Studio Tours

While we are all working from home, a typical scenario for our artists, we asked them to send us self-created iPhone videos of their studios and artwork in progress.  This project has turned out to be a fun way for us all to stay connected while we hunker down and avoid crowds. Most of these snippets have been posted on our Instagram site @portlandartgallery.  Thank you for remaining connected and supportive of our artists!  

Joyce Grasso, Studio Visit II


Nina Fuller

Nina's self made farm visit and photo collection.

Cooper Dragonette

Maine. While attending college in Arizona, I became very homesick for my New England roots. I learned about the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School's Sailing Program in Rockland, Maine. Though I wasn't much of a sailor, I thought I might teach courses for a season or two, but ended up working with Outward Bound for more than a decade. 

 Where in Maine. I live in the coastal town of Cape Elizabeth. My wife, Jill and I moved here from Portland about ten years ago, and though it was hard to leave that great little city, we love the local charm and access to the shore. 

Studio. On a sub-zero winter night several years ago, the pipes burst in an unused portion of our basement.  Although not the plan, that space became my studio after we renovated. When I can, I like to paint plein air. 


Matthew Barter

Why Maine. I was born in Bar Harbor and raised in Sullivan Maine. My childhood was filled with days spent at the beach, in the Acadia woods, exploring Schoodic Point or on the fishing boats in Frenchmen’s Bay.  Painting in Maine is a privilege.  I’m enamored by the distinct Maine style of artists Eric Hopkins, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, and Arthur Dove.

Where in Maine. Brunswick with my wife and two sons. When we were first married we lived close to Bowdoin College and enjoyed the sense of community that surrounded us. Living here gives us quick and easy access to the Harpswell peninsula and Maquot bay.

Studio. I transformed a carriage house on my Brunswick property into a studio gallery.  I create on the second floor in a corner that is relatively orderly and the rest of the space is cluttered with junk.



Joyce Grasso

Why Maine. I was raised in Portland. My dad owned Kay Brook Shoe on Congress Street in Portland for 53 years.  My parents remained in Portland until their passing some years after he closed his store.  The sounds of waves breaking and the din of distant foghorns were part of my everyday existence in Maine. That simple beauty saturated my soul. 

Where in Maine. With frequent return visits to Maine, I have integrated the beauty of natural and man-made environments into my work. Rather than the traditional land or seascape, my paintings create a “feeling of place". I believe place allows us to access those special feelings and memories that escape our usual awareness.

Studio. My studio is located in the recently reinvented neighborhood of Harbor Point in Stamford CT. The Loft Artists Studios and Galleries is on the second floor of an old brick building with hardwood floors, brick walls and large widows. My studio, one of fourteen, faces the north giving me amazing northern light year round. Every time I unlock the door of my studio, I can’t believe I am so fortunate to work in this space. 


Dick Alden

Why Maine. I was born here in Portland. My grandparents were from Waterville and had bought a small summer cottage in East Boothbay in 1918.   I spent every summer of my childhood with them. I moved back to Maine full-time in 1995. The coast and awesome, rhythmic power of the ocean are embedded in my soul.

Where in Maine. Like my grandparents, we live on Ocean Point in East Boothbay, where we had bought our own cottage in the early 1980s.  Over time, we renovated and fully winterized the home. Ocean Point has a long tradition as a Maine summer colony. We enjoy a wonderful water view with some oceanfront and keep a boat moored right out front in Card Cove. 

Studio. Like many cottage lots, ours was too small to build a studio.  So, I built a 40 x30’ studio on Back Narrows Road in Boothbay that I share with with my wife and fellow artist, Priscilla.  We each have about 600 square feet that is separated by sound and dust proof walls because of our very different mediums. We thrive on each other’s artistic energy and inspirations.



Jill Hoy

Why Maine. When I was nine years old, my parents bought an 1880’s ship captains house in Deer Isle village, I grew up summering there and have continued to spend extended portions of my year in Stonington on Deer Isle. Our family moved a great deal growing up.  Maine became my bedrock and was the place where I knew people and they knew me. 


Where in Maine. Stonington is a working fishing town. Their fishermen land more lobster than any place in the country. It also is home to the world renowned Haystack of Arts and Crafts. The island population is laminated with artists, craftspeople, and young people who wanted to stay or return, as well as summer people and those who retire here.  


Studio. I work outside going back to the same spot repeatedly until the painting is done.  There is so much happening in the world that you cannot dream up; patterns, rythyms, junctures, unions, color, and relationships.  I then bring the painting home, hang it on walls, and trouble shoot it.


Joanne Parent

Why Maine. I moved to Camden Maine when I was eight years old. My father had taken a job with the Camden Herald newspaper as a darkroom technician. I grew up in Waldo County not far from Camden Harbor and my horse stable in Searmont. Maine was always my home base even during years of international travel.

Where in Maine. When I moved back to Maine after leaving Polynesia and sailing, I decided that the midcoast area, Belfast specifically, was where I wanted to raise my kids. In my view, Belfast is one of the most artistic communities in the state.  Midcoast and Belfast is filled with amazing artists of all types, with more and more adding to the town every day.  It is the working community feeling in Belfast that I love and it’s not as much of a tourist destination as neighboring towns. 



Whitney Heavey

Why Maine. I was raised in the Boston area, Cape Cod, and Rhode Island, and am proud to be a true New Englander: a hardy and frugal nature-lover who can ski, shuck clams, navigate a boat, and drive in a blizzard.  I love visiting family and friends in Maine, where its rocky and diverse coastline inspires my paintings.

Where in Maine. Spending time traveling along the coast from York to Kennebunk has inspired my paintings with views of salt marshes, the contrast of rocks with surf and the unpredictable ocean.

Studio. I share a large and sunny studio at ArtSpace in Maynard, MA. It is a former middle school that houses about seventy artists. 



Allen Bunker

Why Maine. I have been coming to central Maine for since the early 60’s when my grandparents bought a camp on Boyd Lake. My wife and I lived in Boothbay Harbor for awhile and spent a lot of time off the coast in our little Boston Whaler. 


]Where in Maine My wife and I recently purchased an old farmhouse in West Newfield, Maine that we are renovating. We also have a camp on a lake in Orneville, Maine. As anyone who has ever crossed the bridge at Kittery knows, Maine is a special place. Whether it’s loons echoing across the lake, the local folk who have lived in town their whole lives, or getting your meal from a trap pulled from the water, life is different in Maine. 

Studio. I have had many studios over the years; a huge barn I built myself, an expansive open studio in an old mill in Lowell, Masschusetts, and even a small space in the back of my garage. I also had a working studio inside an art gallery I owned with my wife in Boothbay Harbor. My new studio in West Newfield, Maine will be on the second floor of a 1875 barn. 



Dietlind Vander Schaaf

Why Maine. My family moved to Brunswick in 1980. We spent our summers sailing and exploring the coastline. My deep connection to Maine brought me back home after many years in San Francisco. 

Where in Maine. I bought a house in Portland with my partner about five and a half years ago. We’re a couple of blocks from the Riverton trail; part of the Portland Trails. I love to go out in the woods with my dog.

Studio. My studio is on the 5th floor of the State Theatre building in Portland. It has two big windows overlooking the rooftops on Congress Street. I love being suspended above the city. I seldom turn the lights on because it’s flooded with natural light year-round. I keep a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator in the event of a celebration.



Douglas H. Caves Sr.

Why Maine.  My strongest connection to Maine is my love of its variable and rugged seacoast.  As a painting student, Winslow Homer’s seascapes helped to inform me about the mystery and the drama of Maine’s seacoast and the people who dwell there.

Where in Maine. My wife and spend much of our summers in Wells, Maine, where we enjoy the walking the beach, hiking the numerous trails and embarking on adventures along the coast between there and Bar Harbor.

Studio. My studio is situated in my home in North Central Massachusetts, surrounded by hills, forests, streams and ponds. I have two studio easels always in place and I typically have several pieces in progress at any given time. Outside my studio the surrounding rural area and the coast of Maine offer opportunities for plein air painting.

 



Willa Vennema

Why Maine. I have been spending my summers on Swans Island for 56 years. Each summer, I immerse myself in the stunning beauty of this area of coastal Maine. 

Where in Maine. In the winter, I live in Portland Maine. I love the restaurants, culture, and many friendships made over the last 25 years.  Once the weather warms, I can’t wait to move to Swans Island. This is where my muse lives, and I will never cease to be amazed by the striking natural beauty and how it feeds all my senses. 

Studio. I work in a small attic studio in the Woodford’s neighborhood of Portland. A south facing window looks out on a city park. My studio is always a complete mess because I paint until I drop.  When I next enter my studio, I just want to start painting again. 



Julia Blake

Why Maine. My family has loved Maine since moving to New England in 2003 and deciding to vacation near Sebago Lake. Maine sights, sounds, colors, and even foods, often factor into my art. 


Where in Maine. Peabody Pond (near Sebago) is our idea of the perfect vacation. We rent a little cabin each summer where the sunrises and sounds of loons are incomparable to other places we've been. We always go on hikes and nature walks and head to the beaches for day trips where we enjoy the unique plants, landscapes and views.


Studio. When I started, my studio was my kitchen because every other room was occupied. I repurposed an antique armoire and filled it will my paint supplies. For a couple of years, visitors would see my 'studio' in action. My oldest came home the day before Thanksgiving one year, looked at my paintings occupying the entire kitchen and said: " Are we going to eat your paintings for Thanksgiving dinner?" Currently, I'm managing to contain my studio to one bedroom but I still bring canvases out to the kitchen table on occasion. 


M.J. Benson

Why Maine. When I was young, my family would spend New Year’s Eve and Labor Day near Schoodic Point. Though I lived near the ocean in Massachusetts the light, the feel, the raw softness in the air, constantly drew me back to Maine. 

Where in Maine. In 2006, my husband and I moved our family to Willard Beach in South Portland.  Now, as I walk the beach after a long morning run, I marvel at how lucky I am to live in a place where I can walk to the ocean, take a short boat ride to islands, a quick car ride to some of the best food in the country, have a choice of great schools for my children, and be surrounded by incredibly talented and successful people who are unpretentious and welcoming. 

Studio. I have two studio spaces, one in my home where I produce the majority of my work, and another at a space over my neighbor’s garage where I do larger paintings. 



Ann Sklar

Why Maine. My family spent every summer for as long as I can remember in New England, primarily at Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire.  When friends from Lake Wentworth moved to Maine permanently, we visited and were hooked. I have been spending long, wonderful summers in Maine since then. The rest of the year I am a city girl in Tampa Florida so the breath of fresh air is intoxicating and invigorating.  Being surrounded by the beauty around me has had a major influence on my painting.


Where in Maine. We built a home in Woolwich Maine, on the edge of the Kennebec River in 2005 and spend about five months there every summer.


Studio. I’ve always worked from my home.  At one point, I had a small building behind my house. That studio was my favorite with no phone and no distractions.  Currently, I work from a bedroom that I’ve taken over as my creative space. I like to hang my work all around my house so I can live with them and be sure that they are finished.


Brenda Cirioni

Why Maine. My childhood summers were spent at my family’s camp on Webb Lake in Weld, Maine.  During the day I canoed, hiked and explored the woods. My nights were spent on the screen porch listening to bullfrogs and loons as I waited for a moose to slosh by in the lake. The camp, unfortunately, now exists only in photographs and memory. 

Where in Maine. My sister has a home in Newcastle Maine with lots of acreage including meadow, woods and a path to the Damariscotta River. We enjoy frequent visits and hiking, exploring and birding. My other travels in Maine have been varied. The trip that probably influenced my art the most was to Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain. 



Dick Alden

Maine. I was born here in Portland. My grandparents were from Waterville and had bought a small summer cottage in East Boothbay in 1918.   I spent every summer of my childhood with them. I moved back to Maine full-time in 1995. The coast and awesome, rhythmic power of the ocean are embedded in my soul.

Where in Maine. Like my grandparents, we live on Ocean Point in East Boothbay, where we had bought our own cottage in the early 1980s.  Over time, we renovated and fully winterized the home. Ocean Point has a long tradition as a Maine summer colony. We enjoy a wonderful water view with some oceanfront and keep a boat moored right out front in Card Cove. 

Studio. Like manycottage lots, ours was too small to build a studio.  So, I built a 40 x30 ’ studio on Back Narrows Road in Boothbay that I share with with my wife and fellow artist, Priscilla.  We each have about 600 square feet that is separated by sound and dust proof walls because of our very different mediums. We thrive on each other’s artistic energy and inspirations!


Ann Trainor Domingue

Why Maine. Living in New Hampshire in close proximity to coastal Maine has allowed me to enjoy a seacoast region as I did growing up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  I currently have family and art friends living in Maineand have found Maine to have many details that influence my work—weather-worn working waterfront surfaces and people, seasonal color shifts, sky and water patterns, and smells, tastes and sounds of coastal life.

Where in Maine. Several years ago I decided on a coastal theme for my artwork. This decision also focused my search for galleries to represent my work. I now have frequent opportunities to spend time in Portland sketching, photographing and painting about the area as a member of Portland Art Gallery.

Studio. My studio is a post and beam one-hundred-year-old small barn. Its earlier life was as a corncrib in the village. It was taken apart and rebuilt on our property in the early 1900’s. In 20016 it was lovingly renovated by my husband into my first ‘real’ art studio—a 14x16 space that is my creative space.


Bella Weidner

Why Maine. I've lived in Maine for the past five years, before that I lived in Portsmouth and the North Shore of Boston. I've always been drawn to the coast of Maine and I would always drive up to the beaches for inspiration. When the time came, moving to Maine was a no brainer. I always knew I would end up here.


Where in Maine. I live in Cumberland, a small town outside of Portland. We have farms, orchards, and a little stretch of ocean. There's a coffee shop, a little market, some cool hiking trails. It's the perfect location.

Studio. My studio is in my house. It overlooks the woods, a pond, and my chicken coop. It's great to finally have a studio in my home. I don't have to drive anywhere when I feel the urge to create. I always have a million projects going on so it's nice to pop in even if it's only for a few minutes. My favorite time to be in my studio is first thing in the morning, with a cup of coffee, everything is quiet and the sun is barely coming up.


Missy Dunaway

Why Maine. I moved to Maine in 2016. I had been traveling abroad for years and decided to establish a permanent home. Portland is an affordable, small city where I can support myself on my art, or with a part-time job, and still allow me to paint and travel. 

Where in Maine. I live in Cape Elizabeth with my husband, Joe, and cat, Thomas. Living in a house with a yard has given me the opportunity to dabble in gardening. There are beautiful gardens everywhere in Cape Elizabeth, and its clear people really give them a lot of love.

Studio. My studio is a small house built by my husband’s great-grandfather, and I’m so humbled that I get to use it for this purpose. This is the first time I've had an art studio that is not my kitchen table or bedroom. 


Helen Lewis

Why Maine. My husband, Brad, and I have been coming to Maine for over 35 years.  We make the trip to Maine from our home in Ohio as frequently as we can; at least twice each year. I love the ocean, the rocky coastline, the history and the architecture. The serenity I hope to convey in my work is that same sense of centeredness that I experience along the Maine coast.

Where in Maine. Although we would love to have a home in, we just have not felt that the timing was quite right for us to “take the plunge.” We look forward to the day when our businesses and responsibilities in Ohio are such that we are able to spend significant amounts of time in Maine.

Studio. I value the convenience of having my studio in my home. I often head into the studio early in the morning while still in my pajamas and stay late into the night. Since my daughter’s family lives nearby, I get the sweetest studio break when our first grandson walks over for his afternoon visit.


Julia Blake

Why Maine. My family has loved Maine since moving to New England in 2003 and deciding to vacation near Sebago Lake. Maine sights, sounds, colors, and even foods, often factor into my art. 

Where in Maine. Peabody Pond (near Sebago) is our idea of the perfect vacation. We rent a little cabin each summer where the sunrises and sounds of loons are incomparable to other places we've been. We always go on hikes and nature walks and head to the beaches for day trips where we enjoy the unique plants, landscapes and views.

Studio. When I started, my studio was my kitchen because every other room was occupied. I repurposed an antique armoire and filled it will my paint supplies. For a couple of years, visitors would see my 'studio' in action. My oldest came home the day before Thanksgiving one year, looked at my paintings occupying the entire kitchen and said: " Are we going to eat your paintings for Thanksgiving dinner?" Currently, I'm managing to contain my studio to one bedroom but I still bring canvases out to the kitchen table on occasion. 



Missy Dunaway

Maine. I moved to Maine in 2016. I had been traveling abroad for years and decided to establish a permanent home. Portland is an affordable, small city where I can support myself on my art, or with a part-time job, and still allow me to paint and travel. 

Where in Maine. I live in Cape Elizabeth with my partner, Joe, and cat, Thomas. Living in a house with a yard has given me the opportunity to dabble in gardening. There are beautiful gardens everywhere in Cape Elizabeth, and its clear people really give them a lot of love.

Studio. My studio is a small house built by my boyfriend’s great-grandfather, and I’m so humbled that I get to use it for this purpose. This is the first time I've had an art studio that is not my kitchen table or bedroom. 


Allen Bunker Part II


Jane Dahmen


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