It’s Where You Look and How You See – Artist Insights from Bethany Harper Williams

There are five words artist Bethany Harper Williams uses when describing her 2021 show with us. Perspective. Color. Patterns. Exploring. Mood. 

Each of these words is not singular but more all-encompassing. She kept these five ideas close to her mind, her heart, and her brush during the creation of this spectacular collection.

“There are few things I tried to focus on as I worked on this show. I became much more aware of ‘from where’ and ‘how’ I looked at things. I found myself studying the same things from a different angle,” shares Bethany.  “ A great deal of the time, I tried to look beyond or past or through. Whether it was ordinary objects, house, people, or even shapes.”

When going beyond what is expected, she keeps the viewer intrigued, finding more, and questioning. With Williams and this show, it was more about seeing more and looking closer.

“I played with patterns for this show.  Polka dots, lines, circles… It is meant to be playful and whimsical, not focussed on representing reality, but creating a joyful mood,” explains Williams. “This keeps the viewer involved, looking, questioning.”

“There seems to be a theme of windows to another view – some literally showing the window frame. I never like giving the whole story,” shares Williams, “I always like the viewer to be involved in completing his or her own story.”

 

Some paintings in this show are moodier and less busy. She was more focused on the quiet moment. In this case, the looking and the seeing turned in.

“I did a lot of yoga this past year, and there are many pieces about being in the moment,” shares Williams. “I wanted to capture moments of reflection, peace, calm, and beauty.”

ABOUT THE 2021 SHOW

Starting on Saturday, July 24, at 10 AM, the gallery at 10 Chase Hill welcomes the public to view and purchase these stunning celebrations of color and summer.  Both Bethany Harper Williams and David Witbeck will be at Shows on Saturday evening from 5 – 7 PM. They each are excited to share their process, inspiration, and new works. The Artist Reception is a free event.

Again, the show is running until Thursday, August 12th. This gallery is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm.  Plan to stop into our other three locations. The Gallery at 14 Western Ave, The Grand Hotel Gallery at 1 Chase Hill, and Studios at 5 Chase Hill. All are open during the Artist Reception and every day this summer. Open daily at 10 am. Check the website for summer hours. FMI www.maine-art.com

To see the show in its entirety, including the 360-degree virtual tour, click here.

Preview opens Wednesday, July 21. Virtual Tour available on the evening of Friday, July 23.

To see our complete collection of Bethany’s  works, click below

Bethany Harper Williams – Artist Page

To read more about the process, inspiration, and background of Bethany, click below.

Bethany Harper Williams – Insights and Stories

The Boys are Back in Town – Artist Insights from David Witbeck

Witbeck’s Boys of Summer Revisited for 2021 (Some stories never get old.)

Mort, Theo, Erik, Bryce, Mac, and Winston. They work the local docks. They are Mainers, born and raised. They are coastal life personified. They are the iconic fisherman of David Witbeck.

Through the years we have become quite familiar with Witbeck’s fishermen. Still, questions remain. Where did they come from? And more importantly, how did they find their way into Witbeck’s studio? Lucky for us, Witbeck is not only an artist but a storyteller.

As a freelance photographer, he used to love to go out on commercial fishing vessels when he had free time. Often, he toyed with the idea of doing an extended photo essay, but he could never justify the amount of time away from ‘paying jobs.’ “Truth be told, I usually had more fun talking with the crews and helping to sort fish than taking pictures,” says Witbeck, thinking back on the memory.

When he later started painting, fishing seemed to be the natural subject matter for him. “I wanted my paintings to be iconic rather than descriptive. For descriptive focus, photography would have been a better way to do it. I wanted to paint.” Initially, it was just for the fun of it, but then one morning about ten years ago, just before waking up, he found his inspiration.

“I had had one of those wonderful little REM sleep dreams. A guy was holding a fish. There just happened to be a sketchbook on the floor beside the bed, and I made this little ten-second doodle,” laughs Witbeck. “The rest is history.”

FMDoodle copy-1

They have certainly come a long way.

And so goes the story of how these boys and more came to spend the summer on Maine Art Hill.

A David Witbeck Side Note –

“I also made another doodle, tentatively called, ‘The Last Fish.’ Yet, after ten years, and more than 300 fisherman paintings, I haven’t quite got to it yet.” For a few reasons we, as loyal Witbeck fans, hope the last fish never comes.

thelastfish copy-1

 

To see the show in its entirety, including the 360-degree virtual tour, click here.

Preview opens Wednesday, July 21. Virtual Tour is available on the evening of Friday, July 23.

To see our complete collection of this Witbeck’s works, click below

David Witbeck  –  Artist Page

To read more about the process, inspiration, and background of Witbeck, click below.

David Witbeck – Insights and Stories

Three Artist Pop-Up with Lauren Beach, Kelly Ufkin, and Nina Devenney

 

Featured Artists

Lauren Beach, Kelly Ufkin, and NinaDevenney

The guest artist for Pop-Up 

Thursday, July 22 to Wednesday, July 28

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

 

Wild Rosie  – Maine artist, Nina Devenney

Wild Rosie is the creation of Maine artist Nina Devenney, who resides in midcoast Maine and works from a cozy home studio nestled against the woods and just a few miles from the sea. She was raised by ceramic artists, whose work and artistic visions were a constant in her childhood home. Above all, being raised by artists taught her to notice, appreciate deeply, and find joy in the tiniest of moments. 

Nina has been making art with her own two hands for as long as she can remember. With a background that covers a breadth of media, she has found herself continually inspired by the earth and revels in the endless wonder of Maine’s land and coastline. 

Wild Rosie was born out of a sincere love of the natural world and a true desire to bring beauty and a genuine joy to the lives of others. Environmental conservation is often at the heart of her work, with a deep love of all the exquisite beauty the earth gives to those that call it home. She is constantly driven by a strong desire to bring our world closer together and to encourage others to look upon the world with a sense of wonder and awe. In seeing the natural riches that we all share and have in common, she hopes to inspire the viewer to take good care of the place we all call home. 

You can visit Wild Rosie at www.wildrosiemaine.com and follow along on Instagram   @wildrosie.maine

Kelly Ufkin

My paintings have taken on a more personal significance as I explore content that has importance to me, moving beyond the figure and still lifes. I am striving to obtain composition, balance, and color relations while experimenting with textures. Even though my intuitive responses occasionally stray from color accuracy, I want to maintain precision with perspective and proportion. I have realized that I am not a narrative artist but would like my viewers to experience a sense of escape.

My work has taken on new directions through the inspiration and study of artists that have impacted me, especially from the Impressionist era. Monet, Renoir, and Corot have enlightened me on how to really capture a moment in time in a simplistic manner. They give just enough indication and detail to portray a mood. Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi’s realism and extensive technique have helped me enhance my style and progress as an artist. Modern painters such as the Wyeth family have provided me with motivation and insight.

My more recent paintings contain elevated complexities with composition, lighting, and contrast. The main focus is the distortion of images within water that converses with the concrete physicality of its surroundings. Rather than being inclusive of the standard formula of distribution between sky and land, I prefer to mostly deny the sky to allow water to be the primary element.

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Lauren Beach

Lauren Beach (Mt Desert, ME) creates jewelry in wood and metal in her home-based studio. A bone carving and inlay apprenticeship in New Zealand in 2010 was the catalyst for pursuing a studio practice. In the last two years, she has taught herself additional woodworking and lapidary skills.

“Working with a jeweler-mentor who has experience with wood and metal and can help me find creative ways to connect them is essential to my growth. I feel as though I am on the brink of being able to move towards making my studio practice a full-time career, and I feel this opportunity will help me make the jump.” – Lauren Beach.

 

 

  

Pop-Up with Artist Eric Howell

 

Featured Artist Eric Howell is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning Thursday, July 8 to Wednesday, July 21. Read on to learn more about his inspiration, his process, and his work.

July 8 to July 21

self-taught.

i cling tight to the notion we each contain the untapped multiverse.

i’m simply trying to capture as vivid a shadow of such as possible.

 

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Three Artists One Show – Bigbee, Bruson and Kohler in 2021

“If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.” –  Edward Hopper.

Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk describes summer in New England perfectly, but not in words, in paint.   This three artist show features the works of painters Claire Bigbee, Ryan Kohler, and Karen Bruson. It will run for three weeks, beginning July 3 at 10 AM. There is an opening artist reception, Saturday, August 12, from 5 to 7 PM. This is a wonderful time to meet the artists and enjoy these incredible works.

 “When putting a show together, we want the artist to compliment, but not compete with each other,” says gallery owner John Spain.  “Each of these three artists has distinctively different styles and subjects, but the show as a whole is a wonderfully cohesive body of work.”

With a talent for using oil and acrylic in her work, artist Claire Bigbee shares her love of Maine. A bit of a local celeb, she sees the familiar landscapes around her and recreates her vision in her own distinct and beautiful way. 

“My process is a response to the atmosphere, the view, and the painting. I am not so concerned about the rendering of the piece,” says Bigbee. “It is something behind the view that drives me to return to nature. The river and marsh have always struck me. There is something in the wind, like a warm breath. It moves through the tall marsh grasses, and the birds swoon in flocks, not missing a beat. The sky is so vast, and pregnant clouds shadow the marsh and river.  It is breathtaking and mysterious and leaves me wordless.”

The second artist is Artist Karen Bruson. She is relatively new to Maine Art Hill but not to the art world. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts, she spent several years as an illustrator and graphic designer for New Hampshire Magazine. She then continued her creative exploration by becoming a Daily Painter and administrator of a Daily Painting website, Fresh Paint Daily Painters. 

“My artwork comes from the visual connection I have with common, everyday objects and places. I am inspired by the way light falls upon a subject, casting rich dark shadows, and I aspire to simplify the nuances within those darks,” explains Bruson. “Painting for me is a life-long journey of observations and a representational translation of my surroundings.”

Artist Ryan Kohler completes this dynamic trio for Maine Art Hill. A true Maine boy, Kolher paints, and tapes and scrapes, his canvases with the wonders of this crazy beautiful state. Looking at flora and fauna as well as buildings and boats, Kohler embraces his process and finds beauty in what many overlook. 

“My process is evolving a little bit. The main meat and potatoes of my work is definitely still painting and continue to be acrylic paint, but I’m starting to incorporate the use of tape and markers and objects,” he explains. “I’m basically treating my canvas like a collage with more emphasis on the painting part than the collage part.”

This show opens Saturday, July 3 at 10 AM and runs until July 22. The doors open at 10 AM.  The artists have so much to share, and they look forward to discussing their work and process at the artist opening from 5-7 on opening day. Shows on Maine Art Hill is at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. Open daily, 10 AM to 5 PM. FMI visit maine-art.com/shows or call 967-0043.

SEE THE SHOW!

To see Bigbee’s 2021  Show, Click the link below

 

Interpretive Landscapes – Insights from Artist Claire Bigbee on her 2021 Show

“The only difference between representational painting and abstract painting is that the subject plays a more recessive role in abstract work. The visual aesthetic is the dominant force, not the narrative. Abstract work, above all, celebrates the aesthetic over the recognizable “nameable” subject.” – Mitchell Albala.

Words from Artist Claire Bigbee on Interpretive Landscapes…

“My 2021 show is a collection of paintings that are my interpretations inspired by nature filled with abstract shapes, movement, and patterns.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, two artists, Peter Paul Ruben’s and Tiepolo moved away from a value-based painting system. Rather than using light and dark to create form, they started spreading light onto the canvas using more bright and dull colors to depict form. Tiepolo juxtaposed two colors of equal intensity side by side, using one for light and one for shadow. The equanimity of using color creates energy or vibration that drives the eye all around the composition. Rather than using small brush strokes, I use bigger chunks of color expressing form more like an elastic or, as Hans Hoffman referred to in his theory of plasticity. The color relationships create depth a certain flatness versus modeling color through value.

In college, I was fascinated by my 2D design class and color theory assignments. We would cut up one-inch squares of Pantone color chips and place them on a different colored background. The purpose of this was to demonstrate how to use the two smaller squares of the same color. You can optically change that color, value, or saturation of the chip by the field of color behind it.

Many of these paintings are about those juxtapositions of playing with color modules. I use color to create form rather than value and line. Tiepolo bent the laws of nature to fit the laws of art. My brushwork isn’t hidden in carefully blended color transitions. It’s explosive. I put a color on my palette knife and fan it over the painting to find the right color harmonies. The painting acts as a stand-between me and nature and the viewer.

The painting shares that internal vibrance I feel from memory. We all know what a sunrise or sunset looks like. These paintings are my emotional and spiritual interpretations of those views.”

To see all available work from Claire Bigbee, click the link below.
To read more insights from Claire Bigbee, click the link below.
To see Bigbee’s 2021  Show, Click the link below

 

Acrylic and Paper, Yes Paper, on Canvas – Artist Insights from Ryan Kohler 2021

We love it when our artists share insights from their process. It is refreshing and honest to get to peek inside the struggles and the successes. Below is a bit of insight from Ryan Kohler.

“Lately, I’ve been working with acrylic and paper on canvas.  I’ve had great luck with just acrylic paintings over the years, and there’s nothing wrong with just stopping there. Still, I am always looking for ways to spice up my process and incorporate new techniques to push my paintings into new territory and to keep things interesting for myself as well.  I think I get bored with myself a lot, haha.  I’m never satisfied, so I keep moving and evolving, but always with the idea that I want to paint like myself in mind.  I’m very cautious about changing my style in a way that makes them no longer recognizable to my visual brand.  My visual language may change a bit, but I want to say the same things. I don’t want to look like other artists, so I’m very protective of that.

So why paper?   I think it’s just where I ended up in my experimenting.  Let me explain… It started this winter when I was just horribly bored with myself for the millionth time in my life.  I started experimenting, gluing, taping things to canvas, repainting, taping again.  Lots of little objects and stuff from the junk drawer were basically thrown at the canvas.  Well, that was enough to reset my brain, but I had to dial it all back a bit for the sake of longevity.  I had concerns about how long my paintings would last if I continued to paint like this.  I liked the freedom of adding/removing physical pieces to the painting.  And I knew that paint alone would never be enough for me ever again, but I had to find a reasonable, sustainable option to combine with it.  Long story short, I found paper.  Completely safe to use, glue-able, paintable, flexible, archival, and MILLIONS of colors.

I’ve always liked puzzles, and now my paintings are a bit like puzzles to me, except I get to make my own pieces, and they don’t have to fit exactly. In fact, things are much more interesting when I am imprecise, but in a fun and still descriptive way.  Charmingly incorrect is what I’ve been shooting for with this entire body of work.  When I am being too literal and too careful with my cutting and gluing, the paintings don’t breathe as well and feel uptight and labored.

When I think about it, it’s a lot like the palette knife oil paintings I’ve worked on in years past.  The result is similar because there are distinct planes of color and various shapes layered over each other.  The advantage of the paper, I find, is the workability and clarity of color and the ability to work in small areas, without the risk of the muddiness that can sometimes come with an oil painting that has been overworked.   The workability is great too.  If I’m fast enough, I can remove a recently glued piece or pieces that I don’t like. Sometimes a little blip of color is a great way to sort of activate a dead zone in a painting, as a little splash of excitement.  And it’s really convenient to be able to try out a certain color shape before gluing it on.  It’s hard to do that with paint.  Once it’s there, it’s there!  There’s lots of trial and error with the paper and fumbling around with clumsy bits of paper that seem never to fit anywhere. However, I still hang onto them all anyway, and it’s a beautiful feeling when the right shapes in the right color all come together in just the right way.

I’m really proud of these paintings, and I feel like they are the clearest vision I’ve had yet in my career and my most cohesive body, but it hasn’t been easy.  I had to change my materials, my workflow, even my easel set up.  I still like to paint a range of subject matter.  I bring my beloved duck boots around town in Skowhegan and pose them in various places.  I still love painting beautiful deer.  I love the wonky shapes of boat hulls, architecture, and all the old things that can be found in rural Maine.  We are all lucky to live in such a beautiful state.”

To see all available work from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.
To read more insights from Ryan Kohler, click the link below.
To see Kohler’s 2021  Show, Click the link below

Insights from Artist Karen Bruson 2021

We love it when artists share the little details of the paintings they create for a show. It’s a true privilege to have a bit of an inside scoop on the process and the inspiration.  We love these words from Karen Bruson regarding her present works at Shows on Maine Art Hill.
“It’s a Beautiful Life and End of Day were inspired by the view from my home,” shares Bruson. “My house sits on top of a big hill allowing me to observe the most amazing sunsets. It is so lovely to live inside your inspiration.”
It's a Beautiful Life End of Day
Bruson is quickly becoming known for her amazing beach scenes, and this show features some of her best. “There’s vibrating energy on a beach full of people,” she explains. “The splashes of color, shapes and sounds you see in The Good Life resonate with me. I feel rooted in the overstimulation of it all.”
A Good Life
Cows seem to have a special place in the hearts of many Maine Art Hill artists. Bruson is no exception. “My closest encounter with a cow was at a state fair when I was five. She licked my whole face from bottom to top. I was most surprised by the rough texture of her tongue and thought it most bold of her.,” Bruson remembers. “This memory came flooding back when Have You Herd was created.”
Have You Herd
“I’m a painter of objects. So when my painting buddy brings me to a marsh, I struggle for a focal point and complain there’s nothing to paint,” says Bruson. “However, the egret is one of the most beautiful subjects of all.  When she appeared, so did Not Your Average Bird.”
Not Your Average Bird
When viewing Get Ready and Follow Me you are taking a peek at how and where Bruson was raised. “Growing up within driving distance to the ocean provided me with so many wet, sandy and joyful days,” she shares. “These lifelong views are always a part of me and my work.”
Get Ready Follow Me
For Bruson, the beach would not be complete without the symphony of squawking seagulls and the scattering of sandpipers.  Therefore neither would one of her art shows.  Adding in Busy Birds, Wait For Me, and This Gull Walks Into A Bar, was a must.
“Finally, Red Flag which is a diptych, I had to include it in this show,” she says. “I’ve been tumbled and humbled by many a wave and know many of the visitors to the gallery can appreciate and have had a similar experience, often more than once.”
To see all available work from Karen Bruson, click the link below.
To read more insights from Karen Bruson, click the link below.
To see Bruson’s 2021  Show, Click the link below

The Traveling Artist – Insights from Artist Claire Bigbee 2021

“In nature, light creates the color, in a picture, color creates the light. – Hans Hoffman

Words shared by artist Claire Bigbee as she traveled the state looking for inspiration for her 2021 show…

“Last fall, I took a ride up to Franklin to check the wild blueberry barrens in Hancock county. One of my girlfriends showed me pictures of the magnificent barrens in the fall. This rugged and vast stretch of Maine beyond Bar Harbor, where half of Maine’s 85 million pounds of commercially harvested wild blueberries grow, is hardscrabble, quiet, and thinly populated. Fields of the low-bush blueberry plants that weren’t raked and harvested, about half of them, transform into a brilliant red. The raked fields turn a browner red. Bordering forests of deciduous and evergreen trees provide color contrast and texture to undulating fields of the ankle- and knee-high bushes so expansive that the landscape sometimes feels like the Midwestern plains.

I was stunned at this magnificent sight of rolling hills and eye-popping colors. I hadn’t ever heard of the blueberry barrens, so this was a real treat for me to paint. The wind kept blowing my easel down, so I finally gave in and painted the canvas on the ground. I spent the day there alone, soaking in the electric range of colors and absolute solitude. The barrens were more than I imagined and well worth the trip and funny moments that usually occur on a painting trip.

Cows have always been a theme in my work since I lived in Taos, New Mexico, in 1986 for 9 months with my two-year-old daughter. We lived in an adobe under a sacred mountain, and there was a cow farm next to us. Cows are very social and have incredible memories. They recognize individual faces, and they will walk a mile to greet you. Cows are intelligent, they recognize their names, and they love giving kisses, cuddles, and even jump when they’re happy.

I have been attracted to pastoral fields and the beauty of herds of cows dancing around their morning routines. They care about each other. Who doesn’t love cows?

My painting Blooming Rose is about pre-dawn light when the sky explodes with pinks, reds, and violets.
It doesn’t last long at all. I can miss it in the four minutes it takes to ride my bike from my house to the marshes. Pink is a shocking color, a forbidden color. It does not exist in the light spectrum. But pink is the color of hope. It has a calming effect and reassures our emotional energies. And we can all use a little of that after this last year dealing with the shock of the pandemic and how it affected so many people worldwide. We can never underestimate the power of pink.”

To see all available work from Claire Bigbee, click the link below.
To read more insights from Claire Bigbee, click the link below.
To see Bigbee’s 2021  Show, Click the link below

 

 

Pop-Up Artist Marcia Crumley

Featured Artist Marcia Crumley is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning Thursday, July 1 to Wednesday, July 7. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.

July 1 to July 7

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!