Secrets of Summer – Bethany Harper Williams, Artist Choice

“I am drawn to the water – it’s what inspires and energizes me – the colors, the sound, the smells, the calm, and the movement. It overwhelms my senses and gives me energy. When I’m painting water, I find that same energy,” says Artist Bethany Harper Williams, one of thirteen artists in the 8th Annual Choice Art Show on Maine Art Hill.

Williams loves the Maine landscape and all it has to offer, both from a physical perspective and a visual perspective. For her, the beautiful beaches and water provide an area to play and create beautiful memories, as well as the inspiration to capture those memories and make them last forever.

“My work explores the shared emotion many of us have to our memories of the beach. As much as it is important the image feels real, I don’t want to get caught up in the reality of the image,” explains Williams. “I want the viewer to take a second, or third, or fourth, look and discover a shape or a pattern and the whimsy in the painting that may not be visible at first glance or from a distance.”

The expanse of beach and water allows Williams to play with texture, shape, and color, abstracting the elements, but using figures or boats to put everything into context. Her addition of geometric patterns in her paint, however, often spark questions.

“I like creating the unexpected. Adding little circles or squares serves as a reminder that it is not a photograph, but inspiration from a moment in time,” explains Williams. “Sometimes, when I’m painting, I get too tight trying to be too real, and I have to step back and loosen up.”

With the Beach Days series, even the artist never knows where the people are going to be on the painting until she starts painting them. Populating the canvas with these little gems of color, she follows where her palette knife takes her. The intention is to find the energy and character of the people through very simple but deliberate brushstrokes. “I feel as if my hand dances across the canvas as I place each person,” says Williams, “composing a rhythm of color.”

“When I see the lobster boats in the water I think of the adventures these simple boats have experienced out on the ocean and the personalities of the people on the boats,” Williams shares. “I love the weathered look and the character of each lobster boat. The water gives me a space to play with shapes, colors, textures, and energetic brushstrokes. The boats give this abstracted area a context.”

Recently Williams began adding sailboats to her repertoire, both up close and far away. She captures both the energy of sailing through her brushstrokes and the calm through the subtle colors and open space.

Secrets of Summer, Williams’s Artist Choice, shows this combination of energy and calm. The long horizontal format provides open space to play with textures, shapes, and patterns in the sand, giving a sense of whimsy and energy, while the open space offers a calmness.

Bethany Harper Williams has three works at Shows on Maine Art Hill for the 8th Annual Choice Art Show.  The Choice Show can be seen every day from 10 am to 5 pm at the 10 Chase Hill Road address, as well as online at The 8th Annual Choice Art Show.

To learn more about this artist follow the links below

Bethany Harper Williams’s Artist Insights and Stories

Bethany Harper Williams’s Complete Collection at Maine Art Hill