Dr. Lisa Belisle brings a decade of experience interviewing radio show guests to the Portland Art Gallery. Each week on Radio Maine, we bring you an interview with an artist, art-lover or creative individual that will broaden your view of Maine and the community that we cherish. Listen to, or watch, Radio Maine on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, Google Podcasts, You Tube, Vimeo or the Portland Art Gallery website. Thank you for joining us, and being part of our world.
For Brenda Cirioni, art has provided an opportunity for both catharsis and joy. While attending a retreat as an adult, she reconnected with feelings around a fire that destroyed her family’s home when she was 16-years-old--an event that was found to have been caused by arson. This emotional touchpoint became the impetus for a body of work that spanned several years, and eventually provided her with a sense of closure around the tragedy. More recently, she countered the challenges of COVID by finding joyful inspiration in her gardens, creating a series of floral abstracts. Learn more about Brenda’s experience with the interplay between art and emotion on today’s episode of Radio Maine.
Stephanie Brown understands that food and family are foundational elements of a life well-lived. Trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, her professional pursuits are the continuation of a personal legacy reflected in memories of homemade pasta drying in the bedroom of her grandparents’ four story walk-up in Boston’s North End. Her decades-long career encompasses a love for food and people that has most recently manifested in co-ownership of North 43 Bistro in South Portland, Maine. Stephanie is beloved for the joy she brings to catered events, from intimate weddings to corporate events--not to mention pre-COVID art openings at our own Portland Art Gallery. Learn more about Stephanie’s commitment to building community through breaking bread on today’s episode of Radio Maine.
Fred Williams traces his love for art back to his childhood, when he accompanied his parents on a visit to an artist’s studio located on Hancock Point in Downeast Maine. From a longstanding Maine family, his parents met at the University of Maine in Orono, and bought their first piece of art from one of their professors. Fred says that connecting with artists is something that he treasures to this day, as he continues to surround himself with art at his home in Portland, Maine. The founder of the well-respected investment management firm, Old Port Advisors in Portland, Fred has been in the financial services business for four decades. He has supported non-profit organizations--many of them with an art focus--equally as long. Joining Radio Maine from his Munjoy Hill home, Fred shares his deep respect for and admiration of artists William Crosby, Joyce Grasso, Fred Lynch, Missy Asen and many more. Listen in to learn more about Fred’s art collecting, philanthropy and professional transition, this week on Radio Maine with Dr. Lisa Belisle.
By his own admission, Cooper Dragonette “could not tell the bow from the stern,” when first hired as a sailing instructor by Maine’s Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Penobscot Bay. Raised in Easton, Connecticut, he spent several years in landlocked Arizona working toward a degree in education, and had come away longing for the coast. His unanticipated Hurricane Island experience initiated an interplay between art and the outdoors that continues in his life to this day. Now a resident of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Cooper balances raising his young children with plein air painting, and teaching workshops in this genre. Get to know Cooper and better understand the influences that contribute to his much sought-after Maine landscapes in today’s Radio Maine interview with Dr. Lisa Belisle.
Artist Matt Chamberlain has always felt an urge to paint. Although he pursued his passion at the Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, he initially felt uncertain about how to make a living through his art. With this in mind, he picked up a “real” job as a prep cook at Portland’s venerable farm-to-table restaurant, Fore Street. The experience, a total immersion into foodservice, set Matt on another creative path as a chef, which eventually led to his owning a Portland-based catering business. It wasn’t until years later, when the stress of operating a food business reached a peak, that he returned to the art studio. To his surprise, there was much for him to say on the canvas, and a group of art collectors who were more than willing to hear it. Now, Matt makes his living creating art as one of the most recent additions to the Portland Art Gallery. Hear more about Matt’s story on this episode of Radio Maine with Dr. Lisa Belisle.
Artist Ann Trainor Domingue, and her eight siblings, grew up in the oceanside community of Barrington, Rhode Island. There is little doubt that her relationship with the coast and devotion to family have informed her artwork. Ann’s paintings are unmistakable, offering her own distinctive depiction of family and working life on the New England waterfront. In this free-ranging interview, we talk about her childhood camping trips, her husband’s childcare business--and the impact of COVID-19 on that business--and pay homage to children’s book authors Eric Carle and Tomie Paola, as well the poetry of Mary Oliver. You’ll learn why Ann is beloved by collectors and Portland Art Gallery artists alike in today’s Radio Maine Interview with Dr. Lisa Belisle.
Emma McHold Burke started working with the Portland Art Gallery just as Covid was causing small businesses like the gallery to “shift direction.” She had recently graduated from the Tyler School of Art in Pennsylvania after gaining an education in painting and art history, and had planned her next life steps around the Philadelphia community in which Tyler is located. With the uncertainty of the pandemic looming, Emma reluctantly gave up her post-college apartment and moved to her family home in Maine. Wanting to maintain her connection to the art world, Emma reached out to the gallery. When she learned that the gallery, as a non-essential business, had been instructed to close its doors to the public, she volunteered to work behind the scenes. Her work ethic and enthusiasm were immediately evident. She was soon offered a paid position, and her willingness to work through strange and challenging times eventually earned her the position of gallery manager. Learn about the power of creativity, and the importance of resilience, in Emma’s conversation with Dr. Lisa Belisle on today’s episode of Radio Maine.
Artist Jean Jack has earned a reputation for her unique, and now iconic, rendition of New England-style farmhouses and barns. Although she had no personal experience growing up in or around these structures, she found herself mesmerized by a particular farmhouse in Connecticut while in the early stages of her artistic career. After surreptitiously photographing this structure, she painted her own version and entered it in a competition at the famed Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan, Connecticut. Her competition win affirmed her passion for the subject matter. While subsequently living in Santa Fe, New Mexico she continued to trek hours to America’s farming heartland for inspiration. In addition to pursuing her art, including time spent operating her own art and antique gallery, Jean spent years traveling around the country, supporting her husband’s military service and career and raising their children. She and her husband, Claude, eventually settled here in Maine. Learn more about Jean’s creative journey through her conversation with Dr. Lisa Belisle on this week’s episode of Radio Maine.
Dr. Jarrod Daniel defies easy categorization. A former professional hockey player from Canada, his travels and educational path have taken him all over the world. Now a Portland-based surgeon, he has been married for more than two decades to a woman who grew up in Bangor, Maine and Paris, France. Jarrod and Frederique have chosen to raise their four children on a small Maine island, in a home filled with art from both in-state and away. Learn more about Dr. Jarrod Daniel and his global trajectory on this week’s episode of Radio Maine with Dr. Lisa Belisle.
Artist Ann Sklar was a printmaking major in college--not because she loved printmaking, but because of the charismatic female professor who led the program. From this professor, Ann learned much more about life and work than one might expect from a college course of study. The professor went on to become a provost at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Ann went on to co-found three art galleries. One of these is a Philadelphia-area female artist cooperative that still exists today. Ann brings a mindful and determined discipline to her work: a discipline she developed over years spent balancing the demands of her business ventures, young children and her own art practice. We’re fortunate to have Ann here in Maine during the summer months, where she resides in a home she built with her husband, Henry, along the banks of the Kennebec River in Woolwich. Please join us on today’s Radio Maine, as we talk about life and work with Portland Art Gallery artist, Ann Sklar.
Creating a Life on Her Terms
Vanessa Helmick started her Maine interior design business, Fiore Interiors, using a unique approach: she ignored all of her well-intentioned advisors, and made decisions that were best for her. She avoided networking, she moved out of the city of Portland, and she chose clients that she liked and who liked her aesthetic. Vanessa’s aesthetic, one that she describes as “Scandi Beach,” is a combination of Scandanavian minimalism and a heavily textured coastal experience. With each of her projects, she incorporates art into her design and engages with her clients to choose signature pieces that will enhance their daily lives. Vanessa’s own daily life has taken her to Yarmouth where she is raising her daughter, and their new pup, minutes away from her new storefront, located near the bustling boatyards of the Royal River. You’ll enjoy getting to know more about Vanessa’s personal and professional style on today’s episode of Radio Maine with Dr. Lisa Belisle. Thank you for joining our Radio Maine community. Read the transcript here.
The Power of Being Oneself and More
Bill Crosby exemplifies the dualistic nature of many artists. He is both a photographer and a painter, who worked for decades as an art professor, while actively practicing his own craft. Bill reminds us that, as the poet Charles Baudelaire suggests, “An artist is only an artist on condition that he neglects no aspect of his dual nature…the power of being oneself and someone else at the same time.” Bill has enjoyed a longstanding personal and professional partnership with his wife, Pat. They divide their time between homes in Plattsburgh, New York and South Thomaston, Maine. Bill and Pat are passionate about kayaking the St. George River from his home in Maine. These frequent summer excursions, as well as travels throughout New England, continue to inform and inspire Bill’s signature abstract painting. Hear more about Bill’s rich and complex life and art as you join in his conversation with Dr. Lisa Belisle on Radio Maine. Read the transcript here.
Art as the Great Connector
There is much about Portland Art Gallery director Emma Wilson that may surprise you. Emma has been a traveling military spouse (caring for three children while their father served in Iraq), spent time as a social worker, and has strong ties to the non-profit world. Her early love of art, growing up with access to New York’s renowned museums, stayed with her as she moved around the country. She realized quickly that art is a tie that binds, and sought out the company of like-minded art-loving souls wherever she went. Emma and her family eventually moved to Maine, returning to a place that she had first gotten to know as a child, during extended summer stays on Casco Bay’s Long Island. In this episode of Radio Maine, host Dr. Lisa Belisle speaks with Emma about her love of Maine, art and family, and about forging a new way forward through Covid for Portland Art Gallery artists, and the community that supports them. Read the transcript here.
Pursuing a Career in Animation
Aniella Salko’s career path seemed pre-ordained. The “family business” was medicine. For years she had imagined being a doctor, a surgeon, or maybe a scientist. At the same time, her sketch books and school art classes were an important part of her early years. As she progressed in high school, Aniella realized that she wanted to do something that she loved. After much consideration, and with the full support of her parents, Aniella chose to attend the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Her first year of college was unusual and challenging due to the pandemic, but Aniella knows that she has made the right decision. Her dream is to work eventually with Pixar (more formally known as Pixar Animation Studios), in Emeryville, California. Hear more about Aniella’s process of moving her dreams toward reality with Dr. Lisa Belisle on today’s episode of Radio Maine. Read the transcript here.
John “Jack” Gable has been a full-time artist for more than four decades after an equally successful career in automobile design. Jack trained to work for his initial profession at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. While there he explored artistic creation in various forms, affording him the opportunity to transition between watercolors, oils, acrylics and other mediums. In 1980, he left his original dream job as a designer for the Trans Am Firebird at General Motors in Detroit, Michigan, and moved his young family across the country to the small Maine enclave of Kennebunkport. Jack now lives in Woolwich, Maine. He works from a studio that is 50 feet long - giving him room to create massive, commissioned murals. He has also remained immersed in, and painted, the worlds of America’s Cup sailing, and competitive rowing. He does the same for automobile events and competitions around the globe. Jack has pieces in the Smithsonian and the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC, as well as numerous private collections. Read the transcript here.
Rick Hamilton has had many careers, but he has always been an artist at heart. In addition to traveling the world while in the Navy, he has worked as a framer, a machinist and a salesperson. Throughout these adventures, Rick remained connected to a creative spirit that was reignited by a chance encounter with a young artist on the Eastern Prom in Portland. While he names Picasso, Modigliani, and Basquiat as influences, Rick is humble about his work and suggests that “anyone could do what I do.” Most people would respectfully disagree with his assertion. Rick, with his impressive work ethic and commitment to his now full-time artistic career, has emerged as an incredible talent with a unique signature style. Join Dr. Lisa Belisle on episode 18 of Radio Maine, and find yourself transported to the magical world of Portland Art Gallery artist Rick Hamilton. Read the transcript here.
Page Eastburn O’Rourke brings joy to people of all ages. A full-time artist and children’s book illustrator, she developed her artistic style at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was heavily influenced by the color work of Josef Albers, and then Parsons School of Design in New York City. Page is beloved in the Yarmouth Maine area, and her travels have allowed her to introduce what she describes as “pop folk art” to countless others around the state. Join us on Radio Maine as we explore Page’s personal journey, and find out how it has influenced her unique approach to art and life. Read the transcript here.
Radio Maine Episode 16 with Alexandra Maurer
Alexandra Maurer is passionate about her work—both as an artist and an acupuncturist, two topics she is willing to explore deeply. In this episode of Radio Maine, she also touches upon the ideas of “fledging” one’s children, finding one’s voice, and embracing what Alexandra calls her maintenance phase. With her recent decision to join the Portland Art Gallery community, Alexandra has continued her commitment to creativity. Join us for Episode 16 of Radio Maine with Dr. Lisa Belisle. Read the transcript here.
Heather Shields grew up on North Haven, a remote Maine island with a year-round population of 350. Reaching the mainland by ferry boat was a 75 minute commitment – one way. Join Dr. Lisa Belisle as she discusses Heather’s formative island years that led her to understand, profoundly, that we all must learn how to get along. Heather built upon the foundation of her childhood experiences when she became a single mom living in the greater Portland Maine area and entered the now frenzied world of Maine residential real estate. Heather also reflects on the work of Portland Art Gallery artist, and fellow North Haven native, Eric Hopkins. If you’re not currently living in Maine, you’ll want to move here after listening to Heather Shields. Read the transcript here.
Architect Josh Lowe lives with his wife and daughter on a coastal Maine island—a decision that was as carefully considered as the process he uses for design creation. Less than three years ago, their young family was in San Francisco, with Josh working on residential and commercial projects coming out of the Bay Area tech boom. Many of their friends were transplants like themselves, who had moved to the area early in their careers in order to gain experience among their intellectual peers, and over time gradually moved away again. As their daughter got older, Josh and his wife, Carleigh, decided to seek a community with more stability: a place where people stay, and where they could raise their daughter to sail, ski and otherwise appreciate a close connection with the outdoors. On this episode of Radio Maine, Dr. Lisa Belisle explores Josh’s physical journey from Delaware to Mill Valley, with stops in Prague and Rome along the way, his professional journey from art student to builder to architect, and his personal journey into fatherhood, navigating the shifting priorities that come with having a young family. Thank you for joining us in this conversation of conscious life design, and for being part of our Radio Maine community. Read the transcript here:
It is said that change is constant, and most people will agree this is true. Along with change, which may be symbolized by an external shift in circumstances such as a birthday or retirement, we transition to new roles by revising our internal perceptions of ourselves and our interaction with the world. This may also take place during travel, and through finding art where it may not have previously existed. Join Dr. Lisa Belisle on the road this week as she reflects on the topic of change for Radio Maine. Read the transcript here.
"As the world reopens, there is a strange reawakening that we're all experiencing as the springtime has woken up the birds and the buds are on the trees. Some of us are planting our gardens. We are realizing that things that we thought we lost over the last year were there all along. Maybe that's what creativity is; the ability to have things continue on. Maybe despite us, while our focus is elsewhere, things could still be happening while dormant, lying in wait in the fallow field, ready to emerge when the time is right." Read the transcript here.
Radio Maine Episode 11 with Stew Henderson
Radio Maine Episode 10 with Helen Lewis
Artist Helen Lewis creates her pieces, in part, by adding layer upon layer of molten beeswax to a panel, and scraping it away. This process creates great depth and luminosity. This practice reflects her life’s work of finding meaning from what remains after loss. Helen’s mother died suddenly when she was five-years-old. Soon after, her father brought Helen and her brothers on a trip to New Orleans that was meant to be restorative. Things did not go as planned, nor did the remainder of Helen’s childhood years. Helen’s art is clearly informed by her early heartbreaking experience and dedication to her own emotional healing. Prepare to be impacted by Helen’s compelling story, as described to Dr. Lisa Belisle, in this episode of Radio Maine. Read the transcript here.
Hadley Powell has spent a lifetime “training her eye” when it comes to art. Visits to art museums were an integral part of her childhood vacations and time at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine expanded her view. She went on to complete formal educational programs in art at Union College and with Christie’s world-renowned art institute. Now, in tandem with nurturing her young family, Hadley is maturing her art consulting business, Powell Fine Art Advisory. Listen to this Farmington, Maine native talk about art, family, entrepreneurship, and her never-ending and always evolving love of art. Read the transcript here.
Dr. Brooke Jackson is a practicing clinical psychologist living in San Rafael, California. She is also a lover of art, lifelong learner and gardener. Join us for episode eight, as Brooke tells us about searching for, and finding, her genuine life path after a career trajectory that included jobs as a paralegal and educator, before returning to college later in life to earn her PhD in psychology. Feeling blessed that she could still work remotely as COVID lockdowns happened, Brooke made a determined decision to continue her support of independent booksellers, artists and her favorite non-profits. Her connection to Maine pre-dated her relationship with the Portland Art Gallery by 30 years, with her family’s annual cross-country trips from California to Maine. Her extended family now gathers whenever possible in a small, seasonal lodge on the shores of Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine. Watch and learn more about the important work that Brooke does with her clients and view the original art that she has on her walls. Thank you for joining us every Sunday for Radio Maine, and being part of our creative community. Read the transcript here.
Radio Maine Episode 7 with Carlos Gamez de Francisco
Carlos Gamez de Francisco knew that he wanted to emigrate from Cuba to the United States when he was 14-years-old. According to Carlos, the generation before him had moved to Cuba for opportunity, and now his generation was leaving for opportunity. After early studies in dance, at age 15 Carlos began devoting his time to studying and perfecting his art. He would eventually find his way to the U.S. where he took the first available job in a warehouse while continuing to create art. Within months, and after learning English by repeating 100 words 11 times each day, Carlos talked his way into gallery representation, had his first solo art show and sold it out. He promptly quit his warehouse job and became a full-time artist. Carlos' determined commitment to hard work, discipline, and constant learning is an inspiration for us all. Read the transcript here.
Radio Maine Episode 6 with Andrew Faulkner
In this episode, Lisa Belisle connects with California-based artist, Andrew Faulkner. Andrew has an unusually rich lineage of creativity. His great-grandfather was an accomplished professional artist who traveled regularly to Europe for inspiration before returning to Connecticut to paint. His grandfather, father and brother are architects. Andrew’s mother was an interior designer. However, Andrew entered Trinity College prepared to obtain a more practical education in English, or Psychology, before finishing with a degree in Fine Arts. After a successful 30 year career in graphic design, Andrew started his “real job” as a professional artist. Learn more about Andrew Faulkner in Episode 6. Read the transcript here.
Radio Maine Episode 5 with Dietlind Vander Schaaf
Dietlind Vander Schaaf’s life, as Walt Whitman might suggest, “contains multitudes.” Not only is she an artist and teacher of art, she is also a writer and yoga teacher who has undergraduate and masters degrees in history (as well as a masters of fine art in writing!) Lisa Belisle’s interview with Dietlind explores her unique practice of creating encaustic art on wood panels: a laborious process of applying layer after layer of hot wax, paint and, in her case, 23-karat gold leaf. Hear about her artistic evolution, including four years spent working through perceived failure, and ultimate emergence with a renewed faith in herself. Dietlind also speaks about her love of languages, imposter syndrome and the personal satisfaction she gets from teaching workshops. Read the transcript here.
Radio Maine Episode 4 with Jane Dahmen
Dr. Lisa Belisle connects with artist Jane Dahmen in her Newcastle, Maine home for Episode 4 of Radio Maine. Jane has created a well-established art practice over the course of 50+ years. She was first introduced to Maine as a student at Colby College in Waterville and, after vacationing here for several years, moved to Newcastle full time with her husband, Joe, in 2005. Jane talks about overcoming challenges, including Joe's diagnosis and eventual death due to Alzheimer's disease, by looking inward to find answers. Jane also speaks about her passion for interviewing artists and curators at her popular "Talking Art in Maine" series in Damariscotta, Maine. She's led conversations with artists Alex Katz, Lois Dodd, Katherine Bradford, Eric Hopkins, Michel Droge, and many others, as well as museum luminaries such as Sharon Corwin, Suzette McAvoy and Mark Bessire. Read the transcript here.
Radio Maine Episode 3 with Dr. Lisa Belisle
Our host, Dr. Lisa Belisle, is one of ten siblings. Her father's 50-year career as a family physician led her toward a similar professional path adding studies in pubic health (MPH), acupuncture and business (MBA). While she's currently in a primary care leadership role for a Maine-based healthcare system, she has always continued a parallel path as an on-air interviewer, writer and presenter. Learn more about Lisa, as well as her appreciation for work by artist, Willa Vennema, in this episode. Read the transcript here.
Radio Maine Episode 2 with Missy Dunaway
Artist Missy Dunaway joins Dr. Lisa Belisle for our second episode of Radio Maine. They discuss Missy's earliest recollections of wanting to become an artist, her military upbringing, and her wanderlust that led to travel around the globe. Missy tells us about her Fulbright Scholarship that sent her to Turkey where she studied textiles and where she began her visual travel journals. We also hear about her new quarantine pet, Carrot the chicken! Missy is one of the featured artists at the Portland Art Gallery in March 2021. Read the transcript here.
In our inaugural episode of Radio Maine, Dr. Lisa Belisle has a conversation with Gallery Director, Emma Wilson. They talk about the past year of doing business during Covid and how the gallery, and artists, forged a path forward while taking care to provide needed connection, communication and compassion along the way. Hear about how the team at the Portland Art Gallery expanded their artist roster and available artwork to offer more creative space for their artists and more options for their loyal art buyers and collectors from Maine to Hong Kong. Watch, listen and get to know us. Read the transcript here.