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"Maine Landscapes of the Eye and Mind" exhibit at UMFK Blake Library Gallery

January 17, 2017

The University of Maine at Fort Kent Blake Library Gallery is featuring, Maine Landscapes of the Eye and Mind, the work of students in Thérèse L. Provenzano’s Art 454: Painting the Maine Landscape class. The exhibition will be on display through Monday, January 30, 2017. 

Fish River at Crocker Beach, Fort Kent, ME
Georgii Safonov's pastel on paper art work titled, "Fish River at Crocker Beach, Fort Kent, ME"

The Maine landscape through the eyes of the painters is the topic of the course, which combines the actual practice of painting outdoors and indoors with a brief introduction to landscape painting of Maine.  Students experience and utilize the rich history of Maine landscape painters as inspiration for their own work. They are challenged with painting the landscape as subject within a studio environment, the art room, and painting outdoors, “in plain air.” The only limitation is subject, the landscape had to be of Maine.

“This course exposes students to nineteenth and twentieth century painters that embraced painting the Maine landscape with serious intent,” said Provenzano. “Painting ‘in plain air’ in nature develops observation and perception skills on how to interpret an ever-changing light as a unified composition.  Once indoors, students worked from a photograph that provided a fixed light but removed the experience of being present in nature. Most students set out to interpret the visual elements of the landscape based on their observation skills. Or, the visual elements of the landscape are taken with greater liberty or a much broader direction by becoming pure abstractions.  The mediums used were watercolor, oil, pastels, and acrylics.”

Provenzano asked her students to reflect on their experience from taking the course.

Kyra Merrithew shared, “I think that it is important to look at other works by other artists but it is most important to remember not to compare yourself to them. The hardest lesson that I learned from participating in this class is that it is important to stay out of your head. When you let go of all your insecurities and just let your work flow onto the paper the outcome is much better.”

Pink LIchen, Patten Pond
Joshua Birden's pastel pencils on pastel board art work titled, " Pink Lichen, Patten Pond, ME"

Joshua Birden commented, “One Maine painter whose work I really appreciate has been N. C. Wyeth's. For such a prolific artist, it's mind-boggling just how fantastic every single painting is. While his main focus seemed to be figure drawing and illustrations, his landscapes are something to be admired. Perfectly blending realism and intense colors to form whimsical panoramas that delight the mind.”

Molly McManus said, “I have realized that I should not be disappointed in any work that I do, because every single piece is a stepping-stone that will only continue to lead to greater and greater things. At first, I was very hesitant with making any stroke on the paper. I was too caught up in making sure every part was “correct” and “precise.” I have learned, though, that there is no right or wrong in art, and I just need to paint the landscape how I am interpreting it.”

Benjamin Farrell stated, “The primary artist that inspired me during my time in class was Jamie Wyeth. Most of his paintings come from a setting that is near and dear to my heart, Monhegan Island. His work is done in a stylistic composition of thematic elements. He incorporates various subjects including, pumpkins, birds, and boxes into his landscapes. I love the way he emphasizes the subject into the landscape while still incorporating a portrait theme overlaying the landscape theme. 

Georgii Safonov shared, “Eventually, by the end of this semester, as I was starting to tackle my last painting, I was able to implement my definitive art style to the process of painting the Maine Landscape; I was able to establish my interpretation of it. I also took inspiration from Robert LaHotan as I studied his works. His use of color and shapes had pushed me to explore my style in painting the Maine landscape.”

Rocky Waters at Wells Beach, Drake's Island, ME
Molly McManus's watercolor on paper art work titled, "Rocky Waters at Wells Beach, Drake's Island, ME"

The students represented in the exhibition are: Georgii Safonov; Benjamin Farrell; Ellen Borges; Joshua Birden; Kristina DeVincentis; Elizabeth Farr; K. Jodi Gear; Kyra Merrithew; Molly McManus; and Lisa Welch.

The exhibition may be viewed during regular Blake Library hours. Monday through Thursday, 8 am-11pm. Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.  Sunday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. For more information, please contact Gallery Curator Sofia Birden at 834-7527.

Anyone interested in taking an art course at University of Maine at Fort Kent should contact Thérèse L. Provenzano at 207-231-4593.  The spring semester offerings are an online course, Art 101: History of Art, and two studio courses, Art 200: Fundamentals of Art-Drawing and Art 351: Drawing.