SACO – Freeport artist Joseph Cousins’ realistic watercolors of Maine scenes drew a steady stream of viewers Saturday at the 42nd Saco Arts Festival.

Cousins, 62, has been a regular at the annual show since its inception when he was starting out in the arts scene in Portland. The Saco festival is one of about 40 outdoor art shows he attends each year, which enable him to make a full-time living from his art.

Cousins said many people feel intimidated by museums and galleries and are more comfortable viewing and buying art on the street. “They ask questions and want to know how do you do that and why do you do that,” he said.

Cousins was one of more than 100 artists and craftsmen who lined Saco’s Main Street on Saturday, part of the city’s 250th anniversary observance taking place during five weekends this summer.

The celebration marks the creation of Pepperrellborough, later renamed Saco, in 1762. The observance continues at 3 p.m. today with a tea with local historians at 3 p.m. at the Deering Room at Dyer Library.

Johanna Hoffman, president of the board of Saco Spirit, the art festival organizers, said Saturday’s event under mostly cloudy skies resulted in a good turnout.

“It has its ups and downs depending on the weather. Clouds keep people off the beach,” Hoffman said.

The lobster-inspired illustrations and designs by Andrew M. Cook of Hollis attracted buyers. Cook said he got the idea of creating lobster art from his uncle, who was a lobsterman. His illustrations include lobster-shaped subway maps and golf courses.

“I wanted people to have something to take home with them,” he said.

Patricia Flynn of Saco was selling jewelry, vases, mirrors and clocks fashioned from pieces of birch bark. “I gather it from fallen trees only,” she said.

Susan Elliot of North Monmouth started depicting trees four years ago. Today she has a series of 80 originals that have been made into prints. She said she has found that most people have a special tree in their life and relate to her art.

“I heard that the true soul of artists comes out when they draw what they love and trees are right up there for me,” Elliot said.

Many of those at the art fest said they rarely go home empty-handed.

Collette Marcoux of Old Orchard Beach, a self-described art lover, said she tries to buy at least one piece a year at the festival.

“I am looking for that chance something, that says ‘take me home’ and I’ve got to have it,” Marcoux said.

Jane Mitchell of Saco carried a bag full of goodies, including a framed piece of primitive embroidered stitchery.

“I have a very old, old house so the old stuff works,” Mitchell said.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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