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.

Let us know if you’re coming to Marcia Crumley’s show on Facebook!

Pop-Up with Artist Peggy Farrington


Featured Artist Peggy Farrington is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning Thursday, June 24 to Wednesday, June 30. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.

June 24 to June 30

My name is Peggy.  I do woodturning to create various items such as bowls, platters, pens, and vases. I also use coloring and dye techniques to embellish natural wood. Sometimes I use resin in combination with wood. PF Woodturning is located in Scarborough, Maine.




Pop-Up with Artist Sue Dion


Featured Artist Sue Dion is the guest artist for Pop-Up beginning Thursday, June 17 to Wednesday, June 23. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.

June 17 to June 23

I’m Sue Dion, a fine artist and art instructor living in Uxbridge, MA. My art has always been the language through which I have felt best able to express myself. Little in this world motivates me or excites my passion more than creating a painting.

I hope that while viewing my art, people experience the subject of the painting on a different level and develop a more intimate connection to it. It is this emotional response to my work that I value most and what drives my art.


For more info about Sue Dion, check out the following links: 





COLOR – Featuring Artists Charles Bluett, Erika Manning and R. Scott Baltz

Color is a power that directly influences the soul. ~ Wassily Kandinsky

We are excited to hosting COLOR, a three-artist show featuring the works of painters R. Scott Baltz, Charles Bluett, and Erika Manning. Work is on display beginning at 10 AM on June 12 through July 1. 

“These three artists haven’t ever shown their work together in this capacity before,” says John Spain, our charming and charismatic owner. “They are three incredibly strong painters who all put color to canvas with distinctive style. There will be something for everyone.”

The first of these three artists, R. Scott Baltz, is viewed as both pointillism, meaning many dots, as well as impressionistic. No matter how you categorize his style, Baltz’s work truly explores the landscape through movement and energy, color, composition, and application of paint.

“I 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, and I love it. I love the smell of the oils. I love the quality and lusciousness of the paint as it sits upon the canvas. I love the texture of dragging that brush across a canvas or a panel. There is a comfort with the medium.”

Artist Erica Manning, who also loves to work in oil, claims the same deep connection to nature and the Maine landscape. Her paintings, although abstract, are directly inspired by Maine’s gorgeous clear light, the colors of pine trees, ocean, and lobster buoys, as well as the shapes of rocks, islands, topographical maps, and boats.


“Although I strive for a finished piece, the beauty for me is in the process of making art,” explains Manning. “Starting out with beginner mind, an initial gesture and relying heavily on the random acts of chance and the correct alignment of time and space: the image shifts as the rhythms and cycles of seasons, nature, earth. life and tides are evoked. The final image is a map of the passage of time, the paths taken, the colors chosen, the shapes drawn, of the emotional weather and the conversations with the piece itself.”

The third artist in this show is Charles Bluett, again an oil painter, who allows the viewer to share in his journey and offer a deep insight into the outdoor environments and weather patterns of our vast and varied continental landscape.

Bluett says, “I am always still considering whether a piece is complete or not. Then, I turn toward the outdoor view ahead of me and see a twilight sky, a blazon sunset, or a simple tree line, and I am filled with so much color and energy. I smile to myself, realizing I should never take myself that seriously. In all I do, given what is laid out before me by ‘the powers that be’ in such scale and natural wonder, I keep perspective. I always try hard to be a part of it all. It is the important message I am left with, and I enjoy and relish the gifts I have been given, whatever they may be. This always makes me smile. Thankfully, it happens very often.”

With summer just beginning to bloom and color surrounding the local area, this show is the perfect complement for visitors and locals alike.

COLOR runs from June 12 through July 1 at Shows on Maine Art Hill. The gallery is located at 10 Chase Hill Road, Kennebunk, and open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. FMI or 967-0049.

To virtually “walk through” the show CLICK HERE

To see the show in its entirety CLICK HERE

To see our collection of work from each artist click the links below.

Charles Bluett Artist Page

Erica Manning Artist Page

R. Scott Baltz Artist Page

To read more about each artist click the links below

Charles Bluett-Stories and Insights

Erika Manning-Stories and Insights

R. Scott Baltz-Stories and Insights

Moving from Dark to Light with COLOR – Artist Insights from Erika Manning

“When my world felt very small and was extremely turbulent and stressful, it also was winter in Maine. I desperately needed to bring the light back not only into my life but into others as well. It was all feeling like this huge alchemical squeezing, this pressure,” shares artist Erika Manning. “Then, after a while, something interesting and maybe lovely started to happen creatively.”


It made her a bit crazy thinking about such heady and abstract concepts, but the questions kept her thinking and painting.

To bring the light back, sometimes I need to enter the darkness. When I return to the light, what do I bring with me from the dark spaces? What has been jettisoned on the trip back to the light? Can I maintain a lightness of being without occasional trips back to the dark? What about my personal history? When I step back into the light, do I emerge as a clean slate, or do I keep all my scars and imperfections of body and character? Then, of course, there is the idea or feeling of conjoining and merging with something much more significant than one’s small self. 

“I was looking at a lot of cosmos images, stuff from the Hubble Telescope, as well as Tantric Yoga Yantras and Sacred Geometry, 70’s light art, Hilma af Klint, Gustav Klimt, Yoyoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets, Aboriginal Art,” she explains.  “I found myself thinking a lot about the spiritual and healing aspects of art in general.”

For Manning COLOR, both the show and the actual use became salvation.

“I fell in love with luscious springy and summery greens, dreamy blues and purples, peachy pinks, mauve, and orange, and stepped way out of my comfort zone to explore some reds.”

Click to see the 2021 COLOR SHOW in its entirety.

The Defining Influence of Color – Insights from Artist Charles Bluett

Color, without question a defining influence on all my works. Bright, monochrome, dark, or translucent color is the main feature of any work I create and the inspiration behind my work.

Not only is it a visual stimulus, but it’s also, very importantly, an emotional stimulus. Color can be felt, smelt, tasted and seen, and even on occasion heard. The resonance of a monochrome piece. The hum of a hummingbird. The invocation of memory in a season. These are where color is the largest part. Be that deep winter in all it sheds of Whites Grays, Black, and Brown, Or a late fall sky with its purple blues, and golden forests.

I feel color affects everyone in many different ways. I want my work to do precisely that. Engage the viewer and interpret their responses to what they see and what they feel and think. That is the connection of color for me.

All my works are based on what I see around me in Vermont and throughout the world ( when it’s OPEN!) as I travel.

Click to see the 2021 COLOR SHOW in its entirety.

Click to read more about Charles Bluett.

Click to see all available works by Charles Bluett.

Paintings Born Out of Paintings – Artist Insights from R. Scott Baltz

“I created this show over a period of time, many pieces over the past year,” shared artist R. Scott Baltz. “If one was to look at this collection as a whole, most seem to be a slight variation, stylistically, from each other.  This is very common in the way I work.”

Baltz approaches most paintings in much the same way, but often, something happens in the course of applying the paint or even with his vision, and it basically changes the way he applies the paint.

“It just happens,  a little something, a different stroke or a little more medium,” he explains. “It stimulates an idea within myself that says, ‘Hmmm.’  During these ah-ha moments, I realize I should consider taking that idea another step in my next painting.”

Sometimes these things that “just happen”stimulate or bring about an idea that Baltz works on further down the road.

“My feeling is that each painting is born out of the one that proceeded it,” says Baltz. A lovely way to journey in this fabulous world of color.

Click to see the 2021 COLOR SHOW in its entirety.

Click to read more about R. Scott Baltz.

Click to see all available works by R. Scott Baltz.