Maine Artist in Oil, Acrylic and Block Print

Maine Artist in Oil, Acrylic and Block Print
"White Mountains Hayfield", Joe Godleski, oil on canvas

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Work

Keuka Lake
Around the Bend
 "Early Spring" was completed yesterday (see below).  For those of you familiar with Brunswick, it's a shot of the Crystal Spring Farm in early spring.  The ewes were very close to lambing, snow was still on the ground and the sky was crystal blue clear.  Working in the panorama format is very comfortable for me because as someone who wears glasses, that's pretty much the normal range of vision.  I also recently completed two works for friends outside Maine - an oil painting of "Keuka Lake" in upstate NY and a mixed media (oil, acrylic, digital image transfer using matte medium) "Around the Bend" from Yorklyn Delaware.  Having just finished a 3 month drawing class with Kathie Boldt, an excellent, excellent instructor, I am resolved for 2011 to feature more plein air and from-life work to balance out the work I have been doing from photo.  Cheers!!!

"Early Spring", Oil on Canvas, 30" by 10"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bates Museum of Art - Excellent Shows

The latest show on the main floor of the Bates Museum of Art in Lewiston is stunningly beautiful. Artist Lalla Essaydi in "Les Femmes du Maroc" combines photography with Arabic calligraphy to present her decidedly non-romanticized vision of Arab women using poses corresponding to the familiar 19th century paintings of Ingres, Delacroix and others. Each picture has a clarity, symmetry and tonal consistency that seem just right for the subjects. The exhibit in total has a resonance that serves to amplify the wonder of each picture. 

The Landscapes of Maine show on the lower floor at Bates contrasts 19th century works by Delbert Dana Combs with more modern works by Maine artists such as Weliver (above right), Thon and Babb. My preference leaned toward the modern and the works on display were a very good cross-section.  Both shows end December 18th and if you have the opportunity, it is time well spent.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ogunquit Art Museum

In Flight
Mildred Johnson Assemblage
Today, Alex and I just barely beat the 2010 closing date for the Ogunquit Art Museum.  We traveled down from Brunswick a little over an hour and the fall colors were still very impressive.  The Ogunquit Art Museum grounds, as always, were beautiful, this time including a heron in flight.  Inside the Museum, the four shows on exhibit were all extremely worthwhile.  We were especially happy to see Mildred Johnson's assemblages on display.  Mildred's most striking work was a double planed see-through assemblage that allowed one to peer through to the sea.  The shot taken from the outside above does not begin to do it justice.  Mildred has a studio around the corner from our studio in Fort Andross and she is always a joy.  Click here for a link to a photo album of our day at the Ogunquit Art Museum.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yarmouth Arts Festival

Sunday was very busy.  Between the annual LACO Walk against Hunger and the annual College Guild benefit dinner, I dropped three paintings off at St. Bartholomew's in Yarmouth that were juried into this year's Yarmouth Art Festival.  These three paintings are Casco Tug and Barge, Heading to Peaks and Christmas Cactus.   In all, art works from 74 artists were selected for the the second Yarmouth Art Festival, Oct. 20-23 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 396 Gilman Road, Yarmouth, Maine.  The gallery will be open to the public Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Oct. 20-22 from 10 am to 7 pm, and on Saturday, Oct. 23 from 10 am to 4 pm.  In addition, on Thursday, there will be an artists' reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with music and refreshments.  That should be fun.  The full gallery of art that will be shown at this year's Yarmouth Art Festival can be seen by clicking HERE

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Art Show, Jazz, Block Print

Last Friday night, the 10by10 show took place in Brunswick - an exceptional event.  The food and volunteer support were outstanding.  Alex and I wished we hadn't eaten dinner before attending, so much wonderful food.  And 60 works of art sold, including two of mine - Lobster Buoys and View from West Branch.  A very good start to the evening.  Then it was on to Bowdoin's Studzinski Hall for an hour of jazz by the Ahmad Hassan Muhammad trio.  Ahmad is a recent Bowdoin graduate who plays a very lyrical, rhythmic and jazzy piano.  If you haven't heard them, give them a try.  The trio is setting off on a tour and was recently featured on MPBN Friday Night jazz.  For video and audio from MPBN Friday Night jazz click here.  Lastly, I've completed a new block print - Off Wolfe Neck - a view of lobster boats at work off the shore of Wolfe Neck State Park.  It presented a different challenge in the variety of detail presented, but hopefully it works.  Click the image above for a larger view.  It will also be available in an edition of 25. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Salt Water Farm Show at Fort Andross

The most recent show at the Coleman Burke Gallery (on the left as you are just getting to the Frontier Cafe in Fort Andross Brunswick) is a full room extravaganza of sculpture and found art assemblage that takes some time to digest.  The show is titled Salt Water Farm The Quimby Colony: A Collective, and features the cooperative and inter-related works of a number of Bowdoin alumni.  A review of the show in the Bowdoin Orient provides further detail and background.  On opening night, the gallery space was an absolute zoo and it was difficult to gain perspective and see things.  A second walk around during the day two weeks later when all was calm brought a lot of the work into focus, unfolding a whimsical, organic sort of Mad Max experience.  The Salt Water Farm show which includes Sam Gilbert as part of the collective, follows a show where Mr. Gilbert's work alone was featured, 141280.  Hopefully, we will be seeing more of Mr. Gilbert's work moving forward. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Now Showing - 10 by 10, Town Council, Colby

The preview jpgs are now available for the upcoming Arts are Elementary benefit 10 by 10 show to be held on October 1, 2010 at the Curtis Memorial Library and St. Paul's Church Hall on Pleasant Street in Brunswick.  Click here for the 10 by 10 web site.  It is a one-day only sale, public preview 10am - 3pm with reception and opening 5pm - 8pm on Friday October 1, 2010.  I'll have three works in the show, Summer Snow, Lobster Buoys and View from West Branch.  It is a very popular event with lots of good art available. 

If you watched the Brunswick Maine town council meeting on local channel 3 this past Tuesday, you may have seen 8 of my paintings in the background.  My works have been selected for display 9/1/10 to 12/1/10 in the new council chambers.  Props and much thanks to the Five Rivers Arts Alliance Harriet Mosher and town councillor Benet Pols for facilitating this. 

Lastly for now, if you have a chance please make your way to the Colby Museum of Art in Waterville.  Two shows in particular there are very worthwhile - Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break, a film and photo tribute to BIW workers and The Search for Beauty: Whistler and his Time, works in a number of media from the Lunder Collection from the latter part of the 19th century with a clear focus on the aesthetic of the time.  Click here for more info on these shows.  The Sharon Lockhart show ends October 17 so time is short to experience that show.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Marshall Point Light

Having been encouraged by a number of folk to work on another block print after "Harbormaster's Workshop," I looked for a suitable subject in my hundreds of photos.  The picture needed to have an interesting geometry and to be able to resolve itself into black and white with some accounting for shading.  A photo I took last year of Marshall Point Light in Port Clyde (where the Monhegan Island ferry docks) seemed to qualify.  After sketching the photo onto the block using the grid method, I took knife to block then ink to block and the initial Artist Proof is shown above.  It is very satisfying to see the initial proof run validate the hours of cutting and trimming and all the big and little decisions of where to cut and how to cut.  Once cut, there is no un-cut process.  This afternoon I trimmed to size the paper for "Marshall Point Light" and prints will be available in an edition of 25. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cundy's Harbor - Harbor Works Gallery

The Block and Tackle restaurant in Cundy's Harbor was having their lobster specials again this week, so Alex and I headed down there for the $9.99 lobster platters - very delicious. Once dinner was done, we moved on to the harbor proper and visited the Harbor Works Gallery. There were two outstanding photography shows there - William Anderson's portraits of African-American life in the South in the 1970s and Lesley MacVane (photos) and Roger Berle (words) portraits of fishing life on Cliff Island Maine. Both shows were quite personal and moving. The view from the gallery of the harbor was outstanding as well. The show ends October 3rd so if you can, try to visit it. It is worthwhile.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ten States + DC in 12 Days

On a 12 day road trip, Alex and I visited friends and family in NY, VA and NJ, toured lots of good art, and ate just a little too much "good" food.  Pictures of our road trip are found here.  On our way out of New England at the start of the trip, we stopped at the Worcester Art Museum which featured "pardon our appearance" galleries and only select elevators that worked. We were not enchanted.  However we were enchanted by the shows at the Visual Arts Center in Chautauqua NY, where the highlights were Steve McCurry's pphotography and the student art show.  Also enjoyable was the North Carolina Dance Theatre who are in residence at Chautauqua for the summer.  Then it was on to DC for the Chuck Close show at the Corcoran, an in-depth look at multiple processes of print making used by Mr. Close.  The sped-up video of the hand applied ink stenciling process for the Roy Lichtenstein portrait drew a crowd.  The Corcoran was free on Saturdays, yay.  And as luck would have it, there was another show of Chuck Close work at the VFMA in Richmond VA, some of which were the end product of the processes shown at the Corcoran.  The VFMA also had an excellent collection of Art Nouveau and Art Deco.  To cap the art portion of the road trip off, we visited the Crossroads Art Center in Richmond and caught a roomful of wonderful found metal and lighted wall sculptures (see picture above) by Kris Krull.  A lot of miles and worthwhile art.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Blackbird and some Blueberry Blast

I've finished one last 10 inch by 10 inch for 2010 - "Red-winged Blackbird." Alex and I were returning from the Wolfe Neck Arts Festival in June, when we saw the water lily pond roadside with lilies in bloom. I hopped out to take some snaps and Mr. Blackbird just sat and posed as I clicked away. In painting the scene, the lily pond was a bit more intricate than Mr. Blackbird, but hopefully the juxtaposition works. As a sidenote, we found Jack's Relish at Wolfe Neck. I bought a jar of Blueberry Blast - a blueberry jam with harbonero pepper sauce mixed in, excellent on cream cheese and crackers - yahoo!! Alex bought a relish that she claims was the best ever, and has long since been finished off.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Workshop Saturday

This past Saturday, my neighbor and studio mate, Alan Mast, and I attended on all day workshop at the Maine College of Art (MECA) on Image Transfer and Copies led by Jill Dalton. We spent the day being instructed in, trying out and mostly bungling mechanisms for transferring images from paper copies to various surfaces via oils and artist mediums. The jury is out on whether any of the techniques will prove useful in further work. More experimentation is needed. The image above on the left is a transfer where the inkjet photocopy bled and produced the weird ghostly effect - interesting?? I don't know. Perhaps the highlight of the day was when Alan and I visited the June Fitzpatrick Gallery next to MECA after the workshop was over and viewed the art on display there. The quality and crispness of the work were striking after a day of struggling in the workshop. Noa Warren's pieces (one is shown above on the right) were especially noteworthy, and required a detailed explanation by the gallery manager as to how they were produced - Belgian linen, multiple coats of clear acrylic, pencil drawing of mesh-like image, precise exacto knife work on the drawing and filling in the knife notches with acrylic paint to give the illusion of a folded mesh embedded in clear plastic. No fumbling or bumbling there.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two More 10 by 10s

I've completed two more 10 by 10 inch paintings. The flower is entitled "Summer Snow," a type of Japanese Tree Lilac that Alex and I saw at the Coastal Botanical Gardens earlier this year. I really enjoy using the water-mixable oil paints to get the colors to work with and flow into each other on the canvas. The other painting is "The Harp," a scene from the warmup for a MidCoast Symphony performance.

On another note, the Brunswick Art Walk this past Friday was quite busy for my studio mate, Alan Mast, and myself. We had a solid number of visitors and much enjoyable discussion. It was quite energizing.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New York, New York

Alex and I had a whirlwind Fourth of July holiday weekend in New York City. Click here for pics of our NYC trip. It was exhausting and exhilirating. It left us grateful to be able to return home to Maine. We arrived Saturday afternoon and careened via cab directly to the Metropolitan Art Museum. The Met is huge and confusing. We think we caught everything we wanted to, skipping Picasso and Tut's funeral (not big fans) which were elbow-to-elbow, but doing the Rooftop Garden's installation, the Women's fashion exhibit, the Arms and Armor collection and the standing galleries of 19th and 20th century art. We walked around Times Square which was not-quite-a-mosh-pit and one of NYC's finest pointed us to a Two Brothers pizza two blocks off the main drag for $1 a slice pie - outstanding. On Sunday morning, I took a walk to the Hell's Kitchen flea market - not exactly hopping. Then we went to the Times Square Church - an experience to be sure; the choir rocked. Then we were off to MOMA which was 5 floors well organized. The Women's photography show was very compelling. Concept art seemed the focus for other exhibits - to me, kind of scratchy and not very warm. Then it was fireworks cruise time on the Spirit of New York - singing wait staff, endless buffet, endless DJ, DHS everywhere, cruise up the Hudson and back and twenty minutes of Macy's fireworks from 5 barges. On Monday morning, we found a Gourmet Deli and had them fix us a cheese sub which we ate on the way out of the city - the best sub in years. NYC - nice to visit, plenty left over to see next time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Meticulous Ferment - A Beauty

This past Wednesday, Alex and I attended the opening for A Meticulous Ferment at the ICA on Congress Street in Portland. The two artists, Beth Lipman and Kirsten Hassenfeld, collaborated on this most remarkable show. Ms. Lipman works in glass and Ms. Hassenfeld in paper, although the paper for this show is rolled and painted to look very much like Delft or milk or other types of decorative glass. "The Bride" by Ms. Lipman, pictured on the show's brochure, was the show's centerpiece and we spent quite a bit of time taking it in and enjoying it. "White Treen" by Ms. Hassenfeld was a galaxy of her faux glass suspended from the ceiling, looking cosmic and elegant at the same time. It was our favorite of the show and if we had a huge room and a ton of money, we would have taken it home. We are hoping it finds a permanent public location. We think this show is a beauty, so if one were to need a reason to go to Portland, this would qualify. The show runs through August 15.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two New Ones

I've finished another 10X10 painting (on the left) - "View from West Branch" - in preparation for the 10X10 show later this year for Arts Are Elementary. Then I switched gears to cutting a block and printing it (on the right). I think it turned out pretty good - "Harbormaster's Workshop." It will be an edition of 25. Now on to cutting mats and framing for the prints.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Another Beautiful Day

Wednesday turned out to be another beautiful day on the Midcoast. Alex and I headed up to Rockport to check out the juried Biennial show at the CMCA gallery that had just re-opened. Three separate art reviews - Keyes, Isaacson, Kany - in the Portland Sunday paper had mentioned the CMCA re-opening and Biennial, so off we went. The Biennial was well juried and a very solid show. It was hard to pick favorites. I was taken with Ken Sahr's Seal Harbor paintings. Alex enjoyed Cassie Jones's large installation of drawings on mylar (in contrast to Daniel Kany's discussion of the same work). Different strokes, different folks. We then went out to Owls Head and did some walking. The lighthouse there is in rehab (see snap above). On the way home, we hit Moody's Diner for the first time. Alex had Strawberry Rhubarb and I had Blueberry pie - I can't remember a better pie. Moody's slogan is "Pie fixes everything." Maybe it does.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just a Beautiful Day

What a beautiful day here on the Midcoast. Alex says it's the payoff for making it through winter here in Maine. I cut studio time short to go up to Bath Maine with Alex. We walked around town, up to the town park where I snapped the duck taking a shower, into a couple antique shops, along the Kennebec River and then into the Kennebec Tavern for haddock sitting riverside in the shade with a breeze. We discovered the Kennebec Tavern's haddock reuben sandwich, yum yum yum. We then did a little exploration at the Butler Head Nature Preserve off North Bath Road and topped the day off with small ice cream cones at the Dairy Frost stand next to Fat Boy. Their chocolate dip is real chocolate dip. Alex dropped me back to the studio where I snapped the picture of the Lobster Buoys that are just finished and went to work on the next painting. Just a beautiful day.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Beautiful Game

World Cup 2010 has started. The game of soccer as presented at the World Cup level is a trance-like experience. The constant drone of the bee-swarm horns. The chess of the most talented players in the world exploiting the geometries and Newtonian mechanics on the field. The color and frenzy and sing-song of the fans. The English as-spoken-elsewhere-in-the-world of the British and African announcers on ESPN. The artistry of a well-passed goal and the over-acting of these same artists when fouled. I can't stop watching.

On another note, I encountered a different type of soccer at the Bowdoin field house a couple months ago. It was the collegiate robotics soccer tournament. The robots were programmed to make their own decisions - no remote control involved. It was not the fastest of games. There were no tools of destruction. But it had its own charm. Clearly the most important thing the robots needed to know was how to stand back up after they had fallen down.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Portland Head Lights

These paintings of the Portland Head Light are done. Alex and I think they have a "steampunk" look to them, kind of industrial pre-electronic. I am unclear whether to separate them or package them as a diptych, side-by-side single work. If side-by-side, what comes first the sea gull or no sea gull?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sumner, Maine - Joel Babb

Alex and I took a day trip yesterday up to Sumner, Maine to visit our friends, Ed and Dorothy. It was misty, drizzly day but since we hadn't been to that part of Maine before, it was still an adventure and a good time. As we toured Ed and Dorothy's stomping grounds, I remarked that it would be nice to come back and plein air paint when the weather was clearer and the mountains were visible. "Oh, you paint," Ed said, "Would you like to meet an artist friend of ours, Joel Babb?" "Well, yes, if it's not an imposition." One phone call later, we were visiting with Joel Babb and his dog, Ruskin, in his studio. Joel had recently come back from Italy and graciously chatted through some of the paintings he had done there as pre-work for a planned, larger scale work. The precision, clarity and balance in his work are wonderful. Click here for much more info on Joel Babb's work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ed McCartan - It's OK to Play

Last Thursday at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, Ed McCartan spoke joyfully and reflectively about his art and the art-making process. His "East meets West" painting is shown here. Ed is a proponent of injecting both the sacred and the playful into art. He referred to the "sacred fool" in all of us. It's OK to try, to re-work and to make mistakes. Earlier this year, I took a Saturday morning workshop at Ed McCartan's studio in Fort Andross. We stepped through his process of creating images - setting a boundary, playing within the boundary with color, form, wash, texture, then setting other boundaries within, and playing some more - sometimes inter-connecting or wiping out or covering over prior images. The time flew by. As a change-up to my structured representational work, I find myself doing Ed McCartan exercises - with a smile. It's OK to play.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's OK to relax.

From "Voyaging Southward from the Straight of Magellan" by Rockwell Kent, published in 1924:
"We, to whom the struggle for material comfort has become an obsession, have vauntingly named our pathway progress: our struggle may, however, be as well considered to have been a degenerate weakening, under the pressure of material discomforts, of the will toward leisure - a weakening that became a rout, a rout that we to save our pride name purpose - a purpose whose achievement in the denial of leisure we call civilization. And now at last, having become utterly and irretrievably involved in the disaster of materialism and having debauched the human soul with restlessness, we make luxury our glory, and abandon leisure to the childhood of the race."
Kent is quite the travel/(mis-)adventure writer. His block prints that accompany his writing are spectacular. There is something about "disaster of materialism" that strikes a chord today as it did for Kent in the 1920s. It's OK to relax.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


When Alan Mast, my neighbor, came over and asked if I would be interested in sharing his studio space at Fort Andross, it was an offer that just couldn't be refused. It has worked out pretty well. Alan takes the morning shift and I take the afternoon shift. Fort Andross provides most excellent light and it's less than two miles from the house. Click here for some shots of the Studio. As you can see from the shot of my workspace, I'm currently working on two paintings of the Portland Head Light at Cape Elizabeth - one with the sea gull flying by and one without. I couldn't decide whether to leave the sea gull in or take the sea gull out, so I'm painting both. We'll see how that works.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Alex and I went up to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens yesterday and it was a very, very good visit. The Lady Slippers orchids were out. The tulips were still looking good and the rhododendron were looking sharp. There was an art exhibit on display and around the grounds were the most wonderful metal rebar sculptures of animals by Wendy Klemperer. I took a bunch of snaps and click here to view some of them - Boothbay Botanical. We went into Boothbay Harbor and visited the Joy to the Wind gallery across the footbridge. We had a nice chat with Lynne Seitzer and spent some time eyeing the many works on display there.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fun with Max Beckmann

Being newly retired from the workplace and having never taken a workshop at the Portland Museum of Art, I signed up for the two session workshop on block printing. I had done linoleum blocks in the past, but it had been a while. The workshop turned out to be an absolute gas. The Portland Museum of Art workshop leader, Julia Einstein, was quite knowledgeable and a good facilitator. We sketched directly onto two small Soft Kut blocks (see above) using the Max Beckman exhibit, Final Days - Modernism and Masquerade: Max Beckmann (1884 - 1950), as inspiration or subject. Herr Beckmann is a little too dark and anguished for me, but his work is definitely "expressive." We then did a white line block cut and a relief cut, and went to press on both rice paper and cotton paper - all in two 2 hour sessions. Ms. Einstein said there will be a watercolor workshop this fall based on an upcoming Winslow Homer exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art. Something to consider.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bates Senior Art Show at Bates Museum of Art

By my experience, the Bates Museum of Art falls into the "small but mighty" category. The exhibits that Alex and I have seen there have been well worth the trip over to Lewiston from Brunswick. The recent Joel Babb show was a knock-out. The senior show currently on exhibit is no exception. The slide show available here does not do it justice. Alex was impressed by Alexandra Strada's photos and I must confess to being a bit mesmerized by Samuel Guilford's mandalas.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Art in Education 2010 Scholarship

The Art in Education 2010 Scholarship event is being spearheaded by Stephanie Hill, a Brunswick High student. There is a silent auction at Gelato Fiasco on May 21 of donated art work. Stephanie has facilitated donations from local and quite accomplished artists, including Ed McCartan and Mildred Johnson. I have my eye on Mildred's work. Three of my paintings are included. For more info ->