When Winter is White

There are some Maine residents that escape to warmer climates by December.  They don’t like the cold and hate the snow. There are also many who were born and raised, or transplanted by choice, who may not love an overabundance of the snow, like that which covered us from January to April last year. However, we have certainly grown fond of Mother Nature’s blanket holding us captive in front of fires, celebrating a day off from school and freezing the pond for skating. Then, there are “the crazies” – those who love it. They dream of skiing while they sit on the beach. They count the days until the snow sled is allowed out of the garage. They even wait patiently to cut holes in the lake and sit all day on frozen water and call it fishing.  For them, we are sorry that this year Thanksgiving was spent at the beach or golf course, Christmas should have been a BBQ and the Snow Sled Parade in northern Maine was an ATV extravaganza. For them, we are sharing a little reminder of, “when winter is white.”

Many will say, “If you don’t like the weather in Maine, wait a minute.”  This is funny.  When this post began, lawns were almost green. Now, as the finishing touches are added and links are being put in, Maine has been covered by the wintery white stuff  which we have been missing for most of the season. Finally, we are in it.  Maine Art and our artists are thrilled with this. We love snow as much as we love the sun… or almost as much.

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Craig Mooney, the master of the beachscape, is a skier in disguise; a snow bunny, not a snow bird. This is obvious in Snow Blanket, where he captures the quiet serenity and peace only a snow-covered landscape holds.  Many locals would love to be trapped in the little cabin which sits so perfectly in Hidden Cabin.

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Then there is Jill Valliere. This time of year she normally lives surrounded by a winter wonderland. Pieces like Carried Away and Catching the Drift are a beautiful representation of what is ordinarily her back yard.  As February arrives, she is finally enjoying the beautiful bend of trees under this new-fallen snow and the crystal-coated branches which are often her inspiration.

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Valliere is not the only one of our artists who finds beauty in the winter trees. Artist Susan Wahlrab captures the whitewashed branches with her unique watercolor technique.  First Snow and Snowflake are both done on claybord and finished with varnish.  The paths that she travels are familiar and mysterious at the same time.  They capture you and bring out a desire to find your own winter walk in the woods.

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Lastly, there is Jeffrey Fitzgerald’s Silver and Skyward Boys.  These two hint to a cooler time and place.  A place where the rocks, shells and sea life are in a sleepier spot to wait out the winter.  The silver and blue whisper of winter, and bring us back to the coast of Maine during a time of year many others leave it behind. This place is a local place.  It is the sunny day in February that often lures us back to the rocks for a just a few moments in the sun.

Our hope is not to jinx, but just to remind of the wonderland we call home. Mother Nature kept us waiting in anticipation, but has now decided to decorate Maine in a way we here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture are much more accustomed to this time of year. There is no way to know how much snow will come between now and spring. It will be welcome. Maybe not when we are shoveling it, but at least when we are sledding, skiing and walking through what we love about winter in Maine.

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The Sculpture

When someone asks of art in Maine, the mind goes to seascapes and fishing boats; classic Maine scenes captured in oil, acrylic or watercolor hung on walls in memory of a time and place lest we forget the beauty. Yet, when walking into Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, one quickly realizes it is more than just one-dimensional. Here, among the canvases, is sculpture.

Sculpture, by definition, is the art of making two- or three-dimensional representative or abstract forms, especially by carving stone or wood or by casting metal or plaster. Though Webster says this in the most succinct way, it lacks the passion and awe that sculpture evokes.  Helen Keller held the key to the best way to experience sculpture. “I sometimes wonder if the hand is not more sensitive to the beauties of sculpture than the eye. I should think the wonderful rhythmical flow of lines and curves could be more subtly felt than seen,” she said. Great sculpture draws the hand as well as the eye. Our fingers lift and twitch with the overwhelming desire to touch it.

When viewing James Rivington Pyne’s Diver, this need is very real.  If tracing a finger from the tip of her toes to the end of her fingers, the impression of diving into the cool water of summer time is present. The smooth lines and deep colors of this piece hold the sense of water gliding over skin and blocks out everything else. There is an understanding of the sculpture. You have been there.


Elizabeth Ostrander agrees. “Both gentleness and strength inhabit my sculptures. Their quiet joy is a ‘hooray’ for life. It can be a reminder that we can all meet in that wisdom place. And sculpture also invites touch and the soothing experience of graceful shape and the nuance of texture,” says Ostrander. Her sculptures, while still using human form, find a mingling of nature and man, or more often, woman. In her piece, Trust, Elizabeth captures that connection with nature. The smoothness of her skin and softness of her closed eyes begs for a touch which connects the viewer to the art.


Though Webster’s definition indicates a casting or carving, which both Pyne and Ostrander do so well, modern art has discovered a repurposing or redesigning of materials to convert the normal and familiar into the beautiful. Patrick Plourde does this well.  His work still demands the viewer to engage, to reach out, but the emotion is different. Spigot Flowers is one of these pieces.  The repurposing of the water spigots in this piece immediately brings memories of summertime sprinklers. You know the metal is cool to the touch as it pulls a knowing smile full of old friends and family gatherings. Plourde collects such items and blends them flawlessly into his work.


These are the sculptures of Maine.  Maine art and Maine memories.  We welcome you to come in, visit, and see for yourself the beauty of Maine in three-dimension.  You will find us at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk.  Check for our website for winter hours. www.maine-art.com.

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For the Love of Red


For the month of February, Kennebunkport is turning red – every shade of red.  Driven by the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, we are embracing the month of February and all it stands for.  The town will transform its normal winter wonderland into a sea of scarlet lights and ribbons. Visitors will find amazing deals on hotels stays, restaurants and of course, shopping. If you are in doubt for what to do to celebrate this very special time of year, look no further; Kennebunkport is ready and waiting for you to Paint the Town Red.

Audrey Hepburn, the woman that personifies the color, said, “There is a shade of red for every woman.”  Whether it be crimson, rose or ruby, we all love our favorite shades. The artists at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture do too. They know how to capture not only your interest, but your emotions with sweeps and strokes of this most remarkable color. “Red is the color of extremes. It’s the color of passionate love, seduction, violence, danger, anger and adventure,” says Color Matters.  “It is the color of energy and primal life forces.”  Our very own Robin Mix is skilled at swirling this fire and spirit into his glass sculptures.  Pieces like Temple of Doom and Roualt Red with Orange are filled with power, or you can find the calm and gentle love delicately blended in pinks in his piece Pink Smoke.

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The walls of Maine Art are proof of the varied emotions this color can produce.  The bright reds Mother Nature herself provides, especially in the flora that surround our state, bring a smile and much happiness with just a glimpse. They are a reminder of love and passion even in nature. Karen McManus, Sandra L. Dunn and Monique Sakellarios all capture this in acrylic. Summer Harbor Hollyhocks, Opium Field and Paula’s Poppies will bring joy to any room.

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There is the fun and whimsy of a carefree color that excites both adventure and amusement.  Though their works are very different, each of these artists loves the effect this color produces.  Home Slice by Trip Park, William B. Hoyt’s Clippers and Dillan, David Whitbeck’s much loved lobsterman, each grab your attention.  Amazingly, not only does the wonderful red tone catch your eye, it holds it.

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Lastly, you will find the classic red that is scattered throughout Maine.  Her barns and boats come alive with dark shades of crimson and cinnamon. They are iconic. In Russia, the word “red” means beautiful. No other word is necessary for the feelings of home and warmth that radiate from works like Mountain Barns from Janis H. Sanders, The Red Peaked House by Abbie Williams and Lucky Day from William B. Hoyt. Each draws us in and reminds us of the comfort found inside these places.

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So bring your woman or man, or even just yourself, to the coast of Maine this February and help us celebrate the love found here. Eat, drink, shop and play in Kennebunkport.  We welcome you to visit Maine Art at 14 Western Avenue to check out all artists or visit us at www.maine-art.com.



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This past fall we introduced Liz Hoag to the Maine Art extended family.  The entire first floor of the gallery at 14 Western Ave. was filled with a collection of her work which was centered around her love and interesting perspective of trees. “Tangle” was a wonderful success.  However, Hoag is not the only artist we represent that has a fondness for these incredible works of Mother Nature.


Hermann Hesse, the winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize in literature, wrote, “For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone.”  Our artists have expressed this exact sentiment through paint and brush. The up close look at the intricacies of birch branches like the the work of Liz Hoag, the blur of green from a “tribe” of pine and spruce in Dusk, Mink Island by Karen McManus and of course, the strength and courage found in the simplicity of Lone Pine by Abbie Williams and Majestic Pine by Sandra L. Dunn.

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We are familiar with trees that represent all aspect of our lives: the family tree, the tree of life and even the famous children’s book by Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree.  Strong branches and deep roots are personified in poetry and song all over the world.  Metaphors are found scattered in literature both new and classic. Confetti-like leaves, strong as the old oak, or the centennial pine. For years these wonders of nature have sheltered, decorated and inspired.  So it comes as no surprise that these same themes are seen in art. Be it the famous works of Van Gogh or O’Keefe or new pieces just created, like Catherwoods from Trip Park.  We surround ourselves and celebrate the trees.


Most amazingly, their beauty is found in all forms from the stark bark waiting in hibernation as in Susan Wahlrab’s varnished watercolor, Snowflake or the resting Catharsis from Jill Valliere. We celebrate the color of autumn we see in Edge of the Woods by Alex Dunwoodie or even the promise of spring and new beginnings which Henry Isaacs illustrates in Saturday Afternoon, Santa Barbara. Even in the death or darkness of these plants we find meaning and beauty.  Our own Philip Frey displays this perfectly in Forest Floor.

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We house so many beautiful and inspiring pieces that spark viewers to stop, take a breathe and enjoy.  We welcome you to come in and share them with us. You may just want to wander through and appreciate the work, or maybe, just maybe, you will take one home to help fill your house with this happiness.

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth… whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”  – Hermann Hess

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For the Love of the Beach



Kennebunkport from the Breakwater -William B. Hoyt

We are lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places in Maine.  The Kennebunks have been sited in numerous journals and websites on many “top tens” of Maine, New England and even the Untied States.  We are known for our quaint, coastal village feel and we are just that – a coastal village.  With that comes one of our favorite characteristics of the coast: the place that doesn’t close for the winter, the place where everyone is welcome and the place that reminds us daily of how truly amazing and beautiful our home is. The beach.


In Kennebunkport, Goose Rocks Beach has been voted one of Maine’s top ten beaches. This three-mile stretch of sand is loved by locals, tourists, and of course, artists.  While the rest of us spread out towels and settle in on beach chairs, these local artists mount their easels in the sand and spread out only colors and canvas. We store memories in mere minutes with our cellphones and cameras, while they take the time to capture that tiny piece of paradise in paint.

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Then there are the Kennebunk Beaches. Less than a mile away from the gallery, Kennebunk offers not one, but three beaches.  Each have their own distinct personalities, yet all attract the artist who has the need to capture the wonder of the sea. Gooch’s Beach boosts sand and surf, similar to the grand scapes we see from Craig Mooney. Middle Beach offers a rocky coast of crashing waves and sea creatures, not unlike Jeffery Fitzgerald’s work. Then there is Mother’s Beach. A beach that boasts not only a giant castle making sandbox, but a wonderful playground and safer water for smaller children to make memories like those of artist, Liz Hoag. As diverse as this stretch of coast is, one thing holds true. Artists love them all.

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In the gallery we have a variety of Maine artists.  All have their favorite pieces of Maine, and many, at one point, have found their way to the ocean. We are blessed to be surrounded by work like “Beginning” by Daniel Corey, “Shifting Tide” by Philip Frey and “Jousting” by William B. Hoyt. We are lucky to have skilled and talented artists who are able to beautifully recreate this place we love – this place we call home.


No matter what season you choose to visit our little town, know the beaches will be here to welcome you in.  Stop and smell the sea roses, walk in the sand and enjoy this unique and wondrous coastline.  And of course, please visit us here at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Ave.  We will be happy to help you find a little piece of Maine and her beaches to take home with you.


Pines and Roses by Janis Sanders

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Happy New Year with Henry Isaacs

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Reflection is inevitable and often fun.  Yet in this day of social media and digital storytelling, remembering becomes visual as much as mental. Our past is captured in our minds and memories, but also on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  For those of us that have a bit of trouble remembering what we had for breakfast, this is wonderful perk when reflecting on all moments of 2015. Thank you to all.

However, as interesting as it is to look back at what the past year was, we are much more excited to look ahead to what 2016 has in store. New artists, new shows and a new season. As we check in with all of our Maine Art family, we realize we are not the only ones looking forward to a new and exciting year. Henry Isaacs, one of our artists, is embracing the new year as well.

“This winter, I will celebrate a new studio in Portland,” shared Isaacs in a recent talk about his work. “This will bring new images from walks around the peninsula, South Portland, Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth and beyond.”  A change in scenery can always breathe new life into an artist. Henry has a wonderful and interesting perspective about his new place. “I’ve lived in remote areas for so long that the ‘big city’ sits out there fun and fascinating.”

His winter’s work will include glimpses of landscape vistas and rural scenery, but will also incorporate figures within the glimpses of beaches and parks. “I remain a fan of the great Hudson River School painters,” he says, “yet they painted a world devoid of humans; a garden of eden that didn’t exist then or today.” Henry is ready to incorporate the people that love and live here into the places he so beautifully captures.

Henry was kind enough to share a few paintings from a project in California, but as for the new works from Maine, he tells us to ‘stay tuned.’ New and exciting is always full of emotion. For us, the anticipation of Henry’s new work is one of the many things we are looking forward to in the new year. So, in the wise, wise words of Henry Isaacs, “We will see.”


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Sail Away with Sandra Dunn

The coast of Maine is dotted with vessels of every sort.  Sailboats, lobster boats, fishing boats, yachts and the occasional cruise ship. People come from all over to visit Boothbay Harbor for Windjammer Days or plan trips to Portland to see the Tall Ships.  Of course our own Kennebunk Harbor boasts a variety of trips and an array of boats for visitors and locals to have a chance to be out on the open ocean. When in town try The Pineapple Ketch or The Schooner Eleanor for starters. Also, the Kennebunk Chamber of Commerce is very helpful.

Now some of us love the feel of the sea air, some of us the love the feel of the ocean spray and some of us love the feel of solid ground under our feet as we stand on shore and watch from a distance. Regardless, the beauty of the ships of Maine is alluring. One of our artists, Sandra Leinonen Dunn, is in the latter category.  However, she has recently produced a collection of tall ship pieces which are wonderful part of our Holiday Show.

“I’m not sure ‘from whence’  this series  comes since I don’t even like boats!” says Sandra when asked about this group of work.  “My husband, who is a photographer, recently spent four days on a schooner and came home with some lovely photographs.  I asked him to print me out some images to use as photo references.”  With opportunity being the mother of invention, the small vertical canvases she already had in her studio seemed an ideal format for a tall ship painting.  “I kept the palette and background simple. This seemed to create a very peaceful feeling to the paintings,” says Dunn.

The series kept growing, upward of a dozen to date.  With this came the need to investigate the the structure of old sailing vessels. Bilges and booms, masts and main sails, she immersed herself in this world. “These ship paintings feel like a fantasy,” says Dunn. “I think psychologically the ships somehow encapsulate the feeling I have at times of wanting to just ‘sail’ out of my life!”

In the works, Emerald Sea and Misty Harbor, it is easy to see what Sandra L. Dunn means when she talks about escaping.  Fantasy, history and folklore are easily intertwined and allow us to sail away right along with her.  In this years Holiday Show, Sandra has offered four pieces from this series.  All are oil on canvas and only twelve inches by four.  Individually they are stunning; as a collection they are captivating.

If you haven’t had a chance to come in to see the Holiday Show in person, we encourage you to add Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture to your “to-do” list.  The show will be open until the end of December.  If you can’t find time to visit, please check out our website to see the complete Holiday Show. The entire gallery is available to view at www.maine-art.com, along with our Holiday hours.

Happy Holidays!

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Jill Valliere; A Day in My Life


“Whenever I am having dinner with someone new, I pose to them this question; ‘Tell me about a day, from the moment you woke up, until the moment you went to bed.’  It’s a wonderful way to learn about a person on a more personal level,” says Jill Valliere. With that said, the tables have been turned and Maine Art is giving you a unique opportunity to learn about Jill on a more personal level.

My internal clock wakes me most days… early, between 4:30 and 5:00 A.M.  Water for my tea is first and foremost. Then I find my perfect spot and watch the sunrise. I sit and sip and wait. My husband is still sleeping, I am patient.  Soon he joins me, and we listen to the news, make breakfast, and finish our tea and coffee. We don’t sit still long, or more so we are not allowed to sit long. Our two Great Danes are ready. The outdoors is calling. We live in Rockland, Maine and are blessed with the property that surrounds our home. A long walk down the trail to the bog makes not only the dogs happy, but Marcel and me, as well.  This is our time.

Once we are back from our walk, we part ways and our days begin.  I try to wrap up any office work before heading downstairs to my studio.  An artist’s work is not all paint and inspiration.  By 9:00, we (the dogs always join me) are settled. The air hums with music or sometimes an audiobook that has caught my interest. Cracking open my jars of various paints, gels and varnishes,  I begin to work.  In my small studio space, I dance about and around the sleeping giants. Oblivious, they spread their 150 lb. bodies across the floor and force me to work around them.  I affectionately call this dance my “core” workout.  The dogs spend most of their time with me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Even without the dogs, most days in the studio I am surrounded by mayhem.  Paint cans open and dripping, mixing containers piled all over, and me, covered in every color mixed that day. To the outsider it may look like chaos, but it is truly how I am most comfortable, most productive.  I can’t be troubled to take the time to put things away,  organize paint colors,  or wash every brush after each use. No, I am here to paint.

I spend a week or two layering acrylic glazes and varnishing in between the layers.  The painting can look a bit strange until… the “power sander treatment.”  This is one of my favorite studio moments. When my painting is ready, I use the power sander to break through the layers of color. It is so exciting to see what emerges.  

Midday, my youngest dog, Jaxson, reminds me it’s time for a break. There is a gentle, but continuous, tapping on my fanny with his nose until I put the brushes down and take him outside.  He has a sixth sense when it comes to taking care of me. He knows when I need to take a break and step away from the work. I always come back to the studio refreshed and with a renewed energy for the piece I am working on.  

The day passes too quickly, and it is often hard to know when to wash the brushes and wrap up for the day.  I am intensely focused, and it’s hard to stop. Most days it’s my husband’s headlights coming up the driveway that breaks my trance and reminds me it’s time to finish up.  

It can be a real challenge to have my studio in my home. Sitting with a glass of wine, I switch gears from studio time to home life and welcome Marcel back into my world. Our evenings are filled with all of the usual day’s end activities.  We chat about our day, cook dinner, and often get ready for a ridiculously early bedtime. Darn that early internal alarm clock.  Most nights I fall asleep quickly with a smile on my face. I am a very lucky person to end most of my days feeling happy, fulfilled and excited to start it all over.  


A big thank you to Jill for sharing this intimate look into her life both in and out of her studio.  We are incredibly lucky here at Maine Art to be small enough to still to connect with our artists on such a personal level. In turn, we love the fact that we are able and they are willing to share this with you. 

Jill has several pieces in the Holiday Show including, Seasons End at Somes Sound and Catching the Drift. If you are in the Kennebunks in December please stop in and visit.  We also have a wonderful collection of Jill’s work upstairs at Maine Art or, as always, you can visit Jill’s Artist Page on our website.

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Reverence of Ordinary Things – Alex Dunwoodie

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Through the eyes of a child, everything on the beach is a treasure.  Polished rocks and sea glass, common mussel shells and sand dollars, even a broken fishing lure or a smooth piece of driftwood.  The wonder and beauty is real and present as each tumbles from sand covered fingers into pails labeled  “Do Not Throw Away! Ever!”

And then we grow up…

Yet for those that truly love the ocean – those that always have sand in their shoes, that never take the beach chair out of the trunk – they are still collecting treasures. They line window sills and coffee tables, fill glass jars and bowls and continue to be the holders of seaside beauty and memories. Alex Dunwoodie is one of these people.

“Beauty is to be found in the small things, the cast-offs, the ‘ordinary,’ and we pick these things up — the bone-colored shells on the beach that stand out against the rocks,” says Dunwoodie. “We put them in our pockets and find a place for them on our shelves and in our lives. They take on a new significance in our domestic spaces, and a life of their own. Some even become talismans; more than just decorations, but objects we pick up now and again to appreciate a special quality about them.”

Alex continues to see the ordinary with the awe and wonder of a child. Not only does she keep these treasures for herself, she shares them with us through her work.  “For years I’ve been doing small works of my favorite subjects – fishing lures and shells – but presently I’m devoting a series specifically to the small shells and tiny bric-a-brac that has accumulated in my space over the years.” Dunwoodie had a bit of a revelation as to why she loves these things so much and continues to be devoted to them. “By painting these seemingly insignificant objects in the language of realism, and giving them the great deal of time and intense study that the process requires, I’m honoring them,” Alex shares. “I am showing them my respect and gratitude. Recording them in oils allows me to scrutinize, memorize and consider these objects I love.” In her work, their colors, textures, forms, stories and histories appear.  “I elevate them; sometimes giving them a hint of life, or a new life, within the space of the frame.”

The series is called “Reverence of Ordinary Things.” They are smaller than her typical, already small works. “I’ve just started some that are 4 x 4”,” says Alex. Two pieces from Alex’s “Reverence of Ordinary Things” are part of our present Holiday Show at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, which will run until the end of December. If you are in the Kennebunks for the holidays, please stop in and check our own wonderful collection of Alex Dunwoodie’s work. You can also see more of Dunwoodie’s work on her Artist Page.

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Photographs and Memories – David Witbeck and Fishwife

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a painting is worth a million. Why? It has freedom. It doesn’t have to be exact.  It is better – above what can be captured on film. David Witbeck was a freelance photographer for almost thirty years, so it is not a surprise that he is sometimes asked if he works from photographs. “I don’t,” says Witbeck. “It’s a joy to be freed from the bonds of the objective reality and just make stuff up.” However, as we all can attest to, rules are made to be broken. “Every once in a while though” he admits, “a photograph will trigger an idea.”


“Several months ago my wife and I were looking through piles of old snapshots and came across a picture of us, circa 1988,” shares David. In the background of the photo a beautiful 17’ Swampscott Dory can be seen. It was built by the Landing School in Kennebunk. “We used to rent a house in Tenant’s Harbor for the month of August. We rowed almost every day, regardless of the weather. We had many wonderful times with that little boat.”

David thought it would be fun to somehow use the photo in his art and started a painting. “It became too much of a copy of the photograph, so I abandoned it. It still sits unfinished, face against my studio wall.” Luckily for us, the photograph continued to poke at his imagination. “I kept looking at the photo. I knew there was something that eventually would come from it.”  One morning, months later, he walked into his studio, picked up a piece of charcoal and in an hour or so had a drawing that resulted in one of his most recent woodblock prints, “Fishwife”.


Presently, this woodblock print hangs in the Holiday Show at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture. We welcome you to come to the gallery on 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk to get a first had peek at this print, as well as the rest of the Holiday Show.  We are open from 10 – 5 everyday.  The show will run until December 31st. Remember, you can also see the show on-line at www.maine-art.com.

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