Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Beth Quimby firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH PORTLAND - Harold and Janis Westwig of Westbrook carefully cradled two watercolors by Maine artist Richard Butterfield from the raindrops as they made their way back to their car.
Artist Arabella Eldredge of Cumberland wipes down her display after a rain shower during Art in the Park at Mill Creek Park in South Portland on Sunday.
Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer
Artist Holly Brooks of Portland relaxes in a chair along with friend Charley Foss, left, of Cumberland at Mill Creek Park.
The Westwigs said the two watercolors would join two other Butterfields acquired previously, completing their goal of having Butterfield pieces depicting all four seasons.
"We came out in the rain to find these," Harold Westwig said.
The Westwigs were among the crowds who turned out, despite the rain, for the 33rd Art in the Park show at Mill Creek Park on Sunday. The show, which had been postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to a rainy forecast, went on despite rain showers with 185 artists, photographers and ceramicists showing off their work.
The free show, one of the biggest in the region, features a food court, music and children's activities. The artists vie for prizes ranging from $30 to $800. The show's costs are covered by artists' fees and sponsor donations, and the event depends on a fleet of volunteers.
Money raised at the show goes toward Mill Creek Park improvements, such as the gazebo, holiday lighting and an annual $1,000 scholarship to a graduating South Portland High School student going on to study art in college.
For some of the artists, the show can be nerve-wracking. Ashley Gray of North Carolina admitted this was the first art show she had entered and was nervously waiting for someone to purchase her ceramic reliefs. The show happened to coincide with a visit to Maine to see relatives, so she decided to give it a try.
"It is strange to have people walk in and look at your work. You wonder what they are thinking," Gray said.
Portland artist Claudia Dill said she sells more at the Art in the Park than any other show but admitted she was a starving artist who can't even afford her own paintings.
"I lost 10 pounds this year because of the economy," Dill said.
Portland artist Holly Brooks said she finds Art in the Park relaxing. She can sit back and watch people and try to guess which ones will enter her booth, drawn to her bright acrylic abstracts of flowers, landscapes and interiors.
"They tend to be women slightly younger than me, wearing bright colors," Brooks said.
Jennifer O'Connor was selling the work of her husband, Danny O'Connor of Weare, N.H., known as Danny O, while he attended another show in Connecticut. His works, including paintings and collages made from salvaged materials such as magazine covers, newspapers and old paintings, appeared to be selling well.
Mary Dougherty of South Portland had just purchased a Danny O print of an ocean scene to remind her of Maine after she moves to Boston.
"I come here every year," Dougherty said.
Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at: