Bob Keyes, Staff Writer
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Dahlov Ipcar, 96, is considered a cultural treasure of Maine. A painter and author, beloved for her kaleidoscopic renderings of animals and a long history of richly illustrated books for children, is one of the last links to the early days of Maine art. She has a deep Maine-art family pedigree, a work ethic that hasn’t weakened and an imagination that remains alive and full of color.

Ipcar, who lives in Georgetown, celebrated her 96th birthday this month by opening an exhibition of new work at a Freeport Gallery.

“I just let my inner image-finder do its thing this year without any planning,” she said. “I finished a picture, and just as I finished it, I said, ‘What do I do next?’ Whatever appeared on the screen in my mind, I did that. I’ve always had a free-wheeling imagination, but I feel I have come up with some – odd is not the word – but some unusual images this time.”

The exhibition, at Frost Gully Gallery, includes 20 new paintings completed just within the past two years.

Ipcar is the daughter of the Maine artists William and Marguerite Zorach. She grew up in Manhattan, and moved to Maine as a newly married young woman in 1937. She lives on the family farm that she has called home for 76 years.

She has been both a mentor and an influence on generations of artists because of her discipline and commitment to new work, said gallery owner Tom Crotty.

Ipcar appreciates Maine’s changing seasons, and looks forward to winter. “I don’t mind the cold,” she said.

Ipcar long ago stopped trying to paint the Maine landscape, because it’s just too pretty. She rises at 5 or 6 a.m. most days, paints for an hour or two and then goes on with the business of her day. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish in an hour or two,” she said. She wants to keep painting “as long as I have eyes. I am pretty near the end, you might say. I still have ideas. I don’t have ideas for writing anymore, but I seem to have endless ideas for painting.”