ARTIST VIDEO INTERVIEWS

Paula Stern

My art is the tangible manifestation of a deeply conscious effort to capture personality, corporal existence, and human vigor with my hands. I shape sculptures of the human form that my mind’s eye sees. After completing a sculpture through this very private experience, I place it on a pedestal for the world to observe, daring to expose my personal effort to public viewing. As a sculptor, my purpose is to translate my visual image of a face, body or fragment of the human form into a tactile, beautiful object with which the viewer can interact. I want the viewer to touch, pick up and/or walk around my artwork. That action tells me I have impacted the viewer, thereby justifying the uncomfortable act of unveiling my art and personal side in public. The spirit behind my work is to honor creation. When I sculpt the human face or form, I am changed unselfconsciously by the mystery and mastery of creation itself. I wish to honor the human face and form, not idealize it; for each face and body is unique, and the perfect object does not exist … for the creator or the viewer. This is why I particularly enjoy the challenge of sculpting portrait busts to capture a likeness of a person, as well as to chase the elusive goal of conveying “lifelike-ness” that expresses the essence of the individual. By sculpting, I hope to leave artwork for future generations as enduring as the work of other sculptors throughout history whose paths I respectfully and admiringly follow.

Matthew Russ

Russ has explored many parts of Maine, and he celebrates Maine’s landscape in his paintings. He always paints from life, working outdoors in all seasons and often backpacking into remote locations. He especially enjoys painting in protected lands, such as the Kennebec Highlands, the Morse Mountain Conservation Area, Camden Hills State Park, and the islands of Penobscot Bay.

John (Jack) Gable

Through his superlative art, John (Jack) Gable has created an unequaled visual chronicle celebrating the color and drama of the world of sport. No other living American painter has devoted so much energy to the meticulous recording of the subjects he has chosen to paint. When the University of North Carolina Tar Heels proudly brought back the NCAA basketball title to Chapel Hill for the third time, Gable was selected to commemorate this important milestone in the history of the university. Gable's realistic style of painting captured the spirit of the Tar Heels' fight to become the 2993 College Basketball Champions. When Stars & Stripes brought the America's Cup home once again to the United States, his was the Commemorative painting of the victory. Prior to this historic event, Mr. Gable capture the Australian win of the coveted cup with a commemorative series for Alan Bond. In concert with Harvard University, the artist created a unique suite of four rowing prints titled The Oarsmen. This series of signed prints became an important vehicle to help raise funds for the vaunted Harvard University, Newell Boat House on Boston's historic Charles River. Other commemorative paintings have included those for Northeastern University, Oxford University, Rutgers University and Power Ten NYC, as well as a broad range of diverse sporting subjects.John Gable's original and realistic style clearly demonstrates his command of light, color, and his sense of sporting drama. Through his unparalleled talent and technique, he has helped nurture a strong collecting interest for his sporting paintings. Athletes, sports figures and serious art collectors have eagerly awaited each new Gable image. Mr. Gable's original paintings can be found in leading art galleries and corporate collections worldwide. Mr. Gable paints from his studio in a two hundred year-old coastal Maine farmhouse overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Jane Dahmen

My recent paintings are inspired by my wanderings around the midcoast area of Maine. I feel deeply connected to this part of the world. Walking in the woods, on the conservation lands near my home, and along the Damariscotta River I see paintings everywhere. The large-scale size of the paintings help to create an environment for the viewer to enter. My ideas begin in the natural world, but once a work is underway the paint itself on the flat surface takes on a life of its own. The color, line, and surface texture evolve as I work.

MJ Benson

As a painter, I begin with the horizon, its ever steady line of delineation between the spaces of land, sky, sea. In between are layers and layers of light and color, sprung from my memory but unbound by realism. I use a framework, a few rules around composition or color, but it’s the tension between what I expect and what the painting is telling me that dictates the flow and finish. I work, and wait, until the profound shifting between place and memory stills itself harmoniously on the canvas. I am a prolific painter, deeply enmeshed in all the intellectual, mundane and playful elements of exploring my vision. My disciplined framework for my professional practice as an artist was developed through the rigors of art school and the teachers who helped me hone my own rhythm of practice. I paint daily and my favored medium is acrylic paint; simultaneously, however, I use oils, gouache and encaustics to deepen my practice. I have a BFA from the School of the Musuem of Fine Arts, Boston, and an EdM from Harvard University, and learned painting through the Maine College of Art and Open Door at Haystack. My photography has been exhibited and collected nationally.

Cooper Dragonette

Inspired by the coast of Maine, Cooper Dragonette has devoted himself to painting the landscape since 2000.  His influences consist of notable artists such as John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper, and Andrew Wyeth. Dragonette primarily paints in oils and has an affinity for painting ‘en plein air’, but also enjoys creating studio works using his outdoor sketches for inspiration. “Painting is often an experience in memory for me. On site I am trying to record the moment, but in the studio I am trying to get back to the place, to the feeling, to the experience." Mr. Dragonette is a full-time landscape painter, teacher, father, and husband (though not necessarily in that order) living and working in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. His work is held in private, public and corporate collections across the country.

Why Art ?


"We do magic. How can you beat that? It's pretty special." - Eric Hopkins  "This is out there. You walked right by it!" - Nina Fuller  "If there is divinity, I feel closer to it." - Jane Dahmen "We all have eyes that see different things." - Jill Hoy "Sometimes you see something and you just can't get it out of your head. You got to put it down in paint." Gary Akers "It's an adventure." - William Crosby  "You know, it's a gift from the universe." - Jill Hoy

Philip Barter

"Barter's art harks back to Marsden Hartley and other American Modernists and their abstracting ways, a kind of school has spring up in his own impressive wake.  You can hear the gallery-goer point to a brashly painted Maine landscape by a contemporary and say 'I see a bit of Barter there'.  Like Andrew Wyeth, he has his emulators.  

And you can understand why: the appeal of Barter's stylized renderings of trees and rivers, mountains and clouds, is powerful.  His ability to extract the essence of the landscape provokes marvel.  He sees the geometry of a peak, the jagged coursing of woodland streams, a snowfield's curving contours.  His palette, often not for the faint of hue, underscores his lively vision.

He is a master simplifier, composing each canvas out of the core elements of the scene: trees, water, sky and island, say.  In the purity and boldness of his northern vision, Barter is kin to some of the painters in Canada's Group of Seven.  

There is a lot of give and take in life, and Philip Barter's paintings reflect his our-of-the-ordinary journey.  To play on his name, this artist had bartered plenty to achieve the stature he enjoys today: one of our very finest." --Carl Little, Maine art critic and author 


Gary Akers

Akers is one of America's foremost contemporary realist, painting in watercolor, dry brush and egg tempera. Akers is considered to be a master of light and shadow in his exciting compositions. His works are praised both for their beauty and for their richness of detail, and that level of detail is all the more remarkable considering the medium he works in. The artist specializes in landscapes painted in egg tempera, an egg-based paint that must be painstakingly applied, with each work built up of hundreds of layers. No other medium can match the beautiful luminosity of the traditional Renaissance technique of egg tempera. By the mid-1980s, Akers' egg tempera works were fetching commissions of up to $50,000. Akers is also pretty prolific: A coffee-table book "Kentucky: Land of Beauty," published in 1999, gathers together more than 100 of his paintings of Kentucky rural scenes and landmarks, from covered bridges to Churchill Downs. Akers second book "Memories of Maine" was published in 2003. Recently, one of Akers’ images appeared on 60 MINUTES II, and his work was featured on "Kentucky Life" -- KET's Emmy Award-winning weekly TV series celebrating the fascinating people and places of the Commonwealth. His paintings have been accepted by some of the most highly acclaimed shows in the country including the Speed Art Museum, the Ogunquit Museum, the National Academy of Design, and the Artists of America Exhibition. He has received the Kentucky Watercolor Society’s top award. Akers is a member of both the American Watercolor Society and the Kentucky Watercolor Society. He also received a Greenshields Foundation grant from Montreal, Canada to further his egg tempera work. With his wife, Lynn, and their daughter, Ashley, he lives in Union, Kentucky, where he spends winter months painting in his restored 19th century log cabin studio. Summers are spent in Maine, where he paints the rugged coast. In 1995, they purchased the charming Georges River Road School, also known as The Green Schoolhouse, located two miles down the beautiful St. George peninsula.

Holly L. Smith

As a Maine native, Holly has always found inspiration in the ever–changing beauty and moods of her surroundings. Painting is a natural expression of her creative vision, and she strives to show others the meaningful, healing tranquility that the Maine landscape offers through colors, shapes, and compositional relationships. She frequently takes the opportunity to experience her locale by traveling to remote island destinations or exploring scenic areas around her home.  Plein air painting is a meditative process for Holly, setting up her easel she begins by scanning possible subject matter often looking for interesting compositions and colors. These plein air painting interpretations of these experiences offer glimpses of Maine’s magnificence, heritage and romance, giving Holly’s then studio paintings a truly authentic quality.

Holly has a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from the University of Southern Maine. Her artwork is in numerous public and private collections, including the First National Bancorp and The Samoset Resort. She has exhibited in numerous shows and galleries through the years.  Currently her artwork is available at The Portland Art Gallery, Lincolnville Fine Arts Gallery, River Arts Gallery and The Bonnie Farmer Assemblage Art Gallery or by contacting her directly to visit her studio at her home in Rockport, Maine.


Nina Fuller, Photographer

Nina’s formal education includes an AFA in Print Making from Silvermine College of Art in New Canaan, CT,  a BA in Fine Art from George Washington University in DC, and a MA in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Equine Assisted Mental Health and Photography Therapy from Prescott College in Prescott, AZ. Nina has had the honor of photographing our Presidents and First Ladies including both Bush's, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Michelle  and Barack Obama. Commercial clients include: L.L. Bean, Lands' End, Dover Saddlery, Johhny's Selected Seeds, Active Travel Inc., Friendly's, Minnowknits International, Equestrian Vacations, Tourist Board of Ireland, Spanish Tourist Board, Australian Tourism Council, and many others.

Nina works in a carriage-house studio at her sheep farm in Hollis, Maine. She photographs important events for families, supports her commercial clientele, and captures beauty and irony wherever she is. Traveling the world photographing and writing about her experiences, Nina’s work has appeared in the Boston Globe, The New York Times, Maine Sunday Telegram, National Geographic Traveler, Practical Horseman, Horse and Rider, Women and Horses, Mountain Living Magazine, Animal Fare,  American Cowboy, Fido Friendly Magazine and other international publications. Nina gives group and individual workshops in photography and Equine Assisted Photography Therapy (EAPT) at her farm in Maine where she shares her experience and understanding of photography and horses with those who aspire to see the world in a new and exciting way. 

Martha Burkert

I am primarily a landscape painter. The interior and exterior landscapes that surround me are my favorite jumping off points. I push and pull color around these forms trying to find combinations that feel right. I am not restrained by local color or the rigid rules of perspective. The application of paint, the resonance of colors against each other, the muscularity of shapes and the temperature of light and dark are my guides. 

I split my time between Dallas, Texas, and Cousins Island, Maine. I paint smaller paintings, often outside, in Maine and turn those into larger paintings from my studio in Dallas.


Elizabeth Hoy

Elizabeth Hoy’s interest lies in the intersection of the natural and built environments—tropical plants thriving in a greenhouse in February, the artificial color of a plastic chair against the darkness of the woods, ocean flooded pit mines, or three quarters sky dominating one quarter city. Drawing and painting plein air are her means of exploration and engagement with a place. By returning to the same locations, she captures subtle shifts in the environment over time—how the natural world enmeshes itself into the built environment and how human experience is inscribed upon a place.

Hoy splits her time between New York and New England. She has received fellowships from Maine Farmland Trust’s Fiore Art Center, the Alfred and Trafford Klots International Program for Artists, Le CouveNt, AIM program at the Bronx Museum, and the Royal College of Art in London. Her work has been exhibited internationally and in the northeast; including the A.I.R. Gallery and The Painting Center in NY, the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Hoy studied at Wesleyan University, the University of Pennsylvania, and with painter Jon Imber and is the Director of the Beard and Weil Galleries at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

Jill Hoy

Jill divides her time among residences in Stonington, Maine, Somerville, Massachusetts, and New York City. The work she creates in Maine is inspired by direct observation of the landscape and includes seascapes, architecture, and gardens. The artist, working on location, is especially interested in the effects of natural light, color, and pattern. Her use of vivid color in the Maine paintings results in surfaces that are richly and intensely painted with images that seem to vibrate. The artist considers the quality of light to be an important element in her work. "The light in Maine is crystal clear, with a sharp-edged clarity and a gem-like quality. I often work in the morning or late afternoon when these qualities are especially strong." As a result, her paintings capture specifics of time and light. Because she's been a regular resident of the Deer Isle area since 1965, much of her work can be seen as a document of places and time in the area.

Eric Hopkins

“I was lucky enough to spend my early days on North Haven,” says Eric, “where my worldview consisted of roaming the woods, fields, shorelines and exploring the edges where land, water, and sky meet. I was drawn to shapes, spaces, patterns, and the rhythms of nature. I was and still am fascinated by the incredible variety of life forms and forces on this planet.”

Eric is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and has taught at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Pilchuck Glass School. He has exhibited at the Farnsworth Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Waterfall Arts Center, University of Maine Museum of Art, and a number of galleries nationally.


William (Bill) Crosby

"The natural landscape of sky, earth, and water is a cathedral for life and spirit. Wilderness is both a physical place and a place of mind and spirit. Often my work can be considered as an abstract impression of the landscape. Certainly I think of my paintings as an interpretative response to the landscape." 

Jean Jack

Jack loves these buildings for their imperfections and idiosyncrasies; it is both impossible and unimportant to know exactly when or where these places exist because they are creations of the artist. We love our homes because of the intimate details we come to know about them: the way light and shadows settle in our memories.

Deborah Randall

Randall’s perspective on light and color was influenced by frequent trips to the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn, and outdoor coastal adventures as she grew up in Washington D.C. and northern California. Eventually, Randall found Maine where she renovated an 1800s farmhouse. It was in that historic setting that Deborah fell in love with the Maine coast, and has made it her passionate practice ever since.  

Art Installation for a Fundraiser

Portland Art Gallery staff were asked to curate and install a temporary art exhibit for a fundraiser benefiting the University of Southern Maine Promise Fund. This very unique video takes you through the home to view the various artworks by Maine artists. In total, we installed 57 pieces of Maine art representing nearly all of our over 50 Maine artists.  Take a walk through the house and see the works on the walls.

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