Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I hung some artwork at Jai Yoga in Brunswick today and I am feeling really up and optimistic about this opportunity! I have loved this yoga studio for a long time and I am honored that Jen has been kind enough to offer some wall space to me. I've got paintings, mixed media pieces, and even an oil pastel on display. I really hope my work is well-received by students and teachers alike!

Anyway, if you are looking for a yoga studio in the Midcoast Maine area, then please check out Jai Yoga. They have kind, knowledgeable instructors, a beautiful space, a great view, and a wide variety of classes with a drop-in schedule that's really convenient. Here's a link to their website: www.jaiyogahome.com.

Friday, December 7, 2012

doors are opening

November was my last First Friday Art Walk at the Closet Factory showroom in Portland. I was surprised when the space closed, and I felt a sense of loss and confusion. "Where am I going to show my work now?" was my first thought. On the heels of that thought, however, a little voice inside me said, "Well, maybe this is happening to free you up for something else...other places where you can show your work and have it exposed to new groups of people." Obviously, this was a much nicer thought than the first one, so I tried to keep it in my mind (which was not as easy as it sounds). I was already planning on doing Arts Downtown and All Around in Brunswick, so at least I had something lined up in December, and the Joy of Art show in Topsham would be running from January through February...perhaps something would make itself known after that.

Well, sometimes when it rains, it pours: I am happy to say that I already have a bunch of shows scheduled for 2013! In January, I have a solo show at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick (I'm still working on figuring out a date for the opening reception); I'm also going to be part of a group show at the Brunswick Town Council office (that's January through February). I have a solo show at Cafe Creme in Bath from May through July, and a solo show at She Doesn't Like Guthrie's in Lewiston in August. If that's not enough, I met with Jen from Jai Yoga in Brunswick, and she wants me to bring some work by next week so she can hang it in the studio! I am thrilled and excited...and I need to get busy!

Monday, November 12, 2012


I love painting...and I love to paint places and things that I love. Last year, I painted "El Camino", my favorite restaurant; this summer, I did two paintings to honor The Gelato Fiasco ("Mandala Fiasco" and "Give Gelato A Chance"). Recently, I finished a painting of Estilo, a women's consignment store, and one of my favorite shops in Brunswick (or anywhere, for that matter).

Last night, I posted on the Estilo Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Estilo-Womens-Consignment/104045166210) to tell them about my painting, and Lauren, the owner, said she'd like to see it. I brought it in this afternoon...not only did she love it, but she bought it right then and there! Lauren was very flattered that I would paint her shop, and she also said she didn't expect to love the painting as much as she did. What a nice compliment! Here's a coincidence, too: Eloise, one of the owners of El Camino, was shopping at Estilo the same time I was there! Funny, since Paul, one of the other owners of El Camino, bought my painting of their restaurant.

Anyway, I am very happy that "Estilo" has gone to a good home. I am also happy to say that while I was there, I picked up a sweet deal on a fake fur jacket! If you haven't had a chance to stop by this great little shop, do yourself a favor and check it out: www.estilobrunswick.com. Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

waiting for the other door to open

It is with a VERY heavy heart that I must announce the closing of the Closet Factory of Maine showroom (647A Congress St., Portland). I am grateful that my boss let me use this space for First Friday Art Walk for nearly 2 years and I am thankful to all of my friends and family who supported me by coming out to my shows and being a part of this very special opportunity. Major thanks to Jen of Interactive Tarot and to the members of The Intergalactic Yurt Band and Cumberland Crossing for lending their talents and taking these shows to a different level. I'm hoping that this is a "one door closes, another one opens" situation...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

special delivery

So...I found out a few days ago that a photo of me and my painting, "This Is The Year", is going to be on the cover of the Topsham Public Library's annual report! The photo is from the Joy of Art juried show back in January. I have a picture of the cover on my website, if you're curious to see it (www.brushstrokesbymaria.com- you can find it on the In The Press page). The annual report (which they entitled This Is The Year) will be in the November issue of The Cryer (www.thecryeronline.com); it will also be showing up in the mailbox of every Topsham resident! Major thanks to Keith Spiro for taking the photo and to Susan Preece (director, Topsham Public Library) for choosing to use it. I feel really honored!

Monday, October 22, 2012

gone to a good home

My brother-in-law, Marc, besides being super-awesome and extra-nice, is a patent attorney in Boston. His firm just moved to a new building, and he now has a new office. It's a big space, and the attorneys at his firm are encouraged to hang art in their offices. Fortunately for me, Marc likes my art, and this weekend, he bought two paintings from me: "Cosmic Spirograph", and "Imagine Memorial, NYC"! I told him he was becoming a collector, since he purchased "Rocks, Gloucester" a while back for his old office.

This makes me very happy for several reasons: one, it's always great to sell a painting; two, I'm excited for new people (his co-workers, his clients) to be able to see my art; and three, I get to visit my paintings! "Cosmic Spirograph" is from 2011, but "Imagine Memorial, NYC" is still a fairly new piece. I finished it this summer, and I only showed it at one First Friday in Portland (although I did have it on display for a couple of Second Friday Art Walks in Brunswick), so it's a little hard to say goodbye. Thankfully, I only have to say "so long". Plus, it's always comforting to know that my work has gone to a good home where it will be appreciated, enjoyed, and well taken care of. Thanks, Marc! You rock.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

another in!

I just found out this afternoon (I guess it's technically yesterday afternoon at this point, since I'm writing this after midnight) that my "Dragonfly" painting got in to the "Artist's Choice" show at River Arts in Damariscotta! The juror for this group show, Leonard Meiselman (founder of www.artcriesout.com, a website for protest art), selected 118 works by 77 artists.

I've heard of River Arts, but I'd never tried to participate in any of their shows before...until my friend Trish sent me an email suggesting that I should go for it. I'm glad she made the suggestion! The opening reception is on Friday, October 19th and the show runs through the middle of November. I'm looking forward to seeing all the different pieces that were chosen. I have a feeling it will be a pretty interesting mix. If you'd like to see what's what at River Arts, here is a link to their website: www.riverartsme.org

Monday, October 15, 2012

end of the season

Well, the last Second Friday Art Walk of the season has come and gone. I am so happy to have been able to participate as a "pop-up" artist this year, and I have to thank everyone at Five Rivers Arts Alliance who made it possible, especially Connie Lundquist and Lee Cheever. I met some wonderful people, made several sales, and had a lot of fun in the process. I only missed one month from May through October, which is a pretty good track record...I was off seeing Phish in June, and according to some friends who did make it that month, it ended up being a very rainy night without a lot of foot traffic.

I'm looking forward to Arts Downtown and All Around, the holiday show that will be at 98 Maine St. in Brunswick (the "pop-up" location where I was most frequently set up)...that will be Friday, November 30th through Sunday, December 2nd. Last year's three-day holiday show was called Downtown Moves Up, but the Friday of that show conflicted with First Friday Art Walk in Portland. I wasn't able to be there the entire time because of that, and I am glad to say that won't be an issue this time around.

Monday, October 8, 2012

october first friday recap

Another First Friday has come and gone, and once again, it was a very fun night! Thanks to the weather and the holiday weekend, people were out and about enjoying themselves. The Intergalactic Yurt Band played another fantastic set of music that had people dancing, clapping, and singing along, and Jennifer of Interactive Tarot kept people enthralled with her readings. The crowds were great, and I was happy to have friends and family stopping by to hang out and enjoy the scene. I even sold three of my brand-new mixed media pieces and one of my "tiny" paintings!

Every month, I get a fair amount of regulars (familiar faces that I only know from art walk) as well as people who are just discovering the space for the first time. One of the "first-timers" gave me a wonderful compliment as he and his wife were leaving: "You've got the best party going right here!" I have a feeling I will see them again...hopefully they will tell some friends and spread the word!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I found out yesterday that one of my paintings has been accepted into the Yarmouth Art Festival! I am very happy about getting into this show, especially because I tried to get in last year and didn't. According to the email they sent out, they had over 300 entries this year and only 165 available spaces, so the competition was stiff. The Yarmouth Art Festival is held at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 396 Gilman Road, Yarmouth; it runs from Wednesday, October 17th through Saturday, October 20th (with an artists' reception on Thursday, October 18th from 5:30 to 8 pm). For more information, click here: http://www.yarmouthartfestival.com/


Sunday, September 30, 2012

a september to remember

Wow- what a month! Here's a brief recap: it started with a very busy First Friday Art Walk, followed by a very busy collage workshop for kids at the Family Arts Festival (both of which featured a very special guest: my dear friend Tim, who was visiting from New York and went home with my "Brunswick-Topsham Bridge" painting!), then it was onto a very busy Second Friday Art Walk (where I sold four mixed media pieces). Now, on to topics I haven't covered yet...

The following week, I went on a mixed media tear and I'm still in the midst of it. I've started and finished 8 new pieces within the last 12 days, one of which is my largest mixed media piece to date...and it's still morning right now- who knows what will happen later? I also found out on Wednesday of this week that four of my paintings have been accepted into the Dempsey Challenge Community Celebration Art Walk in Lewiston next month! That event takes place on Friday, October 12th, so I can't be there physically because I'll be at Second Friday, but that's okay- as long as my work is there, I'm fine with that!

Friday was the Brunswick 10x10, which is always a very big deal. It was raining, but that didn't dampen the show at all. In fact, 47 people were waiting outside for the doors to open at 5 pm! If you're not familiar with the 10x10, here's the deal: all works are 10" x 10", and they're all priced at $200; $100 goes to the artist, $100 goes to Arts Are Elementary, a program that brings the arts to Brunswick students from kindergarten through 5th grade. No online sales are permitted, and if you want to purchase a piece, you have to stand next to it and flag down a volunteer, who will then take it off the wall and escort you over to the checkout table. The show is so big, it's in two buildings: the Morrell Meeting Room at Curtis Memorial Library, and the hall at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. This year, the first half of the alphabet was at the library, the second half was at St. Paul's. The two buildings are technically on two different streets, but there is a walking path between them.

Terry and I got there around 5:10. We walked in and I saw that both of my paintings were still there. I wanted to go over and take a picture next to where my work was, but the place was packed and I figured I'd just wait until things thinned out a bit. I should have known that things would stay packed all night, because they always do at the 10x10!  I started talking to another artist, Debbie Casterlin (whose work is always hung next to mine at the 10x10 because our last names are very similar, alphabetically speaking). We were chatting and chatting and then she casually said, "Yeah, one of your paintings has sold." I said, "What???" and turned around to see a blank spot on the wall: "Re-birthday Cake" was on its way to the checkout table! I walked closer to the checkout table, and I saw my painting there, waiting to be purchased and wrapped up. I was able to snap a couple of pictures of the transaction, and I was able to meet the woman who was buying it! I gave her a hug and thanked her. She said she was originally planning on buying it for her father's 85th birthday, but she decided to give it to her daughter instead, who is about to turn 21. "Plus," she said, "that way, it gets to stay in my house!"

A little while later, Terry and I decided to check out what was going on at St. Paul's. As we were walking out, I passed Lucy Cooney, who is a member of the 10x10 committee. She said, "Hey- you're in the paper today!" I said, "What??? Which one?" and she said, "Times Record!" Terry said, "Hey, that's a good one to be in, because it's the weekend edition- that will be on sale for three days." Naturally, I made Terry stop at the store on our way home to pick up a copy (even though it wouldn't be going anywhere)! Anyway, we stayed until nearly 8pm, chatting with friends, show attendees, and other artists. Oh- file this one under "it's a small world": over at St. Paul's, Terry ran into an elderly woman he met recently at work. She had a piece in the show and we were talking to her about it. The younger woman who was with her looked at me and said, "Yes, I've bought work from you every year at the Gorham Art Fair!" You could have knocked me over with a feather...this woman was related to the woman who Terry just met! She said, "Yes, I have all of your mixed media pieces in my meditation shrine." What a compliment! I gave her a big hug and thanked her for the support.
The next day was the first pick up date for all unsold work. I was glad to have been able to make it, because this way, I can hang "Mandala Fiasco", my gelato-spoon painting, at First Friday this week, and possibly at Second Friday next week!

One more thing about the Brunswick 10x10: I am always impressed at what a well-oiled machine this entire show always seems to be. Every year, things are professional, organized, and beautiful, from the drop off, to the show, to the pick up, and everything in between. The food is always fantastic, the event is always well-publicized, and the work is always great. My hat is off to them once again! Nice job.

Monday, September 17, 2012

by the way...

...my First Friday Art Walk listing made it into the September issue of Portland Monthly Magazine! It's on page 16 and I am very happy: my name is spelled correctly, the description of my work is accurate, and my website is listed, too. Hooray!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

recap x3

Holy cow! September is off to quite a start, and I'm just now getting the chance to blog about it.

First Friday Art Walk in Portland was fantastic. The place was packed with friends and strangers, thanks to the wonderful live music by The Intergalactic Yurt Band, my friend Erica's other band besides Cumberland Crossing. I was thrilled to be sharing the evening with my husband Terry, who- in honor of his first Art Walk in a long time- got all dressed up for the occasion, and my dear friend Tim, who was visiting from New York for the weekend (in his words: "special guest star, in the tradition of Charo"). Tim had heard me talk about First Friday ("I want to walk with the art!") many times and he really wanted to experience it for himself, so when his vacation time came up at work, he jumped at the chance.

Tim had a bit of a working vacation, though: Sunday was the Family Arts and Science Festival in Brunswick, and I presented a mixed media/collage workshop for kids. Thankfully, Tim was more than happy to be my assistant! Not only was he into helping out with everything, but he even brought a box of supplies from home (beautiful batiked fabric scraps from quilts he had made, burlap, cardstock, wooden buttons), and he made a piece himself! At one point, I apologized for putting him to work, and he looked at me as if I had three heads. He was loving everything about the festival, and he even learned a new technique from one of the other workshops: cyanotype printing, which allows you to "photograph" an image onto fabric. I'm sure I will see him using this newly acquired skill the next time he makes a quilt! Anyway, this is the third time I've done a mixed media/collage workshop at this festival, and every year I'm amazed at the quality of the work the kids churn out. We had a fair amount of adults making artwork, too! We were scheduled to be there from 10 am to noon, but it was so popular, we ended up staying until 1:30. We almost ran out of glue!

Yesterday was Second Friday Art Walk in Brunswick, and it was another great night. Terry was able to join me once again, which was wonderful. It's always so nice to have the company, and it made packing things up at the end of the night a breeze! I'm getting spoiled. I had the same room at 98 Maine that I had in July and August (yay!) and this time, I had music with me (which, as you know, makes everything better). The turnout was good, and I am happy to say that I sold four mixed media pieces- three to the same woman! It was funny: she walked into the room and spent a lot of time looking around (especially the spot where the three pieces she ended up taking home were). She said, "You know, this usually isn't my style, but I'm really feeling drawn to the spiritual element in your work." She started out choosing two pieces as gifts for friends (one of which is battling cancer) and decided at the last minute to add one for herself. The other person who bought from me was a gentleman named Rick, who was there with none other than the fabulous fiber artist, Susan Mills. I hadn't seen Susan for a while and it is always such a pleasure to run into her. They came into my room and we chatted for a bit, then they left and came back. When they walked in the second time, Rick went over to the piece he wanted and said, "I need this." Then they admonished me and told me I need to raise my prices, which Terry happily echoed (this has been a common topic of discussion in our house). Hmm...maybe soon...but that's a topic for another day.

Monday, September 3, 2012

...and we're off!

Well, September is shaping up to be a very busy month. Here are some of the highlights:

First Friday Art Walk is here again! Please stop by and see me at the Closet Factory office: 647A Congress St., Portland (we share an entrance with Princess Nails); Friday, September 7th, 5 pm to 8 pm. I will have paintings, collages/mixed media pieces, and oil pastels on display; there will also be wine, food, and- for the first time ever- LIVE MUSIC by The Intergalactic Yurt Band! Last month's art walk featured the music of Cumberland Crossing, and if you were there, you know how much fun it was. The Intergalactic Yurt Band will be sure to bring the fun as well! Bring your dancing shoes and spend the evening with us.

BIG news: my "artist profile" YouTube video will be airing on TV3, Brunswick's public access channel! If you live in the Brunswick area, click here to find out when you can catch it:; if you'd rather watch it on YouTube at your leisure instead, here's the link: http://youtu.be/QTyejD0kfNw!

Brunswick's Second Friday Art Walk is also coming right up! Please stop by on Friday, September 14th, from 5 pm to 8 pm. I will be set up at 98 Maine Street (between Nest and The UPS Store). This event is sponsored by Five Rivers Arts Alliance. Here's a link to their website, in case you'd like to check it out: www.5raa.org; here's the brochure: http://5raa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2nd-Friday-ArtWalk-Brunswick-2012.pdf.

I am happy to announce that the "tiny" show at Spindleworks in Brunswick has been held over for another month! This is a juried group show featuring work that is no larger than 3" x 3" x 3". They've gotten such a great response, they decided to keep it up through September. If you are able to make it to Second Friday Art Walk, Spindleworks is right around the corner from where I will be. If you can't make it but you'd like to see the show while it's still running, their office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Here is the information in case you'd like to check it out:
What: (tiny)
Where: Whatnot Gallery, Spindleworks
7 Lincoln Street, Brunswick
When: August 3 - September 30th, 2012
ArtWalk Reception: 5-8pm, September 14th
(207) 725-8820
More Brunswick happenings: on Sunday, September 9th, from 10 am to noon, I will be giving a collage workshop for kids as part of the Family Arts and Science Festival! The Family Arts and Science Festival is sponsored by Five Rivers Arts Alliance, in conjunction with Cornerstones of Science. The festival will be on the town mall in Brunswick (right on Maine Street) from 10 am to 4 pm, and it will feature tons of different workshops (for kids of all ages!) focusing on art and science, live music, and various activities. There will also be a silent auction going on (to benefit Five Rivers Arts Alliance), and I have donated a 3" x 3" painting to the cause. If you would like more information, or if you're interested in bidding on one of the many wonderful items up for auction (including a gift certificate for a massage from the fabulous Heather Goulette of Monarch Massage: www.monarch-massage.com), please go to the Five Rivers Arts Alliance website: www.5raa.org.
It's hard to believe it's that time of year again, but it is: the 10x10 Brunswick is right around the corner! This will be the fifth anniversary of the 10x10 and this year's show is shaping up to be bigger than ever. I will have two paintings on display. If you're not familiar with the 10x10, here's the deal: it is a one-night show, with all works of art (framed and sized at 10" x 10", naturally) priced at $200; $100 goes to the artist, $100 goes to Arts Are Elementary. There will be a public preview on Thursday, September 27th from 5pm to 8pm and Friday, September 28th from 12pm to 3pm; the reception and show will be on Friday, September 28th from 5pm to 8pm. This year’s two venues are located next door to each other on Pleasant Street in Brunswick: Morrell Meeting Room, Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant Street and Parish Hall, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 27 Pleasant Street. For more information or to check out an online preview, go to www.10x10brunswick.org.
Also, I still have paintings on display at EcoHome Studio: 334 Forest Avenue, Portland (right next to Oakhurst, where Pier One used to be). EcoHome Studio is owned by Jan Robinson (of Jan Robinson Interiors), and she offers fabrics, home accents, furniture, lighting, and more...including local art! Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. Check out her website here: www.janrobinsoninteriors.com.

Friday, August 17, 2012

living on video

Big news: I have a YouTube video! Yes, I know- any random yahoo with a video camera and a pulse can have a YouTube video. I just never figured I would be one of those yahoos, especially since I don't have a video camera.

It all started when Blake Hendrickson, board member of Five Rivers Arts Alliance and videographer, approached me at Brunswick's Second Friday Art Walk in May. He saw my work and asked if I'd be interested in being the subject for an artist profile. I was nervous, but I said, "Yeah, sure- why not?" I was out of town for Second Friday in June, but we were able to get together in July. Blake worked his ass off, frankly: he came to both First Friday in Portland and Second Friday in Brunswick, he came to my house to interview me in my studio, he got footage of me setting up and breaking down for Second Friday, he took a ton of pictures of my artwork, he answered every crazy email I sent, he edited everything together, and he made it a fun process with a finished product I feel really good about.

Anyway, here is the link; check it out and let me know what you think: http://youtu.be/QTyejD0kfNw

By the way, the incredibly beautiful music featured during the slide show portion of the video is courtesy of my very talented cousin, Frank Siegel, and his friends, Thomas O'Mahoney and Greg DelGenio. They really came through for me...and fast. Thanks, guys! You rock.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

hot off the easel

Brunswick's Second Friday Art Walk was yesterday, and I am very happy to say I sold a piece! Terry's uncle George was in the area- he lives in Virginia and he's currently doing the "New England family tour" vacation- and he made a point to stop by and see me last night. I figured we'd chat for a while (which we did), but he surprised me by picking out a 3" x 3" painting to purchase as a birthday gift for his granddaughter. The painting is called "Blue Kitty", and it's a fun little piece. I put the finishing touches on it late Thursday night, and it has now officially become the piece with the fastest turnaround time I've ever created- roughly 18 hours! I hadn't even had a chance to take a picture of it when he said he'd like to buy it. I snapped a couple of quick shots and so did he, so between the two of us, hopefully there's at least one good photo of it in the bunch.

Speaking of 3" x 3" paintings, the "tiny" show at Spindleworks had its opening reception last night. My "pop-up" location this month was 98 Maine St. and Spindleworks is on Lincoln St., which is right around the corner. Anyway, a little boy walked into my room at Art Walk last night with his mom and some other family members. I'm bad at guessing ages, but I think he was roughly 10 or 11. He looked around for a little while and said, "Do you have work in the 'tiny' show?" I was pleasantly surprised that this young kid was able to recognize my style and make that connection. "Yes," I said, "and, by the way, that's a very big compliment for an artist- being able to recognize their work- so thank you for that." His mom was pleased but not surprised: "He doesn't miss much" was her take.

I am happy to say that I will be at 98 Maine St. again for next month's Second Friday Art Walk (thank you, Connie Lundquist, for letting me keep my metal display racks in the storage closet this month). I'm hoping I'll be able to get the same room I did this time and last time. It gets hot in there, it's true, and the smell from the exhaust pipes of neighboring restaurants gives off the aroma of fried Chinese food, but I've found that well-placed fans and constantly burning incense can help to remedy those issues. In fact, I got a lot of compliments on the incense last night, so not only did it have a practical purpose, but people appreciated the atmosphere it created. Plus, the room is absolutely gorgeous, and it's very well lit. Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

tasty inspiration

The Brunswick 10x10 Art Sale and Benefit is coming up again. This year, it will be on Friday, September 28th. One of the paintings I will be submitting is called "Mandala Fiasco", and it was inspired by the yummy gelato and sorbetto created by The Gelato Fiasco, located right here in Brunswick. I had the idea to create a mandala-type of painting featuring the red spoons that The Gelato Fiasco is known for, so during one of my visits, I asked if I could have some used spoons. I promised to recycle them when I was finished, and when Sarah (one of the very friendly and helpful staff members) handed them over, she suggested I send in a photo of my completed painting to The Gelato Fiasco's Facebook page. Three weeks ago, I did just that; on Saturday night, they posted it to their wall! Here is the link, in case you'd like to see it:


Friday, August 3, 2012

crossing paths

What a FUN First Friday it was tonight!!! Things got off to a slow start, as usual- the first half hour is typically pretty subdued- but after that, things were rocking! At 6pm, my friend Erica and members of her band, Cumberland Crossing, showed up with instruments in hand and treated us to some fantastic live bluegrass. At first, there were three of them; a little while later, a fourth musician arrived; a little while later, a fifth musician arrived. They were set up near the front windows so people outside could see them, which brought a lot of foot traffic in...and since the band was so good, people stayed to listen, and they lingered in front of the art as well. People were dancing, clapping, and generally enjoying themselves all night. Lots of friends stopped by, which is always wonderful (thank you Echo, Jesse, Heather, Rebecca, Scott, Trish, Holly, Jenn, and Lori), I got a bunch of email addresses for my mailing list, and I even sold two small paintings! All in all, it was a fantastic night. We ended up staying later than usual because things were so busy...the time just flew by. I really hope Cumberland Crossing decides to come back again! Fingers crossed that things work out schedule-wise in the future...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

tiny correction

I got an email this morning: turns out I did get into the "tiny" show at Spindleworks! The deadline for accepted artists to get the news was July 15th, so when I didn't hear anything on Sunday, I just figured I didn't make it. What a pleasant surprise! Both pieces I submitted were accepted. This will be my first time in a Spindleworks show, and I'm really looking forward to being a part of it. Now I need to paint some wood blocks, affix some hooks, mount the paintings, and drop them off!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

july catch-up

So far, July has been a crazy month! First Friday Art Walk in Portland was great, as was Second Friday Art Walk in Brunswick. During both events, I was visited by videographer Blake Hendrickson, who is on the board of Five Rivers Arts Alliance. He is working on an "artist profile" of me...as you can imagine, I am really excited about it! The morning of Second Friday Art Walk, Blake came to my house and interviewed me in my studio, talking about why I paint and why I show my work. He took video and stills of Terry and myself loading up my car with my metal display grids and artwork, then of me unloading my car by myself at 98 Maine (my "pop-up" location this month) and setting up my show. Blake then came back while Art Walk was going on, got some shots of the finished show, and then came back at the end of the night to get me breaking down my grids after the show was over. I watched some of the raw footage yesterday, and so far, things look good. I know he's planning on adding more to the video (additional interviews, more images of my work), so I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product. I think it's cool that he documented how much work goes into getting ready for an Art Walk, because I think people really have no idea unless they've done it themselves.

In other news, yesterday was the first part of the Cyon Solutions' juried show (that was originally supposed to take place at Pineland); it was a private fundraising event at the Brunswick Golf Club. The second part of the show will be a barbecue on August 4th in Auburn that's open to the public.

Also, my solo show is still running at the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing in Lewiston! I was very happy to hear from the staff at the Dempsey Center that people are still reacting very positively to my work. I still have paintings at EcoHome Studio in Portland as well, and the "Summertime Whimsy" show is still up at the Chocolate Church Art Gallery (that show runs until August 4th).

I applied for the "tiny" show at Spindleworks, but I must not have gotten in (accepted artists were to be notified on July 15th). That's okay, though, because ever since I started working on paintings that are 3" x 3" (which was the maximum size for entries into that show), I have been hooked! I have found that I really love working small like that. I'm able to be really playful with my work, and I'm also able to finish each painting in just a few hours! I've come up with seven new pieces since I started trying this size in mid-June. I've been using double-sided tape and mounting the finished paintings (which are canvas panel pieces) onto painted blocks of wood. I think they look good, I think they're fun, and they're also not very expensive, which ought to be appealing to people who might be shopping for art.

That's it for now! When the video is finished, I'll post a link for it in case anyone is curious.

Friday, June 29, 2012

shows, shows, and more shows

June has been a busy month! I have been working like crazy to get paintings finished for all sorts of deadlines: July 15th is the deadline to submit images for the 10x10 contest (I've finished my two paintings and now they're being photographed), July 1st is the deadline to be considered for a juried show called "Tiny" at Spindleworks in Brunswick (all pieces have to be 3" x 3" or smaller; I sent in my two images today), and of course, First Friday Art Walk is next week, so I want to have some new work ready for that. I'm nearly finished with the Ganesh painting I've been working on, and I'm hoping to get other new stuff done as well...perhaps some oil pastels? Perhaps a collage? We'll see...I've been spending lots of time in my studio and it feels great.

The "Summertime Whimsy" opening reception at the Chocolate Church in Bath went well. The turnout was good, and I was very happy to see some friendly faces hanging out and enjoying the fun, colorful work on display (special thanks to Emily and Peggy from Brunswick Art Collaborative for stopping by). The following week, I went to the "Wine and Design" night at EcoHome Studio in Portland, and that was also a well-attended event. Jan Robinson (EcoHome Studio's owner) has really assembled a diverse group of artists and craftspeople to be represented in her shop...it's nice to be a part of it.

I'm happy to report that my show at the Dempsey Center is still going on. I'm not sure when it will be coming down (the paintings were hung on April 26th), but I'm not in a hurry! As long as they're happy looking at my work, I'm happy to keep it there for a bit longer.

Okay- time for bed! All of a sudden, I feel exhausted...

Monday, June 11, 2012

yet another overdue entry

Once again, it's been too long since my last post...so here's a brief update!

First Friday Art Walk this month was so much fun! Friends and family stopped by and a lot of laughing took place. The biggest laugh of the night may have been when I laughed right in the face of the stranger who told me that I "obviously peaked in 1997". Yes, you read that correctly. Well, you know what they say about opinions...At any rate, it was a great night, and I'm thankful for everyone who popped in to say hello, hang out, and check out my work. See you next month!

The Cyon Solutions event at Pineland Farms (scheduled for Saturday, June 2nd) was cancelled/changed, so for those of you who might have been wondering how it went, there's nothing to report yet. I was excited about the idea of a big outdoor bash in a beautiful setting, but it's okay...it was pouring rain on June 2nd anyway, so that wouldn't have worked out, and now the single event has morphed into two different events instead! The art show will now take place at Cyon Solutions' Annual Golf Tournament fundraising event at the Brunswick Golf Club on July 16th, as well as at their Annual Home Picnic on August 4th. The winners of the two $500 commissions will be announced at the August 4th event. I'm excited about the idea of having my work at two different events with two different crowds. I'll just need a different excuse to get over to Pineland Farms, that's all!

This afternoon, I dropped off two paintings for the "Summertime Whimsy" group show at the Chocolate Church Art Gallery in Bath. The opening reception is Friday, June 15th, from 5 pm to 7 pm, and the show runs through Saturday, August 4th. Here is a link to the Chocolate Church's blog: http://www.chocolatechurchgallery.blogspot.com/.

On a completely unrelated note, my husband Terry and I went to see Phish in Worcester, MA last week. The shows were fantastic (as usual) and we had a blast. The band sounded great, and their lighting designer, Chris Kuroda, seems to get better all the time. I love his use of color. He really is an artist.

Okay, that's it for now...hopefully I'll be posting again soon!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

spring fling!

I just found out that I've been chosen (along with 24 other artists) to participate in Cyon Solutions' "Spring Fling" fundraising event on Saturday, June 2nd, at Pineland Farms! This is a juried show to benefit the Odd Fellows' Home of Maine: Cyon Solutions (of Topsham) is hoping to build two new sustainable long-term care facilities in Auburn as part of the "Green House Project", and they are looking to beautify both the existing facilities and the new buildings with local art. It sounds like it's going to be a fun event, too: dinner and dancing under a heated outdoor tent, with food catered by Black Tie Company and music provided by the Saco River Jazz Band. Pineland Farms is known for its wonderful hiking trails, so I'm looking forward to a little exploring as well! There's also a $500 commission up for grabs for two of the artists in the show...keep your fingers crossed! If this event is something you might be interested in attending, here is a link with information about times and tickets:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

second things second

Last night was the beginning of Brunswick's Second Friday Art Walk season! It was a lovely evening for an art walk. I was set up at The Inn at Brunswick Station, which is a beautiful place. I was right near the front entrance, with my paintings set up on either side of the fireplace. I couldn't have asked for a better spot. It took me just over two hours to set up, so it's a really good thing I got there when I did. Last night was my first time using my brand-new (even though they're technically used!) metal grid displays. I am very happy to report that they were easy to set up and break down. Dealing with getting the S-hooks to stay on, though...that's another story! I was able to make everything work, but it might be worth investing in some hooks that aren't so aggravating (and time-consuming). Live and learn, I guess!

The Tavern at the Inn allows patrons to bring drinks into the lobby, so I was able to enjoy a nice glass of Malbec (it was a generous pour, I might add) with Prentiss Weiss, one of the other "pop-up" artists. Thank you, Prentiss, for bringing along that wonderful homemade "gorp" for us to snack on! There was a gentleman there (I think his name was Peter?) playing acoustic guitar, so that was a nice bonus as well.

The turnout was pretty good for the first art walk of the season, I think. Thank you to Peggy, Mark, Mandy, and Jason for stopping by and hanging out (it's always so nice to see friendly, familiar faces!), and a very big thank you to my husband Terry for not only hanging out, but for helping me break everything down and pack my car at the end of the night!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

overdue first friday recap

Holy cow! What a crazy First Friday it was this month! The first two hours were absolutely dead. Then my friend Heather (www.monarch-massage.com) walked in...then Rebecca walked in...then Jenn and Lori walked in...then Sarah and Rachael walked in...then Peggy and Mark walked in...and suddenly, a large group of strangers walked in. In a matter of minutes, the place was absolutely packed! Things stayed quite busy for that last hour: Jen had a reading with a client (www.interactivetarot.net) and I ended up selling a piece.

When I packed everything up and headed home, I figured the craziness was over. Not so! I checked my email after I had been home for a little while, and there was a message in my inbox from Connie Lundquist, who is coordinating the Second Friday Art Walk in Brunswick for Five Rivers Arts Alliance (www.5raa.org). The email was entitled "Times Record article- your painting". I quickly opened it and was extremely surprised to find out that an image of my "El Camino" painting had been used in an article in the Times Record (the local Brunswick paper) to promote Second Friday Art Walk! It was the weekend edition of the paper, which meant that it would be on sale through Sunday, but I decided that I couldn't wait. Even though I was already in my pjs, I changed and drove down to Hannaford to get my own copy and see for myself! The image is small, but it looks good, and it's on the cover of the "Ticket" section of the paper (page C1). The only downside is that one of the art walk locations got mixed up in the article: the actual spot is the Inn at Brunswick Station (which is where I will be this month), but the Brunswick Inn was listed by mistake. Oh well! It's correct in the Second Friday Art Walk brochure, and I think that's what most people will consult for information on the event (http://5raa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2nd-Friday-ArtWalk-Brunswick-2012.pdf). We'll see!

Friday, April 27, 2012

where there's art, there's hope

Once again, this is a long overdue entry! I haven't posted in a while, but a lot has been going on: First Friday Art Walk was earlier this month, my website (www.brushstrokesbymaria.com) is under construction and getting a new look, I've been asked to participate in a show this summer at the Chocolate Church Art Gallery in Bath called "Summertime Whimsy", I'm about to start participating in Brunswick's Second Friday Art Walk pop-up group shows...but probably the biggest news item to report just happened.

Yesterday, I hung a solo show of paintings at the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing! Everyone there was so wonderful, and I am really excited at the thought of my artwork giving a little hope, comfort, and positive energy to those who are fighting cancer. My work is hanging in their consultation room. It's a small space, but I really like it because you can feel the energy of the paintings more easily that way. It's a frequently used room and, as you can imagine, things in there can get emotional. Hopefully they will provide a little lift, a smile, or a much-needed distraction for those who could use it on a regular basis during the six weeks the show is supposed to run. So far, I have gotten nothing but positive feedback from the staff and the volunteers at the Dempsey Center, and I even received an email after I left saying that patients and family members were also giving favorable reviews.

The Dempsey Center staff asked me to provide a bio/artist's statement to display in the room with my paintings, which was no problem. They also asked me to write a little bit about my connection to cancer. This is what I wrote:

"Like countless other people, I have many relatives, friends, and loved ones who have fought cancer. Thankfully, the survivors’ list is longer, but even one life lost is one too many. Thoughts and memories of all these people were in my heart and my mind as I selected the paintings for this show, but one person in particular stands out: my cousin, Christopher Siegel, who passed away at the age of 19 after a 13-year battle with leukemia. I would like to dedicate this show to him."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

paper chase

Once again, I am long overdue for a blog post! I mentioned last time that Clay from El Camino told me she had seen my picture in a local paper. She had thought it was the Kennebec Current, so I went on a quest to find a copy. I'd never heard of that paper before, so I went online and emailed someone from their staff. I got a reply a couple of days later saying they had no idea what I was talking about. They had checked several different issues of local papers their company publishes, and there was nothing that fit the description I gave them. Hmm...

My next step was to contact Keith Spiro directly. Keith is the photographer, so I figured he ought to know where his work ended up! Sure enough, he told me it was in The Cryer. I sent an email to The Cryer asking where I could get a copy, since I figured the paper had come out a while ago and I probably couldn't find one on my own. Before they had a chance to get back to me, I went to the grocery store; sure enough, they had a stack of copies of the February issue sitting on a rack near the entrance...and there I was on the cover! True, there were a lot of other pictures on the cover, but mine was there at the bottom right. It's a picture of me standing in between the two paintings I had in the Joy of Art show: "This Is The Year" (which was labeled as "Birthday Cake") and "Kat's Magical Snapdragon". Here's the link if you'd like to see for yourself!

So, I'd like to send a big "thank you" out to Clay from El Camino for letting me know my picture was floating around somewhere, and another big "thank you" to Keith Spiro for taking my photo, submitting it to The Cryer, and writing such a nice caption! What a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

another weekend update

This month's First Friday Art Walk was another fun night! Unfortunately, Jennifer Moscone of Interactive Tarot (www.interactivetarot.net) couldn't make it this time, but after a slow start, the evening turned out to be a pretty busy one. Quite a few regulars stopped by (special thanks to Rebecca for hanging out and chatting for a while), and I am always happy to see their smiling faces. I even sold a mixed media/collage piece (called "Tic Tac Om") to my friend Heather Goulette of Monarch Massage (www.monarch-massage.com), who bought it as a birthday gift for her mom, Dennie!

In other news, we went to El Camino on Saturday night and Clay (our waitress) told me my picture was in a local paper about a month ago! She said I was standing in front of my paintings with another woman...I'm guessing this was at the "Joy of Art" show with Mandy Russell! Keith Spiro (of Five Rivers Arts Alliance) was there at the opening reception that day, snapping pictures of artists and their art, so I'm pretty sure it was one of his photos. I remember posing for some pictures, but I guess I really didn't think any of them would end up getting published. I am now trying to track down an old copy of the Kennebec Current...wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a little love from a local librarian

The "Joy of Art" show at the Topsham Public Library ended on Saturday. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend the closing reception due to a work obligation, but I was able to pick up my paintings later in the day. I went up to the front desk and showed my ID to the librarian. She asked me to describe my paintings, so I started to say, "Well, they're very brightly colored..." She interrupted me with a big smile and said, "I know exactly which ones you're talking about!" When she returned with them, she exclaimed, "Oh, I love your paintings! I made a point to look at them every day...they just exude energy and joy!" I was so touched by her unexpected compliment...it kept a little smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

another home for art

While I was at the Gorham Art Fair this past October, I had many conversations with a lot of different people. I gave out a bunch of business cards, but didn't really expect anyone to get back to me...so it was a very pleasant surprise when someone did!

I can remember my conversation with Jan Robinson (of Jan Robinson Interiors) that Saturday afternoon: She had been walking around at the Gorham Art Fair, collecting business cards from people whose art she liked. She was working on getting her new interior design space, EcoHome Studio in Portland, up and running, and was hoping to feature the work of local artists right from the start. The space was being completely renovated and that was quite a process, but things were starting to come together and she figured the shop would be open in early 2012. She took my card and told me I'd be hearing from her within the next few months.

True to her word, Jan emailed me a couple of weeks ago. She told me that EcoHome Studio would be opening in a matter of days, and to please contact her if I was still interested in displaying my artwork there. Naturally, I was, and this past Wednesday, I was able to stop by and check things out. Both Jan and Katherine (her assistant) are very nice, and the space is extremely inviting and absolutely beautiful. When we spoke on the phone earlier that day, Jan told me that she was looking for two or three pieces from each artist (small works would be best right now because things were filling up). I couldn't decide which two or three to bring, so I brought a bunch...and she ended up taking five!

For the locals reading this, EcoHome Studio is located at 334 Forest Avenue, right next to Oakhurst (where Pier One used to be); hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. They are hosting a grand opening reception on Friday, February 24th, from 4 pm to 8 pm (including wine, champagne, hors d'ouevres, and drawings for gift items) to introduce themselves to the community. Not a bad way to spend an evening!

Friday, February 10, 2012

...it just keeps on flowing

I'm overdue for a recap of what's been going on! The turnout for First Friday Art Walk was good; once again, it was nice to see so many smiling, familiar faces. I do believe I've become a regular stop for several different monthly art walkers (individuals and groups alike)! Special thanks to Jennifer Moscone of Interactive Tarot for making it a fun and exciting evening, as always (www.interactivetarot.net), and a very big thank you to Emily Weir for making the trip down from Brunswick and staying late to help with cleanup!
The "Free For All" show at Space Gallery is still going on, although I haven't had a chance to see it. I've heard that it looks really good, so I'm anxious to stop by sometime soon. Thankfully, it's up through early March! The "Joy of Art" show at the Topsham Public Library is winding down (closing reception: Sat., Feb. 18th), but there is still a little bit of time to get over there. I'm hoping to be able to make the closing reception, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a work-related commitment might prevent me from doing so. We'll see how the day works out!

This past Wednesday, Five Rivers Arts Alliance had their re-launch meeting at Frontier in Brunswick, and it turned out to be a very exciting evening for those who attended. Five Rivers has recently gone through a major restructuring and they are now a 100% volunteer-run organization. The people who are involved have breathed new life into Five Rivers, and it seems like the whole group is coming back stronger as a result. They introduced their new website on Wednesday evening (www.5raa.org) and it looks beautiful. There are many great new features on the site, including a calendar where members can post their art events (including out-of-town events, such as...oh, I don't know, First Friday Art Walk...yes, please!) and a members' gallery. Each member is entitled to their own gallery page, and I am very happy to say that my page is up and running! I have images of several paintings on my page, as well as contact information, an artist's statement, and a link to my website...all of which is included in the cost of membership to Five Rivers Arts Alliance. What a deal! Here's a link to the members' page, in case you're curious: http://5raa.org/directory/visual-arts/painting/. You can also find it by going to the home page, holding your mouse over "directory", then down to the "visual arts" category, then over to the "painting" category, and clicking on that. They are still working out the kinks, of course, but things look great, and it is very exciting to see the new, positive direction Five Rivers is headed in. There are other developments in the works, so stay tuned. If you're an artist in the mid-coast Maine area, check them out and become a member! You'll be happy you did.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

happy happy, joy joy

Today was the opening reception for the 4th annual Joy of Art juried show at the Topsham Public Library's Crooker Gallery, and I'm very happy to say that the turnout was quite good; plus, the live music by Bill and Kate Gray was great! I have two paintings in this show ("This Is The Year" and "Kat's Magical Snapdragon"), and Mandy Russell, a fellow member of Brunswick Art Collaborative (www.mandyrussell.com), has two mixed media pieces on display. Peggy Kapisovsky, also from Brunswick Art Collaborative, stopped by the opening reception to show her support, which is always appreciated! We had a lot of fun chatting and taking in all the different work. The only bummer for me was the fact that there are two typos in the program on my page. They left off the "y" in "Usery", and the price for "Kat's Magical Snapdragon" is listed as $400 instead of $450. Oh well...

Awards were presented by the jurors, but there is still a People's Choice category that hasn't been decided yet...so if you feel compelled to stop by and put my name in the ballot box, please do! The show runs through February 18th, but the People's Choice votes will be tallied up several days before the show's end (there will be a closing reception on the 18th). Here is a link to the Topsham Public Library website: www.topshamlibrary.org.

Friday, January 13, 2012

space...the final frontier

I got a call the other day from my boss, Walter. When I saw his information on the caller ID, I figured it would be a work-related phone call. Not so. He said, "Hey, did you know that Space Gallery is having an unjuried show?" I grabbed a pencil and started taking down notes. "I saw it on Portland Buzz. The time period for entries is still going on, so I bet you could get in." I hung up and immediately ran over to the computer. Yes, he was right: an unjuried show at Space, and the deadline hadn't passed yet! The show is called Free For All, and it's an experimental show. They're opening it up to any and every artist who brings work by during the specific time periods they've set aside. Anyone who submits a piece to this show is in. How cool is that? So, today I dropped off "Believe". It's 12" x 36", so I hope they have an easy time finding a place to hang it. I know I won't be able to attend the opening reception (since that will correspond with the next First Friday Art Walk), but the show runs from Wednesday, January 25th through Friday, March 2nd, so that gives me more than enough time to stop by during their regular business hours. I'm really curious to see what kind of entries they get (and how they decide to hang everything)! If you're curious, here's a link to their website: www.space538.org

Sunday, January 8, 2012

happy new year, happy anniversary!

Well, this month's First Friday Art Walk was a lot busier than I thought it would be! It was the one-year anniversary of my rotating solo shows at the Closet Factory office/showroom, and it was a wonderful night. The traffic flow was heavier than last month's, which was a real surprise, and the people who did make it out were really engaged and paying attention to the artwork I had hanging. My dear friend Jennifer Moscone of Interactive Tarot (www.interactivetarot.net) even had a client come all the way from Bath just to get a reading! Several friends made it out (thank you Erica, Rebecca, and Jen C.), which is always nice, and many of the people who stopped by have become regulars or semi-regulars. I know it's not easy for people to come out when it's cold, so I'm very appreciative when it happens.

I got some wonderful feedback from Art Walkers, too. One little girl (who, with her parents, has become a regular) looked at a new collage and exclaimed, "Forty dollars? That's it? That's a really good price! If I made that, I'd charge five hundred dollars for it!" My favorite quote of the night may have been from Celine, though (by the way, I went to high school with Celine on Long Island and now we both live in Maine...how weird is that?). She walked in and said, "I came tonight because I needed to see COLOR!"