A Bit of Escape – Craig Mooney, A Solo Show at Maine Art Hill

Craig Mooney’s one-man show is on display for three weeks at The Gallery at Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk, beginning Saturday, September 26, and running through most of October. The gallery at 14 Western Ave is showing this work through October. They are open every day at 10 AM.

Mooney, primarily an oil painter, has been with Maine Art Hill for over thirteen years. His work is well known, and a “Mooney Sky” is unmistakable. This show holds several of these famous seascapes and landscapes, but there are more than a few unexpected beauties.

John Spain, the owner of Maine Art Hill, notes, “A Craig Mooney Solo Show is always stunningly beautiful. However, there are continued surprises each and every time he shows his work in a large collection such as this.”

Mooney built this new body of work around romantic feelings of solace and quietude.

“For me, this is pure escapism from the current climate,” says Mooney.  “Times like these, I draw deeper into myself. I’ve sought out more classic motifs such as the lone boat on a quiet shore or the light on morning waves on the horizon. These universal themes may be slightly different but still convey comfort and safety.”

This spring Mooney used his time to experiment with new ways of viewing subjects and different techniques.

“In some cases, I’m striving for an economy of information on my canvas, looking to distill what is essential to convey my intent,” Mooney explains. “Sometimes, that’s as simple as leaving areas of the canvas unpainted or removing hues I normally include.

Mooney finds inspiration in all the places he has called home. Be it his native Manhattan, the mountains, and farms near his studio in Stowe, Vermont, or the beaches of Maine and Cape Cod, where he spends as much time as he can.

“I imbue these semi-abstract renderings of place with universal emotions. These works are meant to bring peace to those who view them,” Mooney shares. “They are a gentle reminder that life goes on and assure that there is cosmos amid this chaos.”

The Gallery on Maine Art Hill is at 14 Western Avenue in Lower Village, Kennebunk, and is open at 10 AM daily. This show will run from September 26 to October 26. FMI visit maine-art.com or call 967-2803.






Artist R Scott Baltz, The Process of Change

As the seasons change, it’s always exciting to have a new artist find a new home on Maine Art Hill, it is no different with R Scott Baltz. Actually, especially with Baltz. His beginnings in the art world were all about change. 

Baltz was born in Pennsylvania but attended college in Delaware. His first year was as a biology major. It was also his last year.

“It wasn’t what I envisioned for myself. However, I was unsure of exactly what I was envisioning for myself,” Baltz laughs. “I am a searcher. It is my personality.”

Baltz spent several years doing odd jobs, which in turn created lots of failures.

“Failure is so critical. It helps us to know what we do not want,” explains Baltz. “Failure is just as important in a painting. It is how we move forward and how we learn.”

When he was in his mid-20s, Baltz discovered photography. In his words, not only did he find it, he was entirely consumed by it. Soon after, he began photography school in Colorado on the western slopes of the Rockies.

“It was a fantastic year, just so incredible. I was starting to learn who I was and what I wanted,” Scott says. “It enabled me to have a sense of direction in my life, and I have very fond memories of this time.”

In his initial photography work, he used 35mm but began progressing into using the large format 4×5 camera, an old-style camera that looks like an accordion.

“Everything is upside down and reversed when you look through the camera. It requires some getting used to,” Baltz says. “I do feel, in retrospect, it allowed me to develop my eye. Particularly regarding composition, which is critical in painting as well.”

For about thirteen years, he worked with a camera. He did everything from calendar work and magazine work to selling prints in galleries. He focused on the details in the landscapes, with the focus being close up. 

It was the comment of a dear friend that began his refocusing.

“One of the fantastic things about your work is that you take photos of things I step on.”

“It was so true,” says Baltz. “I like the patterns and simplifying the chaos.

By the late ’80s, Baltz came to Maine with his camera in tow. He was not at all confident about what he was looking for. But as I told his girlfriend at the time, “I’ll let you know when I see it.”

“I ended up at Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. I fell in love,” he puts it simply. “The mountains were appealing to me, probably reminiscent of my time in Colorado.”

Baltz is a person who spent a lot of his time around inland bays and the ocean. For him, there was an additional appeal to the island, especially being surrounded by the changes of tide.  

“All the things that go with island life are fascinating to me. Its transition. Its movement. Its change,” he says. “Nothing is ever the same. Not only do I like that, but I am also physically drawn to it.”

Baltz swims, paddleboards, kayaks, and is an avid fly fisherman. He is definitely a water person. 

“Many of my favorites revolve around the water. It is seen in my paintings. There is usually a prominent place for water in my images,” Baltz shares. 

At one point, he truly started spending a great deal of time in Maine. Baltz met an artist, rented a cottage from her, and they became great friends. She was a watercolorist, and it was about this time he felt his photographs changing. They were becoming more painterly. 

“Although I wasn’t quite aware of this change until someone asked me if my work was photographs or paintings?” Baltz shares. “That is when I realized the transition was taking place.”

After a one hour lesson in watercolor, he was set loose with some paints and brushes. 

“A whole new journey began, and it opened up my world in another way, which photography had not. It was an evolution of things. It was another layer of creativity for me, and I became consumed by it as well.” 

Eventually, he put down the camera and sold all of his 4×5 equipment and moved strictly into painting. 

“I had worked in watercolor for many years. And I felt another transition coming. I was ready to move on to something meatier, something with a more tactile quality, perhaps another medium,” Scott says. “As it turns out, that medium was oil paint.”

Ironically his photography instructor from Colorado had moved to MDI as well. After a random phone call and the “donation” of 85 tubes of professional paint, change began again. 

“His donation allowed me to experiment freely without worrying about the added expense of going into a new medium,” says Baltz. “I loved it. I loved the smell of the oils. I loved the quality and lusciousness of the paint as it sits upon the canvas. I loved the texture of dragging that brush across a canvas or a panel. There was a comfort with the medium.” 

For about 20 years now, Baltz has been working exclusively in oil. Recently, however, he has been experimenting with acrylic due to the water-based medium. So, who knows what will come next. 

To see all of R. Scott Baltz’s available work on Maine Art Hill, click here. 

Intaglio and Viscosity Printing with Artist Julie Houck

Here is just a bit of explanation for Julie Houck newest print works. So incredibly beautiful. These prints are still one of a kind works, just produced in a manner very different from her landscape work.

Intaglio  Printing

In intaglio printing, the lines to be printed are cut into a metal (e.g. copper) plate by means either of a cutting tool called a burin, held in the hand – in which case the process is called engraving; or through the corrosive action of acid – in which case the process is known as etching. In etching, for example, the plate is pre-covered in a thin, acid-resistant resin or wax ground. Using etching needles or burins, the artist or writer (etcher) engraves their image (therefore to be only where the plate beneath is exposed). The plate’s ground side is then dipped into acid, or the acid poured onto it. The acid bites into the surface of the plate where it was exposed. Biting is a printmaking term to describe the acid’s etching, or incising, of the image; its duration depends on the acid strength, metal’s reactivity, temperature, air pressure and the depth desired.[5] After the plate is sufficiently bitten it is removed from the acid bath, the ground is removed gently and the plate is usually dried or cleaned.

To print an intaglio plate, ink or inks are painted, wiped and/or dabbed into the recessed lines (such as with brushes/rubber gloves/rollers). The plate is then rubbed with tarlatan cloth to remove most of its waste (surface ink) and a final smooth wipe is often done with newspaper or old public phone book pages, leaving it in the incisions. Dampened paper will usually be fed against the plate, covered by a blanket, so when pressed by rolling press it is squeezed into the plate’s ink-filled grooves with uniform very high pressure. The blanket is then lifted, revealing the paper and printed image. The final stages repeat for each copy needed

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intaglio_(printmaking)


Viscosity Printing

Three to four colors of ink are mixed, each of a different viscosity. This viscosity is adjusted by the addition of uncooked linseed oil.

Metal plates, usually copper or zinc, are used, as in the intaglio processes. The artist produces images on the plate by etching lines or textures. The plate is then inked in several stages. The first ink would be fairly dense—of a relatively high viscosity. The application of the high-viscosity ink is carried out as in any intaglio process: by forcing it into the recesses of the plate and then wiping off the plate’s surface with a tarlatan.

Ink of a second color, and the thinnest viscosity, is then applied to the surface of the plate with a hard rubber roller, so that it covers the plate in one pass and only transfers onto the highest areas of the plate. Ink of a third color, and a much stiffer consistency, is then applied to the lower areas of the plate with a softer rubber roller. The varying viscosities of the two rolled-on inks prevent them from mixing. A fourth color, of even thinner viscosity, can also be applied at this point. This color is either spread out on a glass plate, which is then pressed against the printing plate so that the ink only adheres to the highest points of the metal plate, or it is applied by a hard roller applied with very little pressure.

This process may be done with a monotype as well. Inking the acrylic or plexiglass plate with one ink with a very high viscosity, and following that, rolling a very loose ink over it, produces two tones on a single plate. One may attempt to scratch an image onto the plate, but acrylic and plexiglass plates are more temperamental than copper or zinc, and wear out sooner.

A sheet of printing paper is then placed on the upright plate and passed through a printing press, which prints all of the colors simultaneously. This is of a certain advantage, as in some other multi-color printing processes, correct registration of the blocks presents a difficulty.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viscosity_printing








Three Local Female Artists at Shows on Maine Art Hill

The state of Maine is famous for her diverse scenery and skies, and of course, colors. For most of September, three local female artists are celebrating it all.

This collection at Shows on Maine Art Hill, 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk, features the work of Julie Houck, Claire Bigbee, and Liz Hoag. This is the last show of the season for the hilltop gallery, and it is slated to be a beauty. The doors are open on September 5 through September 24.

John Spain, the owner of Maine Art Hill, says, “These three talented, local women continue to amaze. Each sees this area they call home through different eyes and from different vantage points, so together, they capture the best of our state. Separately, they are incredible. Collectively, they are magic.”

Artist Julie Houck finds her magic in the sky. Many of her paintings are in oil, but a few are encaustic or a blend of both. The essence of light and classical training is seen in her work. Transparent layers are used to create luminosity. Landscapes and seascapes are a primary theme in Houck’s work. This year, however, she has also added abstracts.

“My abstract works veer sharply from the physical world. They find their inspiration by delving into the realm of painting what can only be felt, experienced, or thought,” says Houck. “Conversely, I am inspired by the interplay of light on the landscape. Painting softly allows me to recreate that one particularly special moment when the land, light, and atmosphere seamlessly fuse.”

Artist Claire Bigbee’s process with oils is also a response to the atmosphere and the view and the painting. For Bigbee, art is an expression of those moments when struck by her surroundings. There is something behind the scenery that drives her to return to nature. Everything is interconnected and part of one force, a genuine feeling of oneness.

“My paintings are inventions of nature through careful observation of the color relationships when the painting is underway. I prefer this approach rather than the idea of reproducing nature,” shares Bigbee. “Staying open and in the moment where you get lost, or the accidents occur, can turn the painting on or thrust it in a new direction. Those are thrilling moments when you’re on the edge of a painting. You get lost for a while.”

Lastly, we wander inland and change to acrylic paint, and no one does this better than Portland artist Liz Hoag. Finding her sanctuary, Hoag walks in the quiet of the woods, and in her studio, her new works focus on the soft and pure and represent even more of Maine.

“It’s important to find ways to focus on simpler things in life and remember that beauty still exists. Especially in Maine. The brooks, ponds, lakes, woods, and ocean give me that quiet calm I desperately need,” says Hoag. “I’m so lucky to be an artist who gets to interpret the beauty of this world. Taking the peace I find out there, I bring it to paintings so that others can also maybe find peace in beauty.”

This art show is a piece of quiet, a deep breath, and a gentle blossoming of Maine’s colors, and is not to be missed. It opens at Shows on Maine Art Hill starting Saturday, September 5, and runs through Thursday, September 24. The gallery at 10 Chase Hill Road is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. FMI call 207-967-0049. This show can be viewed online beginning Wednesday, September 2, at www.maine-art.com/shows.


Read more about each of these artist click the links below

Claire Bigbee

Julie Houck

Liz Hoag

See the complete collection of each artist click the links below

Claire Bigbee

Julie Houck

Liz Hoag

A Piece of Quiet – Artist Insights from Liz Hoag

“Right now, my studio is my sanctuary.”

When the world gets crazy, we each need a sanctuary. For some, it is bright and shiny. For others, it is peaceful and calm. For artist Liz Hoag, it’s home.

“Though sometimes it’s hard to focus on complex tasks when thoughts of what’s going on outside these walls swirl in my head, I have managed to quietly create,” shares Hoag. “The creamy feel of paint on a brush and the unexpected success of an even a tiny section of a painting that feels just perfect makes my days.”

If not in her studio, Mother Nature provides a sanctuary of her own.

“Many of us are filled with anxiety about what’s coming in our country. It’s important to find ways to focus on simpler things in life and remember that beauty still exists,” says Hoag, “especially in Maine.”  

Nature is moving on with or without us, and Hoag is still out walking, always looking for a painting.

“The brooks, ponds, lakes, woods, and ocean still give me that quiet calm I desperately need,” explains Hoag. “The color and light are still gorgeous, the smell of the air still clean, the woods still quiet. This helps me feel balanced in what feels more and more like an off-balance world.”  

Liz Hoag is one of the lucky ones. She is an artist who is inspired to interpret the beauty of her world.

“I take the peace I find out there and bringing it to paintings so others can also…just maybe… find peace in beauty.

A more few links for Liz Hoag

More stories from Liz Hoag

Link to her complete collection of available works

Liz Hoag, Claire Bigbee, and Julie Houck 2020 Summer Show 

A Change of Focus – Artist Insights from Julie Houck

Not only will Julie Houck be exhibiting her skyscapes and landscapes in her 2020 summer show, but she is also sharing a few abstract works. 

“I am inspired by the interplay of light on the landscape, which is ever elusive and always changing,” shares Houck. “Painting softly allows me the opportunity to recreate that one particularly special moment when the land, light, and atmosphere seamlessly fuse.”

Conversely, Houck’s abstract works veer sharply from the physical world and find their inspiration by delving into the realm of painting what can only be felt, experienced, or thought. 

“This departure from the landscape is merely a change of focus from looking outward, to looking inward for inspiration,” explains Houck. “The possibilities are infinite.”

As an artist, Houck approaches each painting, believing that it is not enough to paint the literal view. 

“My goal is to also capture the essence of a place, emotion, thought, or idea and hopefully connect you viscerally to that experience.”


A more few links for Julie Houck

More stories from Julie Houck

Link to her complete collection of available works

Liz Hoag, Claire Bigbee, and Julie Houck 2020 Summer Show

A Painter’s Place: Among the Sea, Sky and Wind – Insights from Claire Bigbee

Words from Claire Bigbee…

“Painting,” he said, “is just getting one spot of color in relation to another spot…. Let color make form, do not make form and Color it.” “Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision — it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so.” 

This is one of my favorites quotes from Charles Hawthorne. It can be found in his book, Hawthorne on Painting. I always find myself pulling his book off the shelf to review his many painting pearls of wisdom.  

He talks about spots in relation to each other and looking for the brilliant colors in a landscape and making them a bit brighter than we see it. Rather than reproducing nature outdoors, which is almost impossible, he says to approximate by convention. 

My paintings are inventions of nature through careful observation of the color relationships when a piece is underway. I prefer this approach rather than the idea of reproducing nature. Staying open and in the moment gives me opportunities to see the accidents which can occur and can thrust a painting in a new direction. Those are thrilling moments when I’m on the edge of a piece, and I get lost for a while. There’s a certain amount of anxiety and tension that brings the painting alive. I take significant risks in those moments, and it always seems to pay off, the art starts to sing. It’s a dialog between me and the painting. The narrative of the view diminishes, and my voice becomes more apparent. 

I use color spots to create a view, not unlike the pointillist technique of painting small, distinct dots of color applied in patterns to form an image. My dots are much more significant. For tools, I use paint, a variety of palette knives, and short handle Princeton bristle brushes for my wide-sweeping marks, hands, or fingers. Almost anything works for mark making. 

The horizon line in my paintings establishes a point of reference to create distance. I use dramatic scale and color to create depth rather than value transitions. This flattens the picture plane, so color relationships create a luminous visual harmony. Music influences my painting sonnets. When I put down the first big, bold color stroke, it affects where I go next with color. I leave out insignificant details, so the viewer engages the painting. Getting caught up in the details is easy to do when painting plein air, but it’s narrative is too constricting for me. I like my paintings to capture vast spaces of color and large shapes to translate Maine’s beautiful monumental views. 

My approach is from an abstract viewpoint to achieve something solid, concrete, and permanent from nature. 

The views around me are classic Maine, a lulling sea with long-range tides, windswept clouds, all framed within Maine’s unmovable rocky coastline. There is comfort in the permanency of the Maine landscape. It’s a place I grew up and have been painting since I was young. I always come back to it for that reason.

Inspirational Artist Quotes

I try to construct a picture in which shapes, spaces, colors, form a set of unique relationships, independent of any subject matter. At the same time I try to capture and translate the excitement and emotion aroused in me by the impact with the original idea.– Milton Avery

 Nature is my springboard. From her I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colors and forms.  – Milton Avery

Follow these links to learn more about Claire Bigbee and her available works at Maine Art Hill

SUMMER SHOW with Liz Hoag and Julie Houck 2020

More Artist Insights from Claire Bigbee

All Available Works from Claire Bigbee


Pop-Up with Mike L’Antigua 2020

Featured Artist, Mike L’Antigua is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning Tuesday, August 25 to Monday, August 31. Read on to learn more about his inspiration, his process, and his work.

August 25 to August 31

“What is it that drives me to pick up a paintbrush? Although Art is in my blood, I first got inspired by my visit to the Renoir exhibit in Boston in 1985. Seeing those beautiful paintings up close and personally lit the fire. This began a love affair with the impressionists.

The first paintings were awkward and lousy. It did not take long to realize you need instruction in painting for it to go anywhere. After all, painting is 80% craft/skill. After trying out the workshop scene for 3 years I realized having six or seven voices in my head wasn’t working. so in 2016, I settled on a weekly class with a very talented artist and sound teacher in my area. Well, it worked wonders. Learning all the fundamentals of Representational Painting has elevated my work 1000 fold.

So where to go from there? After a lot of New England Seascapes and a lot of figurative painting, I circled back to Impressionism. You always go back to your first love. I am developing a Pond/Lilypad series these days with hopes of building a body of this work. There are some seascapes, landscapes, and figures mixed in.

I plan to continue many subject matters but try to paint them in a more impressionistic way. I hope you come along for the ride it should be fun.”

For more info about Mike L’Antigua check out the following links: 




Pop-Up with Artist Gary Koeppel

Featured Artist, Gary Koeppel is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning Tuesday, August 11 to August 24. Read on to learn more about his inspiration, his process, and his work.

August 11 to August 24

I am a landscape painter working in the New England area. I work in oils. My first love is Plein Air Painting, however I also create work in my studio where I have the luxury of time in a controlled environment. In addition to color and composition in a scene, I am first struck by the light and a certain mood which I hope to communicate to the viewer. I hope to leave an impression that brings back a memory the way a song reminds us of a time from our past.

Painting landscapes is something that I enjoy doing, something that I have taken with me through the journey of my life for more than forty years. What is it that attracts me to the landscape? I suppose it’s a place of being for us all, our connection to the land, giving us a sense of place on this planet.

The elements that attract me to a scene have to do with composition, color, contrasts of light and dark. When I paint a tree in a field the tree becomes secondary to describing the space around it. What I like best about being in the landscape is, it’s a way to capture the moment – a way to stop time and study it. Through that observation, an imprinted memory of the scene remains for me.


For more info about Gary Koeppel check out the following links: 





Summer Shows 2020 – Janis Sanders, Ingunn Milla Joergensen, and Jill Matthews

Asking an artist why they paint or make any other form of art, is like asking a bird why it flies or a person why they breathe. For me, art is so deep and profound. ~ Artist Janis Sanders.

Shows on Maine Art Hill is hosting a three-artist show, featuring the works of oil painters, Janis Sanders, Ingunn Milla Joergensen, and Jill Matthews. Each artist has painted new pieces for this show beginning Saturday, August 8, and running through September 3.

Natalie Lane, Director of Galleries and General Manager of Maine Art Hill, says, “The early August opening of the Matthews, Sanders, and Joergensen show, is one I have been looking forward to all summer. The contrasting landscapes and seascapes compositions and color palettes range from bold to ethereal. They take us all on a journey of the senses through New England, and it’s seacoast with all its incarnations.”

Artist Janis Sanders has been with Maine Art Hill since 2010 and is well known for his love of the perfect blue in the company of a splash of yellow. With this show and each painting he paints, he gives his best effort to interact with the atmosphere of the scene.

“I stay focused, concentrate, and interact with the uniqueness of the interplay and path of these particular colors and nuances,” says Sanders. “Each painting is an individual journey, much like a musical score, in which one leads the other in tandem to completion. Some directions are more familiar, others open the doors wide to new latitudes and longitudes. You find both in this show.”

Ingunn Milla Joergensen is a local artist, who has called Kennebunkport home for many years now. Whether she is painting on location or finding inspiration in her fantastic backyard, her clean and open landscapes invoke calm and warmth. These feelings are difficult to put to words, but unmistakable when standing before her work.

“For a long time, I have tried to figure out how to move my passion for flowers and gardening in my work. To me, it makes complete sense to unite the two things that make me the happiest,” shares Joergensen. “Tying it all together is what I strive for in life. I have found a feeling of being grounded, being mindful, simplicity, and peace…and a whole lot of green!”

Another local artist, Jill Matthews, has traveled all over only to find her home back in Maine. A landscape artist with a few surprises, Matthews celebrates the area in soft colors and smooth brushstrokes. Like many artists who are encompassed by the beauty here, Matthews’s work is inspired and influenced by her surroundings.

“I am struck by things visually in an instant. Be it the way light plays off of something or the color interactions on a clear blue day. My favorite days are foggy days. They force my eye to see the beauty in simplicity,” says Matthews. “I strive for this in my pieces, strong uncluttered compositions. I always edit as I work, stripping away details, leaving a strength to what remains.”

All three artists have found their own unique way of capturing this beautiful area, and show beautifully together, both virtually and in person. Visit soon at Shows on Maine Art Hill at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. The community is welcome to enjoy this three-week-long show. All the Maine Art Hill galleries are open every day at 10 am. FMI www.maine-art.com or 207-967-0049.


Virtual  2020 Summer Show


Ingunn Milla Joergensen

Janis Sanders

Jill Matthews


Ingunn Milla Joergensen

Janis Sanders

Jill Matthews