Meet the Artists
Sources for ideas for my sculpture come from flora and fauna and small biological specimens. This organic iconography suggests themes of germination, growth, cyclic changes, and regeneration. By enlarging the size of the forms, I wish to make the viewer aware of his/her size in relation to one's environment. The driving theme of my work is exploring and enhancing the spiritual and physical connection to the natural world. Her work ranges from small handheld pieces, shown in galleries, to human-size pieces, carved from logs, which are displayed in outdoor site sculpture shows throughout the US.
John Bowdren paints in oils, acrylics, watercolor and woodblock prints. He sculpts in wood and metal. He is a graduate from the School of Visual Arts in NY. "The sun on the coast, lighting up a wharf or boat, highlighting a treetop as the sun sets, the way light can show a new and interesting composition or fuse color and atmosphere into a scene that clicks and something goes 'Aha, that would make a good painting' are the reasons I paint and the Maine coast offers so many places to explore and be surprised by."
Catherine Breer studied painting at the Atlanta College of Art and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has exhibited widely throughout New England, including a show in 2005 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her work is vibrant, colorful and full of life. "Life speeds by like the blur out of a car window. Children grow, seasons change, love is lost and renewed again. I want to capture the ordinary moments of life. For it is in these ordinary moments, for a fleeting second, that the extraordinary suddenly appears. I want to see them, capture them and keep them in my heart."
I classify my work as Expressionist Landscape. I build compositions based on the colors I see in nature, and also those I sense working beneath the surface. I am influenced by Mark Rothko's later color field paintings, the repetitions of Minimalist music, and the qualities of light and sky. My technique combines simultaneous building up and reducing of the compositional subject matter through the use of multiple layers of paint. The natural beauty surrounding me in Maine never ceases to inspire me.
I am primarily a studio artist. While much of my inspiration comes from the world around us, the majority comes from within. I believe that we are primarily spiritual beings, and as such we are intrinsically connected to all that is "Creation". I'm a big fan of beauty - that is my primary focus. Beauty is all around us. It can be seen as well as felt and experienced with all the senses. When creating a piece of art I draw from what I see in nature and what I see with the eyes of the heart. I am a student of the language of color and light. My passion is to express and impact the longings of the human spirit through this silent voice.
Every painting is something of an adventure, a small journey into territory that is both familiar and strange, the final destination unknown at the start. Most of my paintings begin in response to things that intrigue or delight me: the colors and forms of fruits and vegetables; kitchen utensils, fabrics, and pots; the sights, scents and sounds of a walk outside; or the shape-shifting of clouds across the sky. People often comment that my paintings are "happy" and "cheerful." While I don't set out to make "happy paintings," painting is for me largely a celebratory act -- using the sensory language of paint to express my curiosity, fascination, and gratitude for life, the natural world and, of course, color!
The creation of art provides me an opportunity for internal and external exploration. I use the creative practice as a way to process the world. As my hands move around the work, the gears in my head turn. The thoughts running through my mind at the time--challenges, fears, insights--all become shaped and processed while I work.
Award-winning artist Suzanne deLesseps is passionate about painting the landscape in pastels and oils. She travels in Maine and the western U.S. as well as in France and Italy. "As an artist, my work is always evolving and changing as I set new goals and discover new ways to interpret the landscape. I paint en plein air as often as possible to gather the information that later serves as inspiration for more intuitive painting and experimentation in the studio. Here the actual process of painting becomes the main objective. The outcome is unknown and that's what makes it exciting!"
Light, alignment, vibrant color and simplicity define my work. I find great joy in a full range of subjects sharing an intensity of light and saturation of color. From the intense, sun-permeated colors of Provence, to the moist blue-green values of New England, I discover the vibrancy, subtlety and shadow that nature may offer at a given moment. I also delight in the form, texture and color found in every day objects. My work is always evolving as I discover new ways to experiment with the pastel medium, watercolors and oils.
Judine French is a self-taught artist who came to painting watercolors after a successful career as a professional interior house painter. She now creatively utilizes her bold color sense to render works of art on paper. She exhibits in fine art galleries all along the coast of Maine. "I love the medium of watercolor. It allows me to reach the artist within. Using the entire palette, I attempt to capture and express the beauty around me. Nature through my eyes is very colorful and joyous."
William Hallett's earliest memories are of his childhood years growing up in Mexico City. The unforgettable vivid, intense colors and exotic atmosphere now come boldly through on his canvas. Being awed by the old masters in Europe as a young man inspired him, but, the final impetus came from his father-in-law Peter Geist's encouragements here in Maine on Matinicus Island. Now you'll find Williams work in many fine art galleries along the east coast. "Color stimulates me the most. I see infinite possibilities between shadow and light creating a particular mood and atmosphere that play on the landscape and architecture of Maine."
Varvara Harmon is an internationally-acclaimed artist. She was born and raised in Russia where she received her degree in fine arts. She has received numerous awards worldwide for her accomplished works in oil and acrylic. Her art has been published in many of the best art-related books and magazines. She also gives private lessons or group workshops in oils, acrylics and watercolor. "It takes the vision of an artist to notice the inspiration and capture the beauty of nature on canvas. I start with an idea in mind, add elements from my own photographs, and then I let my imagination take over."
Bobbi Heath studied painting with Suzanne Harden and Tina Ingraham. Bobbi paints in oils, and in gouache, and teaches a two day "Daily Painting" workshop at River Arts in Damariscotta. Her work includes landscapes of her favorite coastal haunts in Maine, travel destinations elsewhere in the U.S. and Europe, and paintings of still life and figure subjects. "For me painting is largely about nature and the ways to enjoy it. Sailing, cooking native specialties, and hiking on the beach all inspire me. Painting en plein air is my way of getting to know a new place. Traveling in New England and Europe are inspiring."
Diana paints Maine's colorful peaceful places. Her focus is the landscape and her first impression of a scene becomes a lasting impression when she paints it. Diana Johnson has received numerous awards for her paintings. She offers art classes in Yarmouth, Freeport, and Cumberland. "The beauty that surrounds us here is magical. Painting is my way to share what I notice about the world we live in." ~Diana
"To gaze upon one of Diana Johnson's paintings is to travel through space and time to a place you may once have been or may yet to go, creating a longing for a certain feeling or ethereal quality that experience tells us is good." ~James Peak, Portland Press Herald 8/6/13
I am inspired by the natural world, the shapes, patterns, colors and form have been making their way into my artwork since I was a child. Over the years I have explored many different mediums in my artistic endeavors. I love Painting with acrylic and encaustic. It seems that Encaustic medium has emerged as one of my favorite mediums. The Wilderland Project: A yearlong study of the slice of heaven where the Kennebec River joins the Gulf of Maine. Going out into nature everyday is a gift, I am always discovering something new while exploring, photographing, painting and writing about this magical place.
I grew up spending much of my time backpacking deep in the remote wilds of Maine learning and exploring with my father a teacher and Senior Maine Guide with a family of girls. My paintings reflect what it is like to feel free, grounded and as comfortable as a woodland nymph in a rugged masculine landscape. The use of a palette knife to paint with allows me to share that feeling visually.
Since early childhood I have been drawn to repetitive graphic imagery and to the intrigue of maps and geography. In my current body of work I am using bird images, idiosyncratic mapmaking symbols, and landscape metaphorically to explore the relationship between our knowledge of place and interior spaces of the psyche.
I have been a wildlife carver for over 30 years after graduating with a degree in sculpture from MECA. I primarily carve detailed birds and fish from tupelo wood and after burning in each barb and quill of feathers I paint them in acrylic. I love capturing the essence of the animal I am carving, creating a moment in their natural environment. I have done 100's of bird carvings from the tiniest hummingbird to a full size snowy owl and a full size flying great blue heron. I especially enjoy commissions from customers who want to a specific bird in a unique setting. I never grow tired of the inspiration or the process of bringing my work to life.
Laurie's work is in many private and corporate collections and fine art galleries. She is a signature member of The New England Watercolor Society and The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society. She enjoys interpreting what is around her in original and thoughtful ways. Color, patterns, good design, and experimenting are the essence of her work. "Being inspired by my travels, nature, music and dance, I focus primarily on painting abstract and non-objective paintings. My goal is to capture and then share with the viewer the energy and enthusiasm I see and feel about a place. I have an endless supply of paintings waiting to be shared."
Betsy's work is farm to frame - an exploration and highlight of the mood, joy, and gestures of local farm animals in their bucolic settings. Their simplicity and energy are displayed in her oil paintings showing the unique characteristics of each animal, be they whimsical or serious, as their form and surroundings interplay with the ever-changing light. Betsy savors in bringing the New England landscape, people and animals to canvas and delights in it's inherent beauty.
Three of my favorite subjects to paint are flowers, animals and the sea. There is something magical in the simplest flowers, and they evoke a lot of happiness for me. I have lived in Maine since 1970, and find the ocean an unending source of peace and pleasure. Through painting these subjects I have the pleasure of exploring their beauty and spending extended time in their presence, throughout the year. Birds, wildlife and farm animals often find their way as subject matter in my sgraffito designs on porcelain pieces.
Art is my way to compose visual poetry and embody wisdoms. I love to use words, colors, and images to reveal the interplay of hidden and perceived realities. As a Chinese immigrant, I use paintings to communicate my urge of translating the East to the West, ancient to contemporary. These contrasts allow me to create layers of rich meanings and engage audience in multiple levels: aesthetically, personally, and spiritually.
Jennifer Van Cor
I have painted the landscape for many years and it has always tantalized my senses: the smell and feel of wet grass, the sound of leaves, the shape of a shadow and all the color, a universe of color. Painting mainly in acrylic, I layer colors into shapes using defined brushwork. Each stroke of the brush brings the surface forward and shows the active process of painting. My goal is to capture the creative forces I feel in nature and as my landscapes progress, they become more about my connection to the energy of a place rather than the place itself. If there is one constant element in my work it is all about color.
Michael is intrigued with the timelessness in change in his paintings. They show a love of color and light with emphasis on the expressive painterly mark and form, which evoke a recognizable feeling, a nostalgic memory, or emotional qualities such as the smell of salt and balsam in the air. He was the first place winner of the 2015 Castine Plein Air Festival and a signature member of the New England Watercolor Society. Paintings that are filled with a surprising amount of information, spontaneously understated detail, descriptive movement, and uniqueness of light in the atmosphere are characteristics of his personality.
Neil Wyrick has been painting in oils for over 20 years. He studied art in Seattle, Washington, where he received his degree in fine arts. He won numerous awards for his work on the west coast and quickly found himself in galleries on the east coast as well. With his saturated colors and profound shadows, his paintings evokes a feeling of joyous optimism. "I strive to give each canvas a sense of energy and activity with the use bright colors and deep shadows. My paintings begin as something quite abstract and quickly transcend into something more impressionistic."