gallery life

By Elizabeth Newman

Creative design, social sensibilities and mechanical know-how are where vision and intent entwine. That’s the everyday special for me as a picture framer and gallery owner. Then, every once in a while you experience life-changing exceptional special…

Sadly, within a matter of months last year we lost one of our most successful gallery artists and long-time framing client to cancer.  All of us here looked forward to Anne coming in to frame her artwork.  She brought the sunshine with her.  We’d chat as we choose framing for her latest accomplishment and discuss what works to exhibit in the next show.  It was a relationship that had begun sometime in early 2004.  She had retired from the graphic arts business to paint full time.  She delighted and struggled and more often than not she mastered her art.

Anne Macleod left behind an adoring husband, family and community. For a year we worked closely with her husband to select works and create a retrospective exhibit and sale of her already beautifully framed body of artwork. We had planned a three day event to sell as many of the 57 pieces as possible. It became an astonishing two hour whirlwind opening reception and sale of 53 beautiful pieces and a total of $21,000.00! 100% of the proceeds went to the children’s educational fund at their church where Anne had taught Sunday school.

We pulled every tool we possess out of the box and put them to the test for this event. It was the most satisfying hosting experience we’ve ever had. The honor and privilege to touch so many hearts was unforgettable. But, then again, so did Anne.

Here are the before, during and after images of this extraordinary event.   28

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“Pastels allow me the opportunity to paint the play of light and dark, of form and texture, and to achieve balance and design.  I am inspired by the magic and nature of Maine – the AnneMacleod HR %22Blueberry Barrens%22 400.00  pastel on paper 5.5x11.5 nicely framedlovely place I call home.”  Anne Macleod



The image we used for the invitation. “Blueberry Barrens”

“Farmers Bouquet”  One of my favorites.

FarmersMarketFlowers 8.5x8.5 AnneMacleod 300.00


Mei Selvage : A Brief Comparison of Asian and Western Art

Break_Through 10 x 8 acrylic on canvas
Mei Selvage (

Asian and Western art have many differences because they are rooted in their own cultural backdrops. Thus, it is challenging for Westerners to interpret Asian art. As a contemporary Chinese artist, I will use my painting experience as an example to share some key differences between Asian and Western art in a general sense. The main differences include an artist’s relationship with the painting objects, the background, and the focus.
Let us use the flower painting as an example. The flower painting is typically categorized in the “still life” theme in Western art. Western artists often paint what is literally in front of their eyes. This means to paint blossoms in a vase on a table and the immediate surrounding such as a tablecloth and wallpapers. Indeed, everything is “still” and prearranged. Artists are observing the objects as bystanders. Nothing is wrong with this approach.
Meanwhile, Chinese artists would argue that there is nothing “still” about flowers. Art is foremost a means to cultivate the mind and manifest the inner spirit of the artist. Therefore, learning flower painting is never as simple as mastering techniques. By painting archetypal flowers, Chinese artists are embodying and expressing feelings represented by these flowers, such as a lotus for purity, a plum for perseverance, or a peony for abundance. Flowers, the artist, and the painting are essentially one entity from the Chinese perspective.Magnolia Spring.12 x 12 acrylic on canvas JPG
Constraints are another hallmark of Chinese painting. This is seen in the economy of colors, brush strokes, and large proportion of negative space. In comparison, the background — especially shadows — in Western art offers illusory life-like effects, but they can also reduce viewers’ participation when a painting is full of details. Thus, Pablo Picasso purposely painted “Boy Leading a Horse” with a minimalist landscape background to highlight the archetypal figures in the foreground. These types of paintings reveal a universal truth: the hidden reality is more important than the perceived reality, and the archetypes are more revealing than particular snapshots.
In my flower paintings, I focus on lyrics and rhythms instead of light effects. For example, the darkened overlapping among leaves and dancing leaves conveys a sense of lyrics and rhythms. Moreover, my paintings’ backgrounds are often unapologetically minimalist yet engaging. Sometimes, less is more.
Without a doubt, my creative inspirations originate from Chinese art, literature, and philosophies. They add an intentional Chinese accent to my paintings. At the same time, my paintings do not speak pure Chinese because I use Western art mediums such as acrylic, oil and canvas, which can connect to a Western audience more easily. Essentially, my paintings aim to translate the East to the West, ancient to contemporary.

David Costello : Brunch with Winslow Homer and Whatever Else

fly away 72

By David Costello

One of my favorite quotes from Winslow Homer is tacked to the wall in my studio, it reads; “When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway.”

That quote from Homer has lodged itself in my spirit and it surfaces often at the oddest of times. It popped up recently as I was ordering breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants. When you find a place that makes great Eggs Benedict, on a consistent basis… well, you just keep going back. I’m not entirely sure why the quote came to mind at that moment, but this writing may serve as an explanation.

The “whatever else” in my opinion, is the heart of the matter. Of course as a visual artist “seeing” is important. But what one sees depends entirely on where one’s focus lies.

In the past five years my attention has turned to creating Landscapes. I am inspired by the beauty of nature that surrounds us here in Maine but my vision is not entirely directed there. I am convinced we can see more through the eyes of our hearts. The landscapes that shape our “whatever else’s” reside deep in the heart and can only be accessed by focusing there. What makes us uniquely us, is seen and experienced there.

Through the eyes of our hearts we sometimes see more clearly… for it is in our hearts where we find the substance of all our hopes, where we discover the evidence of things not seen. In essence, when an artist draws from this place, he is sourcing from what is invisible and making it visible – it’s the “whatever else” that makes the artwork unique and elevates it from being just a picture – it becomes an expression of the heart, and thus it reflects the essence of it’s creator.

Everyone has “whatever else” within them. Getting in touch with it though can be scary… often painful. The very phrase “whatever else” is descriptive and scary; It is all inclusive. Bundled there together are all the joys and all the painful brokenness – the victories as well as the failures of a human life.1 Costello

“Whatever else” doesn’t just randomly show up in the work of an artist. Homer makes it sound easy, but its not. The artist must pay his dues by spending time embracing all that is found in that place where “whatever else” resides. It takes a lot of time and courage but healing can be found there. Regardless the subject matter, a successful work of art will always reflect the time spent in that place. In that sense it is natural and effortless even unintentional, but it is a matter of being, not doing.

So why is Homer in my head when I order eggs? Perhaps “whatever else” is like Hollandaise sauce. The sauce transforms plain old poached eggs into Eggs Benedict. The sauce can be tricky to make, but the effort and time spent making it is well worth it. The sauce elevates the eggs from mere poached status and places them squarely above all egg dishes. It changes everything… breakfast becomes brunch and brunch includes exotic drinks that cause one not to care so much about the exorbitant bill.

An Egg becomes “Haute Cuisine” – A picture becomes “Fine Art.”