10th Annual Choice Art Show 2021

On May 29, Shows on Maine Art Hill at 5 Chase Hill Road opens for the summer with the 10th Annual Choice Art Show, the only show curated by the public. This is our tenth year starting the summer off with this kind of show. Fourteen Artists, including five gallery alumni with forty-two new works on display.


For the last few years, Maine Art Hill has opened its summer season with the Choice Art Show. This year is no different. However, this year it officially opens a week earlier, Saturday, May 29. That is not all we are changing up. Celebrate and see for yourself as we honor a bit of our past with a bit of our present.

Owner John Spain says, “Time truly flies when you are having fun. Ten years! Due to this, the staff and I wanted to have a few new and exciting changes to the norm. When the idea of adding in alumni artists came up, we knew we had to do it.”

For those new to the Choice Show and a recap for the veterans, Maine Art begins the curation with eighty-four original works from fourteen artists, six pieces each. It is then narrowed down to three pieces from each artist. These three are carefully “chosen.”

This is where it gets exciting. One piece from each artist is named Artist’s Choice, the artist chooses. Then each artist has a Designer’s Choice, which is determined by local designer and community celeb Louis Hurlbutt of Hurlbutt Designs. And then there is the third and final choice, People’s Choice.

People’s Choice is always left up to the Maine Art Hill community to decide, both near and far. The last fourteen paintings to be featured in this kickoff show are decided upon by casting votes for a favorite piece from each artist. These are difficult decisions to make, especially with such stellar artists.

“We enjoy the entire process more and more each year,” says Gallery Director Natalie Lane. “To have the public be a part of the curation is truly unique, and the response is always overwhelming. This year’s artists have submitted pieces which made it extra challenging for online voters. It was tough to pick a favorite. Happily, it’s a fun challenge.”

The show opens Saturday, May 29, and runs through June 10 at Shows on Maine Art Hill at 10 Chase Hill Rd in Kennebunk. The gallery opens every day at 10 am and closes at 5 pm, with all Covid protocols being followed. For more information, please call the gallery at 207-967-0049



Featured artists include Gallery Artists Heather Blanton, Alex Dunwoodie, Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald, Rick Hamilton, Julie Houck, Ingunn Milla Joergensen, John LeCours, Jill Matthews, and Trip Park. Alumni Artists Christine Brenner, Christopher Castelli, Sandra L. Dunn, Holly Ready, Monique Sakellarios


Alex Dunwoodie – The Choice Show 2021

“When I turn my attention to painting, it is in search of peace, finding equilibrium. Trials bring life into focus.”
I find peace in the timelessness of light effects on the water. I want to paint subjects that make my heart happy. Something is thrilling about being at the edge of water, feeling the breeze where the water meets the shore, the smell, the sound –  it’s a powerful experience. It’s peaceful but also exhilarating.
The day two catamarans were cruising along, friends out on a nice day, with the sun dramatically dividing the water – I knew I wanted to paint it.  (August, seen above). I want to remember the sensation; I want that memory to last. Everyone has those afternoons they never want to end.
About the sailboat in the painting Freebird (see above), I simply love to see that sailboat. It cheers me whenever I see it. I’ll stop what I’m doing to admire it.
I find peace in nature, going for walks, and seeing the dark green cedars against the new green of early summer. Gray days are gorgeous! Gray days need to be celebrated more.
And walking the beach, looking for stones to bring home. I spend great amounts of time contemplating the colors and surfaces of the stones. The stones along the New England shore are so interesting! I’m painting the small joys in life; I want to celebrate them.
In Three Foxes Under a Tree, Under a Cloud is from a day out of Camden. I love days when the occasional cloud blocks the sun and the sky is still bright blue, but areas of the shore and water are in shadow.
Seeking peace and celebrating the small joys in life, these subjects center on nature and my surroundings. I enjoyed painting on a small, intimate scale this year. I don’t paint with an easel but hold my work in my lap and hold the brush like I’m holding a pen. They’re turned this way and that. I look at them very much as objects, with small illusions on their surfaces.

Below are several links to learn more about Dunwoodie and see all of her available works.

Alex Dunwoodie – Artist Page

Alex Dunwoodie – Insights and Stories from the Blog




Trip Park – The Choice Show 2021


“Oh, buoys. I first saw these colorful icons in Kennebunkport,” shares artist Trip Park. “Simply enough, they are striking to see every time I notice them. Their toy-like colors sometimes intertwined in their wire-framed & wood traps do something fun for me every time I put them to canvas.”


“This is the first-ever attempt I have made at doing singles,” shares Park. “I even threw in a shout-out to the famous, if not iconic, Maine (mainstay) LL Bean blanket stripes on one this time.”

Below are several links to learn more about Park and see all of his available works.

Trip Park – Artist Page

Trip Park- THE BLOG – Artist Insights and Stories

Trip Park Videos




Sandra Dunn – The Choice Show 2021

 Asking an artist to talk about their art is like asking a plant to discuss horticulture. ~ Jean Cocteau
“This is how I feel when people ask me to talk about my art,” says artist Sandra Dunn. “I feel that on some level, artists paint because they cannot express their thoughts and feelings well in words – at least this is how it is with me.  But, I will try to put into words a bit about my art and process.”
“I paint what I find beautiful.  Painting for me is like meditation,” explains  Dunn. “When I am mixing colors and focusing on values and shapes, I am operating in my right brain, and all the chatter of the mind is shut down.”
“Painting for me is perhaps my one ‘real’ God-given gift.  I have tried to ignore it. I have even tried to minimize it at times in my life. It always comes back to me,” shares Dunn.  “I know now that even though I don’t completely understand the why, this is what I am here to do.”
“I hope that maybe my paintings bring a bit of joy to others  I want to capture and preserve a moment in time of something hopeful, beautiful, and uplifting,” she says. “I love painting flowers. I love painting Maine.  I love painting a spot of light touching the edge of a bird’s feathers or a cow’s ear.”
“My studio is at my home in Chelsea. I also teach art to pre-K through 8 students at the local school.  I have been doing this for 30 years! My students are my teachers in their openness to express and to create fearlessly,” says Dunn about her inspiration. “My husband of 20 years passed away in 2019.  He was a photographer, and his work brought me lots of inspiration as well.  I know he would be happy for me to keep on creating.”

Below are several links to learn more about Dunn and see all of her available works.

Sandra Dunn – Artist Page




Christopher Castelli – The Choice Show 2021

Christopher Castelli

These paintings are a departure from the landscapes I often paint. Spending more time in the studio this past year, I welcomed the opportunity to explore the subtle color shifts, shadows, and refractions that a vase of flowers can provide. 

Below are several links to learn more about  Castelliand see all of her available works.

Christopher Castelli – Artist Page




Jill Matthews – The Choice Show 2021

I’m excited to share this new body of work I created in 2020 and into 2021. It was a very different year than I have ever seen. I faced challenges I had never experienced before.

With that said, I found myself enjoying coming to the studio this season. For me, it’s a very safe and familiar space, but also a space where I have the freedom to express myself in many ways. My studio gave me a bit of that back.


As far as the work goes…

Looking at this collection as a body of work in front of me today, I feel subconsciously much of that desire for calm and solitude and familiar surroundings came through. I chose to go back to many of the themes and styles I have worked with in the past. Not recreating but reexamining. There was a comfort in that.

I also found myself going to places locally that gives me peace and comfort and found myself painting them in a calming way. This comes through in my work and is certainly how I was feeling in those moments.

I’m thrilled about this show and looking forward to times that are more of what we remember life to be.


Below are several links to learn more about Matthews and see all of her available works.

Jill Matthews – Artist Page

Jill Matthews- Insights and Stories from the Blog


John LeCours – The Choice Show 2021


In my paintings, I am always trying to convey a feeling, an atmosphere, a mood.  I am in search of the ethereal moments in life; that transcend the normal day-to-day events. To me; that is what inspires me to paint. I try to capture a “soulful essence“ of a harbor or a scene.  It is really my ‘Maine’ focus.
I truly feel rewarded when a collector brings their own life experiences to one of my paintings and
feels an ultra-strong emotional connection to one of my pieces: to the point where they want to have it in their own home. That completes the circle of creativity and is such a wonderful thing.
For me, the heart-to-heart connection really is it.

Below are several links to learn more about Hamilton and see all of his available works.

John LeCours – Artist Page

John LeCours- THE BLOG – Artist Insights and Stories





Holly Ready – The Choice Show 2021

The consistency of a day beginning and a day ending, sunrise and sunset, yet the uniqueness of each day, each offering a new beginning, each an ending.  The span of time—Time being realized and the passing of time is illustrated so literally watching the sun rise and set.
There’s something magical about watching the sun rise and set.  Maybe it’s the rapid progression of light filling the sky first thing in the morning or watching it fade at nightfall, or maybe it’s just the fact that it makes one aware of how quickly time passes.  Within minutes the flow of sunrise burst into the dawn of a new day.  Likewise, in evening, a glowing sun slowly sinks into the sky, and then we see it no more in an instant.  This progression of time fascinates me and keeps my palette alive with yellows, reds, and oranges.  Perhaps more than any year in the past, 2020 and the beginning of 2021 have brought the passing of time to the forefront.  One day leads to another, the unknown ahead.  Enjoying evening walks to the beach to watch the sunset and up early to watch it rise became an event in my life.  It took the place of visiting with friends and going out to eat.  My sunrises and sunsets marked each day we came closer to being back to a relatively normal way of life.  Enjoying each sunrise and sunset gave me inspiration for a new painting, more so this year than any other.  Hope for a new day. Thanks for the day done.
Loosely painted, Awakening, in its soft color relationship, is a capture of time of uncertainty.  Light is abstractly filling the canvas through warm and cool grays of dawn.  It’s more the emotion of sunrise, the beginning of a new day, rather than the actual sunrise itself.  Little definition to the landscape enhances this feeling, directing the viewer to think less of an exact place and more towards the procession of light filling the sky.
There’s a quiet little cove I’ve watched the sun rise over for so many years.  Nothing brings me such inner peace to wake up to see the small boats tied to their moorings welcoming a new day.  The still waters, the cry of the sea birds, and the warming sun rising from over the sea early in the morning.  Boats at Dawn captures this inner peace. Boats at Dawn has a totally different feeling from Awakening.  It’s the beginning of a sunny summer day.  The cool blue sky filling with light as it reflects on the water and shore. It feels safe and peaceful.  The small boats tucked into the sandy cove await a day on the ocean.
Unlike the warm yellows, oranges, and reds of some of my other sunrises,  Enlightened and Midsummer Sunrise focuses on the mornings’ cool blues, allowing a few warm lights to peak through.  They both show the presence of light without showing the source.  The focus is more on the cloud formations stretching over the shore at dawn.  There’s beauty in the blues, but a sunny day ahead is questionable.
The two sunsets, Last Glow and Retreat are very different from one another, yet both sunsets happened on the same beach.  Last Glow is vibrant and fiery, signaling a last hurrah, while in Retreat the sun quietly sinks below the horizon without a lot of commotion.  There’s an elegant silence to this one.

Below are several links to learn more about Ready and see all of her available works.

Holly Ready- Artist Page




Rick Hamilton – The Choice Show 2021


“My main motivation behind my work is making connections with people. I love to talk about my work and to hear how it may affect someone. I am a self-taught artist. I use wooden panels that I put together myself. When I am working on a piece, I use multiple layers of paint. I use sanders, scrapers, and heat to create textures. I don’t paint from photographs or models. All of the images are from my head. I may be having a conversation with someone and hear a saying or sentence that inspires a painting. Or maybe I would hear a line in a song that puts an idea in my head.”

“I am really enjoying adding some abstract styles and methods to my work while keeping the figurative parts. ”

Below are several links to learn more about Hamilton and see all of his available works.

Rick Hamilton – Artist Page

Rick Hamilton- THE BLOG – Artist Insights and Stories




Christine Brenner – The Choice Show 2021

Christine Brenner

Despite spending seven or eight months a year traveling in the U.S. and abroad, Maine retains a particularity that hasn’t been rivaled. The Mediterranean coastlines of Spain and Italy are enchanting, and the Atlantic coast of Morocco is spectacular, but Maine has a taste all its own.

Although I revel in the sight of the sea, it’s the Maine light that grabs me. The uncluttered skies hint at the smell of brine, mussels, seaweed, lobster, fish, ducks, and birds. Salty marshes, mysterious dunes, or the sea itself inhabit the lower edge of the painting and gently hold the sky and its moods for our contemplation. The briny sea air, the changing moon, a star, chartreuse morning mist, a lone tree contorted by the challenges of untamed weather are the elements that inspire my work.

Painting and Maine are inseparable!

Below are several links to learn more about Brenner and see all of her available works.

Christine Brenner – Artist Page