Wednesday, October 8, 2008

10X10 Art Show

This week I swap my writer’s hat for my artist’s hat. On Friday night October 10th I’ll be one of 120(!) Maine artists in the 10X10 Art Show. It’s a fundraiser for Arts Are Elementary. AAE is a non-profit organization that brings local artists into Brunswick public elementary school classrooms.

For example, AAE sends Charlotte Agell to help first graders write and illustrate their own picture books. Before Charlotte began writing young adult fiction (I reviewed her latest,) she wrote and illustrated 9 picture books. The painting above is one of three she has in the 10X10 show. Even cooler, Charlotte’s daughter and mother each contributed three pieces.

The blue jay pastel is by Anna Simmons, Charlotte’s daughter. Anna photographs the flighty birds, and then works from her photos. She’s a student at Maine College of Art.

"Monhegan Island" by Margaret McDonald, Charlotte’s mother

“Two Fish” by Catherine Worthington

Howard Solomon’s collage “Free American Men” jumps out of the box, challenging our assumption of what constitutes art and how we define American men.

I was impressed to find two paintings by my children’s pediatrician, William Wilkoff. Will has also written four parenting books. This town is crawling with multi-talented people!

All artworks are ten inches by ten inches in black frames. The show is called 10X10 for the size and the opening date (10/10/08.) The overall effect is like a patchwork quilt, and there are more than artists in this quilting circle.

Local businesses like Portland Glass donated the framing materials which volunteers assembled. Judith Long (left)and Lucy Cooney (right) were the masterminds behind the black frame show concept, borrowed from the Bayside Neighborhood Association in Portland. Many, many other volunteers helped out. Thank you!

The art above and many other pieces are on display in the Morrell Meeting Room at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.

The library is but one of the three locations for this huge 250 piece art show. Don’t forget to cross Pleasant Street to visit the two other venues.

The opening poster art by Natasha Kempers-Cullen, my two watercolors and many other works will be on display in the Brunswick Business Center at 18 Pleasant Street, almost directly across the street from the library. The art is hanging in the Points of View Gallery. Isn’t that the perfect venue for an artist/novelist?

Regular blog readers might remember my post Art and Lunch at Bailey Island about painting the first watercolor. The second watercolor I painted at the same place where Charlotte Agell and I hiked. Seguin Island is also in my header painting and in several posts about Popham Beach. Every artist was asked to write a statement. Here’s mine:

Moving to coastal Maine inspired me to paint landscapes. My medium is watercolor because it captures the flow of the ocean. It is also easier than oil paint to take on location. I usually complete my watercolors in one afternoon, racing the tide and waiting for the sun to reveal the shadows. A challenge for me in this show was working smaller and squarer than I usually do. A long rectangle works more easily with the coastline, yet I’m pleased with these square compositions.

“Sailing by Bailey Island” by Sarah Laurence

Bailey Island is one of my favorite places to paint. After a refreshing swim off Cedar Beach, my children built a seaweed fort while I painted. I had to work quickly as the tide was shifting, swallowing the sand. I let the watercolor flow like the incoming sea. At just the right moment, a sailboat breezed by. I love those serendipitous moments that make painting on location so special.

“Seguin Island from Morse Mountain” by Sarah Laurence

Morse Mountain in Phippsburg is really more of a hill, but it affords a great view of the flat coast. In September the leaves were just beginning to turn. I bushwhacked from the peak to an outlook of Morse River and Popham Beach. Seeing Seguin Island was a welcome surprise. The painting didn’t work well as a rectangle, but when I cropped it into a square for this show, it clicked.

A little farther down Pleasant Street toward the town center is Gallery Framing, the third venue for the 10X10 show.

Every art piece is priced at $200 and will be sold off the walls starting Friday night October 10th 5-8pm. We artists will be at the opening and eight Brunswick restaurants donated appetizers. The live sale continues Saturday October 11th 10am-4pm. The remaining works will be up until November and will still be available for purchase. The artists and AAE will split the profit.

The10X10 show is part Brunswick & Topsham Art Walk. On the second Friday of every month, you can visit many artist studios, galleries and café displaying art for sale. The art walks are sponsored by Five Rivers Arts Alliance.

October is a lovely time to be walking around Brunswick and Topsham. The maples are blazing red.

10X10 on 10/10
Benefit Art Exhibit & Sale
Friday Oct. 10, 5pm-8pm
and Saturday Oct. 11, 10am-4pm
Brunswick, Maine

1. Morrell Meeting Room at Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant St.
2. Points of View Gallery in Brunswick Business Center, 18 Pleasant St.
3. Gallery Framing, 12 Pleasant St

All artwork priced $200 and ready to hang to benefit AAE

Read more about the 10X10 show in this Times Record feature.

The pond in the woods behind my house.

P.S. I just stopped by the Brunswick Business Center to see where my paintings were hanging in the Points of View Gallery. The show opens tonight (Friday 10/10.) Ha! Here's where you can find my art:

You can read or leave comments by clicking on "comments" below.
I'll be adding comments about the art sale's progress too.


tina said...

Wow! All the work is very beautiful and I am so impressed by your watercolors. I also loved the pastel blue jay by Charlotte's daughter. Best of luck at the opening! That fall color is spectacular. Looks like a good year for it.

TBM said...

How delightful--I know every piece will be gone in a flash! I participated in a 6x6 collage exhibit once and it was so neat to see all the works up together. (But I don't envy the people who have the very precise job of hanging the show, do you?)

And my goodness, you are having some beautiful fall colours!

Anil P said...

Aha, the Blue Jay has so much character, almost 'headmasterly' if I may say so. Back home they can be seen on electricity wires running over harvested rice fields. If I recollect correctly we call them Roller Jay as well.

William Wilkoff's creation is arresting. Such graphic feel to it.

What's it about blue that gives things such an expansive, at times infinite, feel?

Your watercolours converge at some faraway infinity, expanding a feel beyond the square. Lovely.

That's a beautiful pond to look out on.

Cindy said...

What a wonderful concept and cause for an art show. All the pieces you've shown are wonderful and I wish I could be in attendance and purchasing something. It's nice to see the different mediums and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite.

Alyson | New England Living said...

I love it, you multi-talented thing, you! If I were closer, I'd be very tempted to run up there and snatch a piece or two.

I love your watercolors. How long does it usually take to paint one?

A Cuban In London said...

As usual a brilliant post and stunning images. I loved the blue jay pastel and the other painting of the island. Your two pictures were magnificent and the idea behind this initiative is the type of project I used to organise in my previous life as a project manager for an arts organisation. Under my current role I am contributing towards the improvement and enrichment of the creative and cultural life of a primary school so I can totally identify myself with your energy and drive; they are intoxicating.

Congratulations, very well done and wish you bucketloads of success on the 10th!

Greetings from London.

Elizabeth said...

Best of luck with your art show wich sounds as if it will be really wonderful.
Some super pieces in it.
I also loved the red leaves - we are a bit behind you in NY.

Bee said...

Sarah, it is such a tonic to read some good news about the U.S.
Exposure to the news, only, gives a lopsided, bleak view of things. The beautiful pictures and photographs of/from your community tell a totally different story -- and one that is vibrant and hopeful. Looking at those fiery maples, I'm tempted to think that Maine brings out the artist in people . . . but perhaps artists just like to live in Maine! It all sounds like such fun.

Sarah Laurence said...

Tina, I loved seeing 3 generations of art in one show. It’s a strong show by all (this is but a small cross-section.) It is fun to be part of it. The fall color is peaking, but it’s a bit browner than some years due to the early summer drought.

JAPRA, the work behind the show was equal to the paintings. I was at first skeptical of the small square format, but they do hang well together. The fabric collages (like the poster art, the 2 fish and others) worked especially well in this format.

Anil, I enjoyed hearing your impressions. Will’s work does have a compelling graphic feel to it. He was a runner up for the poster image. The Maine landscape takes credit for the expansive quality in my work; the challenge is capturing just a small section of it. I search for a path that draws your eye into the picture.

Cindy, I felt the same way photographing it - it was so hard to choose. The pieces I showcased were the ones that reproduced best. My gallery hadn’t been hung yet, but I had already photographed my paintings. When your daughter starts school maybe you can organize a similar show and program for your public schools. Sadly creative arts are often the first cut. Brunswick is lucky to have art and music weekly in elementary school, and these extra AAE projects add even more.

Alyson, I usually try to complete a painting in one afternoon in 2-5 hours depending on size. Some of the bigger and more detailed ones (like my header image) I had to come back over several days to complete. I wanted to catch the same tide on the rocks.

I wish you and Cindy could come to the opening - I'm nervous like a girl at a junior high dance. Will anyone want to dance with me?

ACIL, that is wonderful that you are using your skills to promote the arts in schools. I hope more communities copy our example. I was lucky to grow up in an artist’s home and to have terrific art teachers at school. I’d like all children to have this early exposure.

Elizabeth, I was impressed by the overall quality of the work. You’d expect something like this in NYC, but it amazes me to see this in a town of 22,000. Maine has fabulous fall foliage, but our winters are longer too.

Bee, the financial news is depressing, but when I see this outpouring of effort to benefit children and the arts I feel hope too. I’m an incurable optimist. I guess I have to be to try to make a living in the arts/publishing. Although I’ve always been an artist, I didn’t start painting landscapes until I moved to Maine. The gorgeous scenery and artsy community makes me happy to stay. I’m sure it inspires and attracts many others. Art gravity?

Shauna said...

The "Free American Men" piece really jumps at me - wow!

Your watercolors are fantastic. I must admit I'm thoroughly impressed by anyone willing to entertain using them because I revert to kindergarten at the thought of trying. :)

The colors are so wonderful on those trees.

That entire event sounds wonderful - enjoy!

Alyson | New England Living said...

If my kids weren't home for Yom Kippur this week, I'm seriously consider coming up there since you aren't too, too far away.

But I'm sure you will do very well. Your watercolors are breathtaking!

Sarah Laurence said...

Shauna, you’d have to see it person – his collage literally jumps out of the frame. Watercolor is the hardest painting medium to master, but it works really well on location. I would like to go back to oil painting some day when I have the time and the space for a studio again. Maybe when my first kid goes to college in 5 years?

Alyson, that is so sweet. I’ll feel your presence, thank you. I’m reminding myself that any work that sells will benefit AAE, whether it’s mine or someone else’s. I’ll still have butterflies. It’s interesting that your kids are home for Yom Kippur since your family is Christian. There aren’t many Jews in Maine, and few know that Yom Kippur is our most important day. I’m not observant (I’m half Jewish,) but I did think about it as the sun set tonight. It’s a good to consider what you could do better every year.

Anonymous said...

These are all wonderful! Wow. Dr. Wilkoff is multi-talented--I had no idea he painted, too.

-Cindy Lord

Rose said...

Two talents I have always wished I possessed: being able to sing well and being able to paint. I am so impressed by all this artistic talent! Charlotte Agell has quite a talented family. I'm partial to landscapes, and yours are beautiful. How wonderful that this is to promote arts in the schools--I hope it is a big success!

Sarah Laurence said...

Cindy, isn’t it all amazing? Brunswick is great. I love having authors like you nearby too.

Rose, I can’t sing well either or play an instrument. I’m hoping this show will get as favorable a response as all these nice comments.

Donna said...

The artwork and your photos are stunning. I really enjoyed looking at them and reading about the art show. You are a very talented person!

Sarah Laurence said...

Donna, thank you!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

What a charming idea for a show. It reminds me of an record album cover that a good friend of ours once did. He took a photograph of himself and divided it up into 40 or so different squares. He then send one to 40 or so different friends with the instruction to recreate it in any medium we chose, and all the same size... I think it was 8x8. I remember I made a quilt square out of mine and my husband did a drawing of his. All the pieces were then placed together and a photograph was taken. The album was called Mosaics and it was an amazing cover!

I do love your Maine watercolors!

A Cuban In London said...

Sorry, Sarah, I've just noticed that I forgot to mention in my post the other day that my favourite image is actually the view of the pond from your house. I think it's beautiful beyond words!

Greetings from London.

Jan said...

You are so talented.
What a wonderful blog post.
I am now going to read it again. Sheer DElight.

Sarah Laurence said...

Pamela, that sounds like a really interesting concept. It must have been fun seeing it all fit together. If you have images, it would make an interesting blog post. Thanks about my art.

ACIL, I wish I could see that pond from my house. We look out on woods which I walk through to reach that pond after a while. It’s the same pond I photographed last week and in my Welcome to Maine post (see sidebar, popular posts.) The challenge is getting a photo before my dog jumps in and ruins the reflection. It’s her favorite pond too.

Jan, that’s so nice to hear. Thank you.

Audrey said...

Sarah, firstly I commend you for the complete lack of election and market reference not to mention rage in your blog. I am actively relieved to be looking at your pretty flowers and the normalcy of a Maine small town. I am deeply envious of your gorgeous fall foliage. In fact, I would like to move into your blog for a couple of days and calm down. Do you think you have room?

Sarah Laurence said...

Audrey, welcome to my virtual home. We novelist/artists specialize in escape. In these times, we all need a little hometown cheer. I even find happiness and laughter in the novel I wrote called S.A.D. I’m an eternal optimist. Leaves fall, but they come back every year. Feeling better now?

Anil P said...

Can't the wednesday come sooner? :)

Sarah Laurence said...

Anil, it’s nice to feel appreciated, thanks!

Sarah Laurence said...

Unofficial sales figure from opening night: about 30 of the 250 sold. AAE needed to sell 20 to break even. This included most of the artwork shown in this post: 2 by Kempers-Cullen, 2 by Agell, the blue jay by Simmons, “Monhegan Island” by McDonald, “Two Fish” by Worthington, 2 by Wilkoff and “Seguin Island from Morse Mountain” by me. Maybe I should have been an art dealer.

I’m so excited and will be donating back my share from Seguin Island to AAE. I arrived a bit late and missed my sale which happened at the start. I did get to meet her, an employee of the library, and it’s going to a loving home. I couldn’t be happier.

The rest of the art is up until the end of the month. If you can’t be there tomorrow to buy in person, contact Judith Long (yomtov at suscom-maine dot net) or Catherine Worthington (cmworth at verizon dot net).

Audrey said...

Sarah, yes escape is good. My new mantra "escape is good, four legs bad" or something like that. You know what I mean!

A Cuban In London said...

Well, I hope your event went smoothly well. I look forward to your comments on it.

Greetings from London.

Sarah Laurence said...

The official sales tally for Friday and Saturday was 40 pieces. The remaining 210 pieces will be up through the end of October. If you want to buy:

1. Gallery Framing will handle sales during normal business hours 729-9108.

2. Points of View/Brunswick Business Center contact the receptionist 373-9300.

3. Curtis Memorial Library: contact Judith Long 725-8920 (yomtov at suscom-maine dot net) or Catherine Worthington 729-6836 (cmworth at verizon dot net).

marmee said...

oh man i see someone painted a 10x10 womens bathroom sign, hehe!
i bet you were not perfectly happy to have your paintings there but it probably got a lot of traffic. i love the sailing by baily island watercolour. it looks like it would have been fun to paint.
here's to you and painting and doing all things creative.!

Sarah Laurence said...

Marmee, the location was good for a laugh, and it didn’t hurt my painting sale. Hopefully someone will spot my other painting on the way to the toilet. The sailboat painting was a fun one.

All, so far the 10X10 sale count is at 45 out of 250.