By the Blue Barrel by Susannah Haney, oil, 8” x 10”
Fall Arts Exhibition Now Through October 29th at Sylvan Gallery
Sylvan Gallery’s Fall Exhibition, featuring the work of contemporary New England artists, is now on view and will continue through October 29th. The gallery’s exhibitions are known for the quality of the work displayed and the unique and discernible style of the artists that are represented. Gallery goers will be charmed by the vision behind favorite Maine subjects such as Monhegan Island and Maine coastal and harbor views, local rural scenes focusing on domestic farm animals, and cafe and street scenes of Florence, Italy. New paintings by the gallery’s roster of fine artists arrive almost daily.
Featured works by Maine-based artists include those by Susannah Haney of Wiscasset. Haney spends several weeks every year sketching on Monhegan Island, a well-known and loved location that has been attracting artists since the19th century. Back in her studio in Wiscasset, she transforms the sketches into oil paintings of remarkable clarity and richness of color. In “By Blue Barrel,” Haney captures a view of a Monhegan cottage sited with Manana Island behind it. The luminous light of a gray day brings a glow to the violet-gray tones of the cottage and illuminates the dory in front of it. Her fine attention to detail delights us as she brings her focus to the outer stairway of the neighboring cottage, the lapis lazuli tone of the blue fish barrel, the granite rocks leading us from foreground to middle distance, and the dandelions whose spent blooms are now transformed to fluff. The luminous and finely detailed quality of her oil paintings has earned her collectors from all over the United States. Her other new paintings include “View From the Hill, Monhegan,” and “The Fishermen’s Museum, Pemaquid.”
Wiscasset artist and gallery owner, Ann Scanlan’s favorite subjects to paint are animals in rural farm settings. She will often follow cows as they wander across the landscape, looking for the right composition or interaction between animals that will inspire a painting. In her works she tries to capture a sense of the peace she feels while in their presence. The leisurely feel of a sunlit day is captured in her painting, “Cows at the Edge of the Marsh.” A grouping of five cows stands behind grasses lit by the warm glow of the sun while the water and distant trees in the background capture the hazy quality of the day. We feel a sense of tranquility as we take in the image. Her other paintings in the exhibition include paintings of sheep with newly born lambs.
Stan Moeller, of York, Maine, turns his attention to the streets and architecture of Florence, Italy, in “Piazza della Signoria.” He is an experienced plein air painter and has the ability to capture an impression of bustling figures amidst the architecture of this famous city. His work evokes memories of travels abroad. This talent in capturing figures is also apparent in “Tidal Pool Souvenirs,” a painting of a young woman precariously balanced on the rocks, intent on reaching down into a tidal pool to grasp a treasure she’s just discovered. Years spent painting on Monhegan Island have given Moeller an innate understanding of Maine’s rocky landscape and the ability to capture it with ease. Stan Moeller has taught numerous painting workshops on Monhegan Island, Tuscany, and in the South of France. He was honored with a one-person show at the Island Inn on Monhegan Island this summer.
Afternoon Light, Monhegan by Robert Noreika, oil, 16” x 20”
Maine subject matter continues to inspire artists from all over the United States. Robert Noreika travels to Maine throughout the summer to paint en plein air, directly from life. “Afternoon Light, Monhegan Island” is a lively painting with energetic colorful brushwork. The foreground grasses, tree, and cottage have an easy gestural quality to them. In the middle distance, Manana Island is captured in violet and golden tones, white billowy clouds are to the right, and the turquoise sky above is reflected in the water. Just a few lobster boats provide additional interest. Noreika’s paintings have a spontaneous quality that is achieved by what he describes as his “gestural, fluid approach.” Of Noreika’s other paintings in the exhibit, of particular note is “Back Cove, New Harbor,” a beautiful painting in which he captures the essence of a small fishing cove by focusing on broad shapes and beautiful cool tones of violet, greens, and blues, for the sky, trees, and water, setting off the warmer tones of the buildings and accents of red dashes for the buoys; and “The Strike” which is a whimsical painting of a striped bass, its mouth open wide as it’s goes for a lure. “Working Harbor, Stonington, Maine” and “Incoming Squall” are his two largest paintings in the exhibit at 24 by 36 inches.
Evening, Port Clyde by Neal Hughes, oil, 12” x 16”
Neal Hughes is another plein air artist who travels yearly to paint on the coast of Maine. His painting, “Evening, Port Clyde,” is a beautiful depiction of a fleeting moment when the last rays of the setting sun glance across the hull of a lobster boat. In the background, the dock, land, and buildings are also bathed in the sun’s rich warm light contrasting with the scene’s cooler blue, grey, and violet shadows. The painting glows with an almost inner illumination.
Hughes is a former illustrator who has been painting professionally for over 30 years. His work has been accepted into many national juried exhibitions, and he has won many awards including an Award of Excellence at the prestigious International Marine Art Exhibition at the Gallery at Mystic Seaport. He was the grand prize winner of the Utrecht 60th Anniversary Art Competition, winning the top prize out of more than 12,000 entries.
A selection of work by the gallery’s other contemporary artists will also be on display, including Peter Layne Arguimbau, who paints shoreline views from the vantage point of his catboat as he travels up the coast; Joann Ballinger, whose pastels focus on children playing at the beach and scenes of farm animals, including “Youngins,” a pastel of three baby chickens alert in a coop; luminous ocean moonscapes by Al Barker; a series of winterscapes by Angelo Franco, as well as a dynamic painting titled “Fisherman’s Folly” which captures the vibrant colors of autumn at Jordan Pond in Acadia; a collection of photographic images of Scottish Blackface Sheep by photo journalist and shepherdess Nina Fuller; three separate paintings of birds – a seagull, a puffin, and a bird of prey by Charles Kolnik who employs a technique using many layers of oil glazes to achieve his distinctive results; classically inspired jewel-sized still lives by Heather Gibson Lusk; intimate small oil paintings by Crista Pisano who captures the atmospheric foggy conditions in her paintings titled, “Pemaquid Mist” and Ocean Point Waves”; a series of 8 by 8 inch painterly landscapes of marsh, ocean, and woodland by Polly Seip; Laura Winslow’s elegant watercolors that are inspired by nature; and rich evocative oil paintings of children at the water’s edge by Shirley Cean Youngs.
For more information, call 882-8290 or go to www.sylvangallery.com. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 49 Water St., Wiscasset, on the corner of Main Street (Route 1) and Water Street, next to Red’s Eats.