Liz Hoag – A New Maine Art Artist

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The family at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is growing.  Artist Liz Hoag has recently joined the gallery, and we are excited to introduce her.  Liz has been living in Maine for over twenty-five years. Presently, she resides in Portland, but her studio space is in Westbrook. Much of her work is focused, or sometimes unfocused, on the Maine outdoors.

The misty broken spaces in Hoag’s present collection at Maine Art has that “unfocused” appearance. It brings you to the edge of the woods and invites you in. It makes you question what lies beyond.  When viewing her work, you get a sense of a shift in the air. The first light of day, the slight haze before the snow flies, or the steam-filled moments after a cooling summer rain. It is difficult not to stand and wonder while taking in her landscapes.

“It seems I have always leaned toward realistic work, but I like abstract. It’s looser,” says Hoag when asked about her style. “I am trying to work more abstract ideas into my representational work.” She describes the work as “misty” when she discusses the pulling of light color over dark. “It is a limited palette, grayish. These pieces are more of a narrative,” Liz says.  “They tell of the place you are – the specific place.”

In her upcoming show, Tangle, Liz takes a closer look at these places. Much closer.  The landscapes disappear, and the branches fill the canvas. We are left looking directly into the trees. To say these new works are amazing is an understatement. We can’t give away the entire show, but here is a sneak peek.

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Tangle by Liz Hoag will run from October 24th to November 25th.  We will have an Artist Reception on Saturday, October 24th from 5-7 pm at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk.  Please stop by and chat with this interesting new artist at Maine Art. As always, you can visit the gallery to see Liz’s work, or visit her Artist Page on-line.

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Art Walking in the Rain

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Friday evening the streets of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport sparkled.  The street lights and warmer-than-normal temperatures off-set Mother Nature’s attempt at washing out October’s Village Art Walk.  Instead, we walked in the rain, celebrated a beautiful autumn, and enjoyed the company of artist, Craig Mooney.

This quiet time with Craig allowed many to get to know the artist just a bit better. Stories of travel and family, and of course art, filled the first floor of the gallery.  Almost every visitor, after walking around, had the same question, “Where is the setting of this piece?”  They would point to the rocks overlooking the ocean in Summit Light, or the girl leaning against the banister in Coastline Remembered. Craig’s answer always varied a little, but the idea was the same.  “It is a place only I have been. It is the the epitome of New England’s perfection. It is a piece and a part of each beach, mountain, or ocean I have visited. It is where I was at peace. It is wherever makes you happy.”  All of Craig’s work in From a Distance contains this peaceful, picture perfect setting. Growing up in Manhattan, surrounded by the noise and craze of the city, Mooney began creating his own bit of tranquility with paint and canvas.  “I needed quiet, so I made my own,” says Mooney. For those of us that seek out Maine and her coastline, this is a concept that is very easy to understand.

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Upstairs was just as busy as down. The patter of rain against the windows that surround the upper level of the gallery fashioned an ideal visit.  Glass of wine in-hand and background stories provided by the staff made the tour of Maine Art personal and warm. A few pieces found new homes and braved the sprinkles wrapped in plastic and paper clutched by happy customers. All in all, it was a perfect evening.

As always, the food was incredible and the wine was stellar. Thank you, Donna and Down East Wine Imports.  All who dropped in left with a smile. Columbus Day weekend brought many first time visitors to the gallery, Kentucky, Georgia, California. Then, of course, many of our favorite local customers came by to say hello. Thank you to all.

The next and final Village Art Walk of the season will be December 11th, as Prelude once again turns Kennebunk and Kennebunkport into a winter wonderland of the classic New England Christmas. Mark it on your calendar and come join us.

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Craig Mooney’s show, From A Distance runs until October 23rd.

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Sunsets in the Marsh

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Over the last couple weeks, the first floor at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture has been immersed in Craig Mooney’s Show, “From A Distance.” These paintings encompass the theme of distance, both physically and mentally, as they encourage the artist and the viewer to use both space and time to reflect on the beauty of the ocean and its shoreline.

Standing in the middle of the gallery, it is difficult to not let your eye wander from one painting to the next. There is a flow and a peace that connects each painting into a single moment and allows the viewer to float uninterrupted. That is, until your eye reaches Evening Sky.

The burst of orange light that flows over the marsh reflects in both water and sky.  The contrast of the deep green grasses and the glow of the last rays of sun is startling, but the process to take it in is completely subconscious.  It demands a step backward, a slight tilt of the head, and begs for the smallest squint in an attempt to see more clearly: as if looking into something luminous.  You must instinctively pull back in order to be pulled back in. Brush strokes of gold and grey and a faint remnant of sky blue cover the canvas, but it’s the orange. Burnt and bright. Deep and daring. “It’s all about the light and shadow, the contrast. It sets the mood, and the orange is really a combination of warm hues that draw the viewer in,” says Mooney when asked about this piece.

The companion to Evening Sky is Quiet Haze.  It has those same orange tones, but this time they are settled down and snuggled into the land.  They have seeped into the waters and clouds and appear as mere remnants of what once was.  As Evening Sky sings, Quiet Haze whispers.

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Mooney’s show, “From A Distance,” is at Maine Art in Kennebunk until October 23rd.  We welcome you to see it for yourself.  We will be open until eight o’clock Friday, October 9th for the Village Art Walk, and Craig will be here to help us celebrate. Come in to chat and enjoy.

As always, you can see the show in its entirety at “From A Distance,” or visit Craig’s Artist Page on the gallery’s website.

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When It Was Summer

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Over the last week or so, Southern Maine has started to change.  The temperatures are dropping to normal autumnal numbers, leaves of red, orange and yellow decorate the trees and the beach goers dress in cuffed jeans and sweaters instead of bikinis and flip-flops.  Fall has finally come to the Maine coast.

As much as we all celebrate this change of season, it is hard not to miss the summer. Days spent in bright sunshine, warm sand and crashing waves fill our minds. Craig Mooney knows this all too well. He spent his summer with his wife and two-year-old daughter getting reacquainted with the seagulls and seaweed. It was a summer he is not all that eager to forget.  And so, in the midst of his show “From A Distance,” you will find the paintings Beach Day and Low Tide Strollers.

In Beach Day, small shapes and colors dot the shoreline; illusions in paint. Wisps of figures, so familiar it is impossible not to smile. Mid-day is captured when summer still felt long and full. Low Tide Strollers has a different feel. The sun has dipped lower in the sky, and the smallest of silhouettes are outlined by dark blue water and wave-soaked sands. If you look closely you will see that even our canine friends have come to share this playground.

We all love the beautiful seascapes that Craig is known for at Maine Art. With these two pieces he has not only invited us to see his world, but to actually be a part of it. Come in and experience it for yourself. Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture will be hosting “From A Distance” until October 23rd.  The gallery is open until 6pm during the week, and 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Also, don’t forget to come and join us for the Village Art Walk next Friday, October 9th from 5pm – 8pm. Craig will be here to enjoy the evening with us. If you are away and interested in viewing the entire show, you can find it online at “From A Distance.” You can also view all of Craig’s collection in the gallery or on his Artist Page.

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The Lobstermen of Maine

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For us here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, the name Craig Mooney is synonymous with large, semi-abstract landscapes. Even though he does not paint specific places, his work draws us in and gives off that sense of home for those of us who live on the coast.

However, there is another part of the sea and the coast that occasionally grabs Mooney’s eye and interest.  It may not be as beautiful or as picturesque, but it is still very much a part of coastal Maine life;  the lobsterman.

We have seen the craggy, sea-worn man before in Mooney’s work. The Old Man and the Sea and Storm Watch are classic fisherman. They are the men who have been here for generations and will continue to be here long after we are gone.  But why do they stay? Why do they get up at dawn and come home at dusk facing brutal wind and freezing water? The same reason that lures the rest of here – the water.

Craig has two new pieces in the show, “From A Distance,” that show off the beauty of the lobsterman and his work. Setting Traps and Back Out to Sea.  Each piece allows us a different view of this very solitary world.  One boat, one man and the water he loves. In each, the water is at its clearest and calmest. This is where biting wind and bitter cold change to warm sun and silent sea. This is where a moment of rest is taken.

If you love the coast of Maine, there are many new and interesting subjects and views in Craig’s new show. “From A Distance” is more than just a glimpse of why we love it here. We welcome you to come see it for yourself at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk, or view it online at “From A Distance.”  The show will run until October 23rd.  Craig will also be in the gallery for the Village Art Walk on Friday, October 9th from 5-8. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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Opening Day – From A Distance – A Craig Mooney Show

From A Distance – A Craig Mooney Show

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Saturday, the doors of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture opened for Craig Mooney’s show, “From A Distance.”  Now, this was the first time we have ever done a show here in the gallery at 14 Western Ave. and rarely do we have shows in the fall. This was a first for us, and we truly didn’t know what to expect.

We spent all day with the over twenty tour busses that teetered into town.  The streets were full and we had a plethora of happy tourists and locals alike. By three o’clock the crowds were starting to dissipate, and a few paintings boasted the glorious little red dot… sold. “From A Distance” was off to a wonderful start, and we were only a few hours in.

The Artist’s Reception began at five and was a perfect place to come in and see the work first hand.  It was also a chance to chat with the artist himself for a few minutes.  The online show is spectacular, but there is nothing like seeing great works of art in person. Craig, his wife Kristen and their daughter Millie were on hand to share stories and details about Craig and his work.  A painting becomes more personal knowing the story behind it. While standing in front of each canvas, patrons reminisced about their where and when, their sky and sand and sun and their memories that flooded back as they took in the scenes Craig created: Goose Rocks Beach, Damriscotta, Cape Cod, Kennebunk Marsh, and Acadia among others. “I love to create a place where someone feels like they have been there,” said Mooney.  “ Like a lyricist or a poet, I want to inspire people to bring their own story to the work; to find what it means to them.” Craig still wonders at the familiar.  He finds a way to make everyday beauty a celebration and he brings to life a moment deserving of paint and canvas. This is what people love about a Mooney painting. This is why the first floor at 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk held a crowd of art loving people. (Of course, it could have also been the food. Donna Speirs, our in-house caterer, never disappoints.)

The night flew by in a whirlwind of  people and laughter and community. By seven o’clock the street lights were coming on, and it was time to close the doors of Maine Art for the night.  There were a few of us heading out to Bandaloop, a local restaurant, to toast a fabulous first day.  Kennebunkport was still in full swing, celebrating a September like we haven’t seen in years. We were feeling blessed and grateful to be able to celebrate right along with her.

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Thanks so much to all those who came out to support Craig Mooney and Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture during his opening day.  We look forward to seeing you again soon.  Remember, the show runs until October 23rd.  Please feel free to bring a friend in and share this incredible show.  The gallery is open everyday, and as always, click here for the online show. It is a great way to take a peek if you are far away and wishing you could be here.

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Autumn Transformations – From A Distance

Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is going through a bit of transition today.  We are still open for business, but the majority of the first floor will be a bit crazy as we prepare for the opening of “From A Distance,” Craig Mooney’s one-man show that opens tomorrow.

Normally, our show gallery is up on Chase Hill at Maine Art Shows. However, we are doing something a little different this fall. Maine Art Shows closed after Labor Day, but Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are just revving up for what is looking like a beautiful and busy autumn season.  Therefore, we decided to celebrate the changing of the leaves and cool breezes by showcasing artists on the first floor of Maine Art.

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The first of these shows is Craig Mooney’s, “From A Distance.” Mooney has always loved New England’s ocean and landscapes, and has a natural talent for capturing that place and time one promises to never forget.  Craig joined the gallery all the way back in May of 2007. “Looking back at the first few deliveries of paintings, his work has changed dramatically,” says Amy Lewia, Maine Art’s Gallery Director.  Age, skill and vision all push an artist to grow and become better. Yet, Craig’s ability to encapsulate Maine, her coast and her sky remains true.

Remember, the show starts tomorrow morning at 10 am.  Please come in. The entire gallery will be open until five, and then we welcome you to celebrate with Craig and the Maine Art staff from 5-7 at the official opening of “From A Distance.”

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The show will run until October 23rd, and as always is available to view on-line at www.maine-art.com.

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From A Distance – A Craig Mooney Show

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It’s important to take a step back, take a deep breath, and truly embrace the beauty surrounding us. In this new show, this is exactly what Craig Mooney has done. “From A Distance” is that step back. This is a show filled with new works and new perspectives on his classics. If you are already in love with Craig Mooney’s work, you will be amazed at what he has created. If this is your first experience, you are in for a treat.

When “From A Distance” was in it’s early stages, Craig connected with the theme. “It is necessary to put distance between you and the work,” says Mooney. “I have to stand back. Right up close, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s just blobs of paint. The distance is necessary to really see the whole picture.” Strokes of blues and greens come to life and become the ocean as we step back. Paint produces emotion. It breathes life.

Craig has been lucky enough to experience places where skies change from orange to pink to blue in the course of a day; where seas reflect dark and grey, and in just a moment change to crystal blue; where land, sky and ocean converge to produce a perfect contrast of nature. These places are familiar to us. We live here. We have created memories here. “Before this show, I went back over the last ten years,” says Craig. “ I discovered the paintings where people felt connected. Over and over, it was the sky and the sea.” It was these works that Craig revisited, creating new and original pieces that hold the same familiar feeling – a feeling we are just not quite ready to let go.

On Thursday, September 24th, the online catalogue for the show will be available to view. On Saturday, the 26th, “From A Distance” officially opens at 10 am. You will find Craig’s work on the first floor of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture on 14 Western Ave in Kennebunk. Consider this your invitation to come in, step back, take a deep breathe and enjoy.

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End of the Season at Maine Art Shows

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While our group gallery, Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is open year-round, Maine Art Shows is closed – not for the night, but for the season. Labor Day has come and gone and the last of the BIRD show has been shipped off to happy customers leaving the first floor of 10 Chase Hill Road quiet and resting. It is early evening and the Maine Art Shows gallery is full of shadows created by just a few of the small warm bulbs still illuminating the now bare walls. Small brass hangers sit above the hearth, empty. The vases, normally bursting with the fresh flowers of summer, have been scrubbed and put away and the mantels are clean and bare.  The hardwood floor is warm and smooth, and if one listens carefully the bouncing echoes of the voices of summer memories can be heard.

First it is the high-pitched chatter of happy Festival goers visiting the Choice Art Show, seeing long-time summer friends for the first time of the season. Then, the friends and family of Philip Frey uttering words of encouragement as they come out in huge support of his one-man show. Soon, it is both tourists and locals wandering and whispering words of recognition as they find familiarity in Maine. As they see it. And finally, the people’s chatter fades to the sound of the birds that claimed this space as their own for the last four weeks during BIRD.

The end of a season is always bittersweet.  Hard work and long hours are offset by loyal customers, tourists and frequent visits from our artists. Every show is new and fun and full of beauty, but soon enough our summer staff begin to venture off to autumn adventures and our veterans begin work on projects for next summer with barely a blink.

However, before saying goodbye for the season, we must first say thank you.  It has been a successful, engaging and lovely summer thanks to all of you.  We appreciate your kind words and continued support of Maine Art Shows.  We have big plans for next summer, and we can’t wait to include you.

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Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is open year-round at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. Please come by for a visit anytime.  As always, you can visit online at maine-art.com.

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James Rivington Pyne and Tern

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James Rivington Pyne | Tern | Composite | 29″ X 28″ | $500

As you first walk into Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk, a curious little sculpture, of what at first glance is a seagull swooping in to grab his lunch, is there to greet you. However, after a closer look, something is just a little different; a little smaller, a little more unique about this particular bird.

This sculpture is actually of a tern, not a seagull. To many of us the two are almost indistinguishable, but not for James Rivington Pyne. “The seagull, in its varieties, is, of course, the archetypical bird of coastal Maine. Yet, I have always thought its smaller cousin, the tern, to be more interesting; more beautiful, elegant and graceful with its backstroked wings,” says Pyne. “What’s more, terns make far less noise.”  This one in particular makes no noise at all.

“The tern I have submitted for this show is larger than the terns one sees over the water, and more threatening,” says James. “I wanted her to be this way because, despite her actual size, she is every bit as capable of feeding and protecting her young as any other seabird, be it osprey or gull.” She definitely holds her own among the dozens of birds in the show.  Tern brings a little touch of Maine with her and would be perfect inside or on a covered patio.

Pyne is one of six artists in the show BIRD. He has a few other pieces on display at Maine Art Shows, as well as a collection of work at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture down the hill on 14 Western Ave.  We welcome you to visit both galleries, either in person or on-line at BIRD or Pyne’s Artist Page.

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BIRD runs until September 7th. Maine Art Shows is open from 11-5 every day.

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