Category Archives: North Berwick
The last place I ever expected to be is here. And. I will admit it. It feels like I am selling out. But only sort of.
I did a lot of realism, and thoroughly loved what I did 12-14 years ago. Because I made statements with it. Pieces likes “I Ain’t Gonna Work” were not designed to be pretty pictures.
This is “The Tractor” (not the formal name) This is a social statement about where we are with small farms:
This is the last commission. No politics, no comment, but it feeds me and the cat.
And, I really don’t want to make overt political statements with my art. I really want to make people scratch their heads and say, “Huh?” But, I am almost thinking that we might be beyond that stage too.
Rick Burns approached Carolyn Chute, who is a personal friend of his, to be part of the Berwick Art Association events. Carolyn Chute wrote “The Beans of Egypt, Maine” and has an incredibly well-reviewed book that was released over the summer called “Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves.” The event he had in mind was at the North Berwick Library, a BAA show opening, but it was scheduled too early for him to pick her up and get her there by 10AM. I was contacted about the library possibility first. Since it was already arranged and the library closes at 1, the next alternative was Blackbird Studio and Gallery. 17 of the 18 members of BAA are also part of this great little collaborative in North Berwick. It all made sense to all parties involved, and what an event it became.
For the first hour, people lined up and had books signed. She also gave interviews to Bob Keyes from the Portland Press Herald and Erin Duquette who has the art blog MODspoke, and is also a member of Blackbird. Erin also filmed some of the event.
From about 2:00 to 2:45, she answered questions from the attendants.
Carolyn Chute is an incredibly warm person. As real as real comes. I am so heart-warmed by her honesty that I almost feel like I need all of her books.
Nice way to kick off our new show which also looks incredible!
The next Blackbird Gallery event, which is our grand opening celebration is on May 2. Please join us.
What a way to reopen!
Blackbird Studio and Gallery is very honored to host our reopening for 2015 with a special guest author, Carolyn Chute, who will give a talk and book-signing next Saturday, April 18, from 1-3 pm.
I stopped by today, to see the new ceiling. We will be ready.
The gallery officially reopens on Wednesday.
We are planning a variety of events throughout the season, so please visit blackbirdmaine.org
I have a favorite new work of mine.
As I am allowing myself to explore, reinvent, and recombine that which I’ve done before-none of this is new territory if you know my entire body of work-but I continue to surprise myself.
I am far more comfortable in a larger format on canvas than on paper, but that is changing.
“The Folly of Sentiment” is another flex of my artistic muscle where I am employing some of the new things that I am seeing, but more so, utilizing materials and techniques, palettes, etc that I have in the past and combining them in different ways. “Valentine”, presently at the BUOY Gallery in Kittery, Maine, was the first of the “Portraits” to include assemblage elements, with bits of magazine photos. I found foil paper and a plastic mesh “bag” (which I cut apart and stretched) to integrate into this piece.
The last Blackbird Studio and Gallery newsletter reiterated something that I said at an opening, but I am not entirely sure it is 100% correct. It said that I am being “influenced” by whose working around me. I don’t doubt that that is happening but this little piece, painted just after I broke my leg, might show that the “Portraits” have always been there.
The “Portrait” series actually has an even earlier ancestor in a series called “Everyman”, which dates back to 1990. So, it really is too soon to say the influences come from Blackbird, which isn’t a bad thing, but more that those influences have awakened other muses within me, that were just dormant. I don’t have digital images of the “Everyman” series yet, but they are also the predecessors of the large 2014 canvas “Chasing the Sun”.
This and a few other new pieces will be in the opening exhibit at Blackbird Studio and Gallery. We are also very proud to be hosting a visit by Carolyn Chute, author of “The Beans of Egypt, Maine”. Please join us for this event on April 18, from 1-3.
The next couple of months will be very big for the visual arts in the area. Events are starting to overlap, and I can only be in so many places at once!!
This is my contribution to artwork offerings.
I hope all can attend!
Blackbird Studio and Gallery is closed for the season. I have been trying to get there since Tuesday to pick up my work since the temperatures have been very frigid and tonight promises to break records. About half of the work is gone now, and I got sort of a melancholy feeling as I locked the door.
It was a good first season. We learned a lot in the process, and I am sure next year will be even better.
I am not hibernating though. I have a mega-solo scheduled for next month in Sanbornville at the Gafney Library, so having all of this work from Sole City and Blackbird home now is only a temporary phenomenon.
Can’t wait ’til Blackbird reopens and spring is here. It’s already been a weird cold, icy winter.
This whole corridor of southeastern Maine and New Hampshire, including the Berwicks, York and Kittery in Maine, and Dover, Somersworth, Rollinsford, and Rochester in New Hampshire have literally come alive since I moved back to the area in 2005. I have become very involved in two of the art associations, and the I am Show Coordinator for one, as well as on the curatorial board of the Rochester Museum of Fine Art.
The area has not kept up with gallery creation, and the economy still doesn’t support that kind of a venture without a “safety net”, but there are many great supportive venues like the libraries in the area.
I have shown five times at the Rochester Library in the new wing, where Peggy Trout arranges monthly shows with local artists and art groups. The old wing, or the Carnegie wing, displays some of the permanent collection of the Rochester Museum of Fine Art on the main floor. The Carnegie Gallery on the 2nd floor, is where the rotating and borrowed exhibits are hung.
Beth Wittenberg is on display on the main floor. Beth is a very active member of the Berwick Art Association and also a member of Blackbird Studio and Gallery, so we have shared lots of walls together. Beth and I also share a very special connection with art-making, where it seems neither of us have to rely on a muse, inspiration or even a good cup of coffee to need to make art.
What I love about Beth’s work is there is always more than meets the eye. In these pieces from 2013 and 2014, she works very splattered and loose watercolor abstracts into pen-ink fantasy characters, that have color. As an abstract painter, I get lost in looking at the paint below the ink, and then float back to the finished work, appreciating it on multiple levels.
Upstairs, in the Carnegie Gallery are a collection of Dawn Boyer’s oils. Until I brush on my critiquing skills, I will respond as I have to Beth’s-as it relates to my work. Though she is responding to florals, I am looking beyond that again at paint and color. The brush work is solid and experienced. There isn’t hesitation. Nor, is there any immaturity in the palette-it is also self-assured.
Both of these shows will be up through the end of the month.
And, I will probably need to expand the corridor as I described it because I have been invited to show at the Gafney Library in Sanbornville, New Hampshire next month. Another 20 miles north of here.
I stopped by Blackbird Studio today because a good friend wanted to check out the new show-and show her support by making a few small purchases.
As we sat drinking our beverages and gossiping in the gallery, the light snow fell softly outside. We watched it through the window, rimmed with a pine cone swag, as the fire crackled in the wood stove.
Yes, a very different kind of gallery and Christmas shopping sort of experience.
As Steffanie was about to leave, I was going to make an exit as well, but a car pulled into the lot, so I decided to stick around. A family had driven from Canterbury, New Hampshire-quite a hike from North Berwick, Maine, to visit.
I hope more people like them take the time to pay a visit as well.
I had two show openings this week-end.
The one at Edward Jones in Kittery, Maine is a part of a satellite program of the KAA, and I have 6 pieces there that will hang until April, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/kitteryartassociation?fref=photo for more information-and there is a picture of three of the artists (including me) and the curator, Judy Bryant.
“Fall to Earth” is the last regular show at Blackbird, and runs through December 7. This collective of 15 artists produces in my estimation, the best work in the area. There is no lack of variety, ingenuity, or experimentation. The work is on the grounds as well as inside. I have 9 framed pieces and around 30 unframed pieces as well as painted light switch plates and beaded handbags available for purchase.
Our opening receptions have also included live music. Since we had a brief period of rain yesterday, the Rogue Town Managers moved inside. When the rain stopped, they moved back outside to entertain those seated under two tents.
The gallery hours are 11-6, Wednesday-Sunday. You might also catch prints being pulled off the flatbed press, an installation being mapped out, an artist being interviewed for MODspoke, a local e-zine, as well. 387 Somersworth Rd. (Rte. 9), North Berwick, Maine.