A roundup of holiday art shows

All of which, not coincidentally, have paintings by me in them.
Lilybells by Katharine Cartwright is one of the many wonderful works at the Kelpie Gallery this holiday season.
Women in the Arts Holiday Pop-Up 
Featuring works by Anne Bailey, Susan Lewis Baines, Katharine Cartwright, Sandra Mason Dickson, Carol Douglas, Lauren Gill, Kris Johnson, Ann Sklar, Holly Smith, Jill Valliere, Sandy Weisman, and Carmella Yager
Opens Nov. 29 – Dec. 24 at:

The Kelpie Gallery

81 Elm Street in the ‘Weskeag Village of South Thomaston, ME
Open 10 – 4, closed Sunday and Wednesday.
For more information, email here or call 207-691-0392.
Sea Fog, by Carol L. Douglas, will be at Ocean House Gallery.
2019 Ocean House Gallery Holiday Show

This is a small-works show with all works at a set price of $250, making them perfect for gift-giving. Artists from around Maine participate.
Opening Reception: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 1 to 4 pm.
Show runs through January 10th at:

Ocean House Gallery & Frame

299 Ocean House Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Open Wednesday – Friday 10 – 5, Saturday 10 – 4 and by appointment.
For more information, email here or call 207-956-7422.
Blueberry Barrens, Clary Hill, will be at Camden Falls Gallery
Camden Falls Holiday Show, Christmas by the Sea
Opening: Thursday, Dec. 5 through Sunday Dec. 8, at

Camden Falls Gallery
5 Public Landing
Camden, ME 04843
For more information, email here or call (207) 470-7027
Tricky Mary in a Pea-Soup Fog will be at Carol L. Douglas Studio.

Carol L. Douglas Studio Open House and Holiday Sale

Opening: Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon to 5, at

Carol L. Douglas Studio
394 Commercial Street
Rockport, ME 04856
Sunset is one of many works offered in my online sale.
And online…     
Have you wanted to get someone (or yourself) one of my paintings but never quite been able to afford one?  I’m offering a few paintings this season at steep discounts. These can be found here.
Paintings are discounted 30, 40, 50, even 60% off their list prices. Not only that, but postage to the US and Canada is included.

Let me invite you to my friend Sue’s party

Home from my last trip, I find the scene suddenly shifted to holiday joy
By Julie Haskell. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.
Sue Baines of the Kelpie Gallery is having a party on Saturday afternoon, 3-6. She makes the best hors d’ouevres in the world, and she’s a dab hand with coffee. I, obviously, plan to be there. If you’re in mid-coast Maine, you should go too.
I occasionally feel a frisson of guilt when I invite my pals to Sue’s events, because they really are more party than opening. I should probably offer to help. But she’s so darn talented in the kitchen, anything I did would stick out like a sore thumb. Still, she encourages me to invite you, and I’d like to see you.
By Gwen Sylvester, courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.
Don’t expect a hard sell. Sue isn’t like that. She doesn’t have to be. Her gallery is filled with absolutely wonderful work, beautifully curated in a light, airy space. I’m not saying that just because she represents me.
By John Bowdren, courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.
I know she sets up this event so all price points are represented. But that doesn’t mean the less-expensive pieces are any less beautiful. You can come away with a Christmas gift that’s handmade, local, and meaningful at a price that won’t break the bank. Or, if you’d rather break the bank, she can point you to some fantastic paintings.
By Kay Sullivan, courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.
Speaking of seasonal shifts, the great wooden boat fleet is shrink-wrapped at Camden and Rockport. You can finally find parking spaces at the harbor. Sadly, it also means Camden Falls Gallery will soon be closing for their winter hiatus. They’ve had a stellar collection of marine paintings this season, and you’d be remiss in not stopping by one more time before Howard and Margaret Gallagher set sail for the south. If you see Sandy Quang there, say hi. She’s my goddaughter.

Déjà vu, by Jill Valliere. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery 

Last, but certainly not least, my next session of plein air classes starts in Rockport next Tuesday. No, I’m not insane; the weather has been fine and the scenes achingly beautiful this autumn. This class runs every Tuesday through December 18, from 10 to 1, and the fee is $200. It’s where the cognoscenti of mid-coast Maine meet, so be there or be square.

You’ll find me out back with the horses.

Come to see the art, stay to feed the horses.

Toy Monkey, by Carol L. Douglas
The Kelpie Galleryis located in front of Pepper Hill Farmin South Thomaston. I’ve never walked back to the barns, because I’m always too busy looking at the paintings. However, gallery owner Susan Lewis Baines promises that if I visit next Saturday, November 18, she’ll give me (and you) carrots to treat the beasties with.
That’s an irresistible deal. Sue is sometimes seen with a furry fellow who might be a Haflinger—I don’t know, because we’ve never been properly introduced—and perhaps I’ll get to meet him. We kept horses in my misspent youth, and I know them pretty well. I doubt I could swing into a saddle now, but I can still whisper sweet nothings in their ears.
I’ll be there because the Kelpie Gallery will be presenting its Holiday Season show, Provenance, with an opening reception on Friday, November 17, from 5 to 8 PM. The party continues all day Saturday. Sue’s offering hot coffee or mulled cider and homemade biscotti, including a gluten-free option. If you’ve never attended an opening at the Kelpie, you don’t yet know that Sue’s a first-rank foodie. The nibbles at her events are always fantastic.
Little White Pumpkin, by Nancy Lee Lovley
I dropped off two pieces for the show yesterday. I never meant to go past the doorway, but was drawn in to look at a small, detailed painting by Jerry Cable that called to me from the farthest room. It was of the white walls and red roof of Monhegan Island Light. It was iconic while still avoiding any hint of cliché. This is a hard trick to pull off, and it’s the best in Maine regional painting. It’s why people come here to look at art.
I’m often compelled to look farther than I intended when I stop at the Kelpie Gallery. Sue’s a painter herself, and I think her arrangement of paintings is a continuation of her own color sense. She treats it fluidly, making it flow from room to room. She can hang disparate works together in a way that flatters them all.
Father Christmas, by Carol L. Douglas
The two paintings I dropped off are silly and sweet—a Father Christmas figurine and a toy monkey. Both remind me of younger days and a house full of noisy kids on Christmas morning.
Represented artists are Tania Amazeen-Jones, Susan Lewis Baines, Holly Berry, John Bowdren, Jerry Cable, Sandra Leinonen Dunn, Maggie Galen, Julie Haskell, Pamela Hetherly, Beth London, Nancy Lee Lovley, the late Erik Lundin, Angela Anderson Pomerleau, Wayne Robbins, Ann Sklar, Kay Sullivan, Gwen Sylvester, and Lucas Sylvester. Oh, and yours truly.
To get to the Kelpie Gallery, just head south on Maine Rt. 73 from Rockland. The gallery is about a mile south of the Owls Head Transportation Museum and on the same side of the road. (That’s 81 Elm Street, S. Thomaston, if you’re using your GPS.)
And, yes, the bridge over the Weskeag is now open.

From Spain to Maine

This reclusive artist never showed his work during his lifetime. It’s worth seeing now.

Untitled, by Erik Lundin. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.

On my way out of town last week, I stopped at the Kelpie Gallery in South Thomaston to see a retrospective exhibition of the works of Erik Lundin. For 45 years, Lundin shuffled between Rockland, Maine and Madrid, Spain. His work has never been shown before.

Lundin received an MA in English Literature from Ohio University and taught English Literature for ten years at Lake Superior State College in Michigan. Eventually, he relocated, spending half the year in Madrid and half in Thomaston, Maine. Lundin then spent the next 45 years painting geodynamic landscapes of Maine, the clay cliffs of Guadalaraja, the Seven Peaks of Cercedilla and the Ontigona Sea of Aranjuez. In 2000, Dr. Antonio Dominguez Rey reproduced a waxing by the artist in his magazine of poetry and poetics, Serta (volume 5). Lundin was also an accomplished pianist.

Untitled, by Erik Lundin. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.

“Lundin surrounded himself with creative and academic friends while living in Spain, yet kept very much to himself while in Maine,” said the Kelpie Gallery’s Susan Lewis Baines. “A true academic and artist, his work is both cerebral and esthetically pleasing. Many of his paintings successfully show the struggle of being two persons in one, the socialite and the recluse.”

Untitled, by Erik Lundin. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.

The paintings on display at The Kelpie Gallery span Lundin’s entire creative life. How he could be an extrovert in Madrid and a loner in Rockport, and why he felt the need to alternate between both existences, is a mystery now shrouded in time. But his social bifurcation is not the only dichotomy in his work.

Untitled (balistraria), by Erik Lundin. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.

His paintings were strongly influenced by Spanish Cubism and Spanish subjects, including the balistraria (arrow slits) of medieval fortresses. Meanwhile, his other self was deeply engaged in painting the granite coast of Maine, particularly the rocks at Pemaquid. While most of his work studies the architecture of natural forms, the collection also includes some traditionally-rendered, sensitive portraits of friends and a lover.

Untitled, by Erik Lundin. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.

Because he wasn’t interested in showing and selling his work, Lundin had the latitude to explore ideas. He did so extensively. For example, the collection includes several composite boards with postcard-sized sketches. Each board explores a single theme.

Lundin’s color sense was particularly strong. He used strong chromatic contrasts in lieu of the neutrals we typically associate with the granite coast.
Untitled, by Erik Lundin. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.

Sales of Lundin’s paintings will benefit end-of-life care at the Sussman House, a seven-bed hospice in Rockport. The Sussman House provides seven-day-a-week/24-hours-a-day compassionate care, pain management, and skilled nursing for patients whose symptoms cannot be managed at home. While the show has officially closed, the works can be viewed by appointment at the Kelpie Gallery.

Seeking a new gallery

"Hazy mountain afternoon: Keuka Lake," by Carol L. Douglas. Available through the Kelpie Gallery.

“Hazy mountain afternoon: Keuka Lake,” by Carol L. Douglas. Available through the Kelpie Gallery.
Yesterday, Sue Baines from the Kelpie Gallery in South Thomaston picked up eight of my works, with another half-dozen or so headed there next week. I’ve noted this gallery since it opened, since it’s on my way to Spruce Head. It stands off neat and proud against its setting near the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum. Being noticeable is a good first sign.
I’m in the process of searching out new gallery representation, and the Kelpie Gallery was the first place I approached. It started with a visit, obviously.
"Overlook," by Carol L. Douglas. Available through the Kelpie Gallery.

“Overlook,” by Carol L. Douglas. Available through the Kelpie Gallery.
The Kelpie Gallery hosted the Third Annual Paint Along the Weskeag in August, which gave me an opportunity to spend some time there unattended. I was looking for professionalism in grouping and displaying paintings. This doesn’t always mean lots of white space—it depends on the real estate—but it does mean that the gallerist is thoughtful in matching work thematically and in color relationships.
I wasn’t looking for other artists who paint like me. I wanted to see artists whose work is concerned with the issues I find compelling—the light, feel and architecture of the landscape. It is important to me, also, that they be contemporary in outlook. There is nothing inherently wrong with following the Old Masters, but a gallerist who focuses on that won’t really understand my work.
"Monhegan Lane," by Carol L. Douglas. Available through the Kelpie Gallery.

“Monhegan Lane,” by Carol L. Douglas. Available through the Kelpie Gallery.
When you show in a place that’s not philosophically attuned to what you’re doing, you won’t sell. Worse, your work subconsciously responds to their group norms. The biggest difficulty I ever face is getting into the wrong group of artists and trying to live up to their standards. It never works.
I asked how many artists the gallery represents. If you’re one of too many, your work is likely to languish in a back corner somewhere. “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member,” Groucho Marx famously said, and there’s some sad truth to that. If it’s too easy to join up, they may be less than selective. Luckily, that isn’t the case here.
"Rising Tide at Wadsworth Cove," by Carol L. Douglas. Available through the Kelpie Gallery.

“Rising Tide at Wadsworth Cove,” by Carol L. Douglas. Available through the Kelpie Gallery.
A good gallerist spends a long time looking at your work and takes only a select few. Watching them sort through my work is my favorite part of the process, by the way. Often they will choose works that I find unresolved. That tells me something about where I’m headed as a painter.