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September 15, 2013

5 views: Fine-arts picks for the fall

There is art beyond Labor Day, and quite often it's the best of the year. Check out these venues easily reached from Portland.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

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"Spring, Thomas Point," by Felicity Sidwell. Sidwell credits the light outside her West Point studio that makes her want to paint. It’s “always different every morning. Everything looks different every day.

Image courtesy of Sidwell Art Gallery

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”“Sam’s Boat,” by Felicity Sidwell

Image courtesy of Sidwell Art Gallery

Additional Photos Below


After a successful career in law, Ann Mohnkern decided to explore her creativity. She signed up for a beginner's art class through the continuing education department at Maine College of Art, and quickly found a talent and passion for applying paint to canvas.

"It was a total surprise to me that it clicked as early as it did," she said, standing among the 40 or so paintings that she is showing at one of her favorite midcoast restaurants, Mae's Cafe in Bath. "I look back at some of my early work, and I must say that it stands up well with what I am doing today."

Some perspective is necessary here. By "early work," Mohnkern means a decade ago. She has been painting only since the early 2000s. She retired from her legal work just seven years ago, and in that short time has fully immersed herself in her creative expression.

Most of her work is oil on canvas, but she also is partial to painting on linen.

Monhkern is drawn to the sea, though a large number of the paintings on view at Mae's are Portland scenes. She is adept at painting urban architecture, where the imprint of man is front of center. One painting, a water-level view of the Casco Bay Bridge, has been included in a traveling show of the American Society of Marine Painters.

But the majority of the paintings at Mae's are of ocean scenes. Mohnkern and her husband, who live in Yarmouth, spent years exploring the Maine coast by boat, and now spend much of their retirement life on a small private island in Casco Bay, not far from Bath.

Lately, she has begun painting en plein air with both brush and palette knife. This past summer, she explored rocks around her island, and how they reveal themselves at different tides and in different light.

"What I really love is the ocean and the shore environment, where much of the hand of man is removed," she said. "The island gives me the opportunity to spend a lot of great solitary time, just exploring and observing. I have learned to express the ocean as a presence. It has a personality to me that is very real."

Mohnkern has shown across Maine in various settings, including the Pace Galleries at Fryeburg Academy. She has earned her reputation for her willingness to show in non-traditional art settings, such as hospitals and restaurants.

She loves hanging her paintings at Mae's, because it puts her work in front of people who are not expecting it. "This space is great, because so many people come through," she said.

Mae's Cafe, 160 Centre St., Bath. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. 442-8577;



Just shy of his 50th birthday, Terry Seaman suffered a near-fatal aortic aneurism. He was lucky to survive, and once he recovered, he vowed to paint every day for the rest of his life. That was in 1996. So far, so good.

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Additional Photos

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Mae's Cafe, Bath

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"Hobson's Whart" is one of Ann Mohnkern's realistic views of the waterfront.

Jay York photo

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Sidwell Art Gallery

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Ann Mohnkern lately has been painting en plein air. This is “Plein Air #3”.

Courtesy of the artist

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Rendall Fine Art, Wiscasset

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“I want to be true to these creatures,” says R. Keith Rendall of his subjects, including “King Eiders.”

Image courtesy of Rendall Fine Art

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Keith Rendall's “Kingfisher.”

Image courtesy of Rendall Fine Art

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Richard Boyd Art Gallery, Peaks Island

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"American Eagle," by Gwen Sylvester

Image courtesy of Richard Boyd Art Gallery

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"Lawnmower#1: The New House" by Gordon Carlisle

Image courtesy of Richard Boyd Art Gallery

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Studio 53, Boothbay Harbor

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Abstract by Terry Seamon at Studio 53

Image courtesy of Studio 53

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"Quiet Time," by John M.T. Seitzer at Studio 53


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