No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.
Maine’s rugged coastline, lush forests and breathtaking mountains, streams and sky, even the people of Maine and the wildlife, have inspired many artists to set up their easels and paint.
Each artist brings their own history and sensibility to what they see and choose to draw and paint.
The artists who have chosen to call Maine their home, whose works are in our gallery, show us their surroundings from very different perspectives.
What Neil Welliver Saw
Neil Welliver went to Yale, taught at Cooper Union and Yale and did Color Field paintings early on in his career.
He moved to Maine in the 1960s, and did large paintings of nudes in the Maine landscape. By the 1970s he had taken the figures out of his paintings and concentrated solely on the landscape.
He packed his brushes, paints and easel every morning and carried them to a chosen spot to paint. Small studies often became large paintings that captured the feeling of the artist’s solitude within the richness of the woods and streams.
It is the appreciation of those woods, the paint-on-paint browns, greens and blues that gives Welliver’s work its sumptuous feel and gives the viewer a sense of, not just what he saw in the landscape, but how he saw it.
What John Whalley Sees
Born in Brooklyn and encouraged to draw by his mother, who graduated from Pratt Institute, John Whalley now lives in the tiny fishing village of Damariscotta Mills, Maine. He draws his inspiration from the people and objects around him.
Whalley does portraits of his interesting neighbors and the little things he finds on walks and at yard sales.
His interest in the history of an object – where it came from, why it was discarded – has led him to drawing, painting and interpreting the objects with great care. His studio is filled with found objects, that are often unrelated but, to Whalley’s eye, are combined to create stunning still lifes.
What Scott Kelley Sees
Scott Kelley was born in Binghamton, New York, studied at Cooper Union and the Slade School of Art in London.
Kelley lives in Peaks Island, Maine, with an population of less than a thousand residents.
His paintings focus on the history, the whaling families, the wildlife and flora and fauna of the island.
In his biography, Kelley writes, “I never got tired of painting quahogs,” something that is surely unique to Kelley.
He also never seems to tire of painting the birds of the island, often on a background of taken from early postcards of nearby Monhegan Island.
What Kelley shows us in his work, is both the beauty and drama of Peaks Island and his ability masterful use of watercolor and gouache.