes me most days… early, between 4:30 and 5:00 A.M.  Water for my tea is first and foremost. Then I find my perfect spot and watch the sunrise. I sit and sip and wait. My husband is still sleeping, I am patient.  Soon he joins me, and we listen to the news, make breakfast, and finish our tea and coffee. We don’t sit still long, or more so we are not allowed to sit long. Our two Great Danes are ready. The outdoors is calling. We live in Rockland, Maine and are blessed with the property that surrounds our home. A long walk down the trail to the bog makes not only the dogs happy, but Marcel and me, as well.  This is our time.

Once we are back from our walk, we part ways and our days begin.  I try to wrap up any office work before heading downstairs to my studio.  An artist’s work is not all paint and inspiration.  By 9:00, we (the dogs always join me) are settled. The air hums with music or sometimes an audiobook that has caught my interest. Cracking open my jars of various paints, gels and varnishes,  I begin to work.  In my small studio space, I dance about and around the sleeping giants. Oblivious, they spread their 150 lb. bodies across the floor and force me to work around them.  I affectionately call this dance my “core” workout.  The dogs spend most of their time with me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Even without the dogs, most days in the studio I am surrounded by mayhem.  Paint cans open and dripping, mixing containers piled all over, and me, covered in every color mixed that day. To the outsider it may look like chaos, but it is truly how I am most comfortable, most productive.  I can’t be troubled to take the time to put things away,  organize paint colors,  or wash every brush after each use. No, I am here to paint.

I spend a week or two layering acrylic glazes and varnishing in between the layers.  The painting can look a bit strange until… the “power sander treatment.”  This is one of my favorite studio moments. When my painting is ready, I use the power sander to break through the layers of color. It is so exciting to see what emerges.  

Midday, my youngest dog, Jaxson, reminds me it’s time for a break. There is a gentle, but continuous, tapping on my fanny with his nose until I put the brushes down and take him outside.  He has a sixth sense when it comes to taking care of me. He knows when I need to take a break and step away from the work. I always come back to the studio refreshed and with a renewed energy for the piece I am working on.  

The day passes too quickly, and it is often hard to know when to wash the brushes and wrap up for the day.  I am intensely focused, and it’s hard to stop. Most days it’s my husband’s headlights coming up the driveway that breaks my trance and reminds me it’s time to finish up.  

It can be a real challenge to have my studio in my home. Sitting with a glass of wine, I switch gears from studio time to home life and welcome Marcel back into my world. Our evenings are filled with all of the usual day’s end activities.  We chat about our day, cook dinner, and often get ready for a ridiculously early bedtime. Darn that early internal alarm clock.  Most nights I fall asleep quickly with a smile on my face. I am a very lucky person to end most of my days feeling happy, fulfilled and excited to start it all over.  

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A big thank you to Jill for sharing this intimate look into her life both in and out of her studio.  We are incredibly lucky here at Maine Art to be small enough to still to connect with our artists on such a personal level. In turn, we love the fact that we are able and they are willing to share this with you. 

Jill has several pieces in the Holiday Show including, Seasons End at Somes Sound and Catching the Drift. If you are in the Kennebunks in December please stop in and visit.  We also have a wonderful collection of Jill’s work upstairs at Maine Art or, as always, you can visit Jill’s Artist Page on our website.

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Reverence of Ordinary Things – Alex Dunwoodie

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Through the eyes of a child, everything on the beach is a treasure.  Polished rocks and sea glass, common mussel shells and sand dollars, even a broken fishing lure or a smooth piece of driftwood.  The wonder and beauty is real and present as each tumbles from sand covered fingers into pails labeled  “Do Not Throw Away! Ever!”

And then we grow up…

Yet for those that truly love the ocean – those that always have sand in their shoes, that never take the beach chair out of the trunk – they are still collecting treasures. They line window sills and coffee tables, fill glass jars and bowls and continue to be the holders of seaside beauty and memories. Alex Dunwoodie is one of these people.

“Beauty is to be found in the small things, the cast-offs, the ‘ordinary,’ and we pick these things up — the bone-colored shells on the beach that stand out against the rocks,” says Dunwoodie. “We put them in our pockets and find a place for them on our shelves and in our lives. They take on a new significance in our domestic spaces, and a life of their own. Some even become talismans; more than just decorations, but objects we pick up now and again to appreciate a special quality about them.”

Alex continues to see the ordinary with the awe and wonder of a child. Not only does she keep these treasures for herself, she shares them with us through her work.  “For years I’ve been doing small works of my favorite subjects – fishing lures and shells – but presently I’m devoting a series specifically to the small shells and tiny bric-a-brac that has accumulated in my space over the years.” Dunwoodie had a bit of a revelation as to why she loves these things so much and continues to be devoted to them. “By painting these seemingly insignificant objects in the language of realism, and giving them the great deal of time and intense study that the process requires, I’m honoring them,” Alex shares. “I am showing them my respect and gratitude. Recording them in oils allows me to scrutinize, memorize and consider these objects I love.” In her work, their colors, textures, forms, stories and histories appear.  “I elevate them; sometimes giving them a hint of life, or a new life, within the space of the frame.”

The series is called “Reverence of Ordinary Things.” They are smaller than her typical, already small works. “I’ve just started some that are 4 x 4”,” says Alex. Two pieces from Alex’s “Reverence of Ordinary Things” are part of our present Holiday Show at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, which will run until the end of December. If you are in the Kennebunks for the holidays, please stop in and check our own wonderful collection of Alex Dunwoodie’s work. You can also see more of Dunwoodie’s work on her Artist Page.

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Photographs and Memories – David Witbeck and Fishwife

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a painting is worth a million. Why? It has freedom. It doesn’t have to be exact.  It is better – above what can be captured on film. David Witbeck was a freelance photographer for almost thirty years, so it is not a surprise that he is sometimes asked if he works from photographs. “I don’t,” says Witbeck. “It’s a joy to be freed from the bonds of the objective reality and just make stuff up.” However, as we all can attest to, rules are made to be broken. “Every once in a while though” he admits, “a photograph will trigger an idea.”

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“Several months ago my wife and I were looking through piles of old snapshots and came across a picture of us, circa 1988,” shares David. In the background of the photo a beautiful 17’ Swampscott Dory can be seen. It was built by the Landing School in Kennebunk. “We used to rent a house in Tenant’s Harbor for the month of August. We rowed almost every day, regardless of the weather. We had many wonderful times with that little boat.”

David thought it would be fun to somehow use the photo in his art and started a painting. “It became too much of a copy of the photograph, so I abandoned it. It still sits unfinished, face against my studio wall.” Luckily for us, the photograph continued to poke at his imagination. “I kept looking at the photo. I knew there was something that eventually would come from it.”  One morning, months later, he walked into his studio, picked up a piece of charcoal and in an hour or so had a drawing that resulted in one of his most recent woodblock prints, “Fishwife”.

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Presently, this woodblock print hangs in the Holiday Show at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture. We welcome you to come to the gallery on 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk to get a first had peek at this print, as well as the rest of the Holiday Show.  We are open from 10 – 5 everyday.  The show will run until December 31st. Remember, you can also see the show on-line at www.maine-art.com.

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Just a Little Something for the Holidays

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The holiday season is in full swing in the Kennebunks. The streets and businesses are all decked out for the season.  The lights are twinkling, the frost is forming, and the shopping has begun.  Even though Christmas Prelude doesn’t officially begin until December 2nd, and the tree lighting won’t happen until Friday the 4th at 5:30, we here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture will be ready and waiting for all of you early birds.

Our Holiday Show opens Saturday, November 28th and closes at 1 p.m. on December 31 at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture on 14 Western Ave, Kennebunk, Maine. We will have the entire first floor of the gallery dedicated to works that are 20” by 20” or smaller.  Each makes the perfect holiday gift or wonderful addition to your home as you celebrate this season. We have nearly twenty artists participating, many of which created new works for this show specifically.

Our Artist Reception will take place on Friday, December 11th during the Village Art Walk from 5 – 7 p.m.  As of right now, we know we will be joined by Henry Isaacs, Philip Frey, Janis H. Sanders, Karen McManus, Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald, Susan Wahlrab and Liz Hoag. This is a lovely opportunity to chat with these talented artists about their work. Of course our amazing in-house caterer, Donna Speirs, will be preparing some yummy treats to share. We will also have hot cocoa, wine and beer available for any and all that stop in.

For those of you that are in town, please take the time to wander over and take a peek at this collection.  However, if you can’t make it in before the holidays and the show comes to a close, not to worry. The on-line show, which will be live this Friday afternoon, will feature a selection of works from the show.

Participating Artists Include:

Daniel J. Corey ~ Alex Dunwoodie ~ Sandra L. Dunn ~  Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald ~ Philip Frey ~ Ellen Welch Granter ~ Liz Hoag ~ William B. Hoyt ~ Abby Huntoon ~ Henry Isaacs ~ Karen McManus ~ Craig Mooney ~ Trip Park ~ Barbara Jones Peabody ~ Monique Sakellarios ~ Janis H. Sanders ~ Jill Valliere ~ Susan Wahlrab ~ Abbie Williams

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Barn Talk with Janis H. Sanders

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“Barns and old houses are wonderful and wondrous places; places where people have worked and played and lived and created. They have their own simple functional beauty. They are artifacts left in their own footsteps… footprints walked away from,” says Janis H. Sanders during a recent discussion about one of his favorite inspirations. “The echoes are still in the air if you listen just right.”

Maine is full of these old places, and they seem to find their way into this artist’s path frequently. Yet, it is not just the physical that inspires Sanders. It is the history, the story of what was. “The late day light casts a melancholy and mysterious greeting across time that has long gone by, leaving us to wonder what and who and why. These mysteries will never be answered,” says Sanders. However, he can and does archive these everyday events, people and places in paint, knowing they were once important to someone.

“I saw a place just a couple of months ago near the edge of a woods outside Bar Harbor, Maine. It was a house left. The small front porch was falling off. I hesitated, reconsidered, and decided better not to tread. The posts and floorboards were rotted and loose. I merely peeked through the dusty windows instead.” Even without going in, the image stayed with Janis.  Maybe not appearing as a whole in one of his works, but just part.

Then there are times when a small piece or photograph of a place is needed as a physical reminder, a memento. Sanders tells of one where this was especially necessary. “It was an abandoned residence. The barn had collapsed onto itself, but it felt like a place where a person could settle and live and find a hospitable corner for themselves in this world. The place felt good, without strife. I wrenched one beautiful, silvered barn board with lots of lines and character, from the heap of boards and timber. I was careful to avoid the rusted ancient square-head nails. I wanted to have a connection to the place and its past, so I took it home.”

It is always amazing what is left behind. Things that are important to us as we look now, perhaps were not to the generation that left them behind. “Years ago, near Jamesville, New York, I came across a place,” tells Sanders. “Pushing down on the tongue of the ornate, old door latch, I opened the creaking door and entered carefully and cautiously. I was nearly tip-toeing in. It was late afternoon and sunlight streamed across a fully set, yet abandoned, simple, aged, dusty, dark stained wood kitchen table. The simple white plates and silverware shone in the light. The scene gave me the feeling that the inhabitants could return and startle me into an apologetic stammer at any moment. I was intruding into what still was their abandoned world.”  When this feeling comes, Janis honors it. “I work fast and take some reference pictures and mental notes and move on. I wonder about them and what was, and why, and about myself.” This respect he shows to the people and history of these old structures says much about Janis’s own character. It is what creates his moral obligation to pass on this beauty to others through his work.

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We welcome you to come and see this love first-hand with our collection from Janis H. Sanders.  We are open all winter at our 14 Western Ave. location in Kennebunk. However, if you are not in the area, please visit his Artist’s Page on our website.

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Social Media Buzz and Lyman Whitaker Sculptures

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It’s contest season at Maine Art, including our 2015 Wind Sculpture Photo Contest and The Ultimate Kennebunkport Wedding Gift Giveaway.  Both contests give the option to win a Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculpture, and a little bit more.

Our 2015 Wind Sculpture Photo Contest is now open to Maine Art’s customers who already own a Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculpture, but would love to add a Spring to their garden or patio. Each year, we create a beautiful calendar with images that you, the customer, have submitted. The rules and regulations are on our Facebook page, as well as listed in the images below. Valid submissions can be sent to [email protected] now through November 9th. On November 13th, we will post the 12 finalists on our Facebook page, and these finalists will be featured in our 2016 calendar.  After that…VOTE with Likes! The photographer who receives the most Likes will be adding Lyman Whitaker’s Spring to their lawn or flower beds.

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This week also began our Ultimate Kennebunkport Wedding Gift Giveaway. You must visit our Facebook page and/or our Instagram feed in order to participate, but the rest is easy and fun. In addition to Maine Art, there are six other Kennebunkport area vendors participating: One Dock Prime, Maine Coastal Kayak, Becoming Jewelry, The Nonantum Resort, Cottage Breeze Day Spa, and A. Fogarty Photography, and each has included one stellar gift in the Giveaway – it truly is the “ultimate” wedding gift! All the rules are on the vendors’ social media sites. The winner will be drawn on November 8th.

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With all of that said, how can you not visit both our Facebook page and our Instagram feed and see what is going on with Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture?  Don’t forget our Twitter feed and our Pinterest page – they both have information and images that are worth a visit.  As you can see, we are doing our best to keep you up-to-date with what is going on here at Maine Art. Click, Like, Share, and Re-Post and tell us how much you love the artists of Maine Art.

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/maineartgallery

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

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

Good Things to Come

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As the leaves swirl to the ground, covering the lawns and streets of the Kennebunks, we are often asked two questions; “Do you stay open year round?” and, “Is it really slow?” Without fail, the answer is the same. “Yes we stay open, and no, it isn’t slow.” Even though the streets are not filled with summertime tourists, many people enjoy the quieter side of the Kennebunks in the fall, winter and spring. For us, there is always something to be planned, scheduled, marketed, revamped and rearranged, which keeps our year-round staff continually busy.

With this said, we thought we would take a minute to bring everyone up to speed on all the amazingness coming up here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016.

Now through November 25th – Tangle, a Liz Hoag show, will be on the first floor of the gallery at 14 Western Ave.  This is an incredible and vibrant show with a theme like no other.  If you haven’t stopped by or checked it out on-line, we encourage you to do so.

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November 13th to December 3rd, you need to visit our Facebook Page and vote for your favorite Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculpture picture.  This is a great way to see the sculptures in their natural habitat. The picture with the most votes wins a Spring Wind Sculpture. The winner will be announced on December 4th.

Starting November 27th and running through the rest of the year will be the Maine Art Holiday Show.  Again, this will be on the first floor of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, and is a perfect place to do a little holiday shopping.  Kennebunkport’s famous Christmas Prelude will be in full swing during most of this show.  Be sure to check out the fabulous events and goings-on around town during this time, including the Village Art Walk on December 11th.

February, yes the whole month of February, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport will Paint the Town Red.  Come to the coast and celebrate the month that is known to be for lovers.  There are specials and events all over the community. This is a don’t-miss month.

May 28th to June 16th, Maine Art will be celebrating new and wonderful works by David Witbeck.  Many of you know and love his larger-than-life fishermen and lobstermen, but there is always so much more to see in a Witbeck show.  This event will be on the first floor of the gallery on Western Ave. Be watching for the date and time of the Artist Reception for a chance to come and chat with David himself.

2016 Maine Art Shows Schedule.

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Yes, our show schedule is ready.  We know many of you love this time of year and are already planning your annual spring and summer visits to the Kennebunks.  Be watching for the on-line show catalog announcements.  If you are not on our email list, please contact the gallery and we will make sure to keep you in the loop.

The Choice Art Show – June 11th to June 30th (opening during the Kennebunkport Festival)

Holly Ready – July 2nd to the 21st

Rebecca Kinkead – July 23rd to  August 11th

William B. Hoyt – August 13 to September 5th

Henry Isaacs – September 24 – October 22nd

Holy Moly.  See why we are open year round?  Our staff here at Maine Art works very hard to help keep the Kennebunks full of quality art and artists. Our shows are always top notch. We consider ourselves lucky to be part of such an amazing community that supports all we do… all year long.

You can always visit Maine Art on-line, but we look forward to seeing you in the gallery soon!

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The Birches – Liz Hoag

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Liz Hoag’s show, Tangle, opened last Saturday at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture. The gallery was filled with jovial banter and familial intimacy. Liz discussed the finer points of her technique and her inspiration. Each piece in this show brings the outside in by way of branches and sky. Locals and tourists alike have commented on what a presence this collection of work gives. To have an entire collection hung in this space is stunning.

Many variety of trees are represented in this collection. However, there are three distinct pieces that bring the birch tree to the forefront. These images are all available for view in the on-line show, and when seen on screen the question of paint vs. photograph immediately comes to mind. The answer… paint. These are paintings; images discovered in acrylic. These trees are captured in such exquisite detail it takes a moment to be sure. The black and white blur of bark, the multitude of greens playing in the leaves, and the lightest of blue in a perfect sky. It is all here. Up In the Birches 2, Birch Tangle, and Square Birch Tangle hone in on the wonder of the birch tree and bring it to life.

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It is here one can see those abstract ideas that Hoag loves to blend into her representational work. Whether it is your back yard, the local park, or last year’s vacation to Maine these pieces remind you of a place you have been before. Each would be a centerpiece for any room, and as a collection they would be incredible.

Tangle will be at Maine Art until November 25th. We welcome you to stop in at 14 Western Avenue. Autumn is a perfect time to visit the Kennebunks. If you can’t make it in, please have a virtual visit to Tangle, the on-line show. There are other pieces from Liz Hoag on the second floor of the gallery and on her Artist Page.

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