SOUTH PORTLAND — Among the dozens of kiosks showcasing art and photography and a few crafts, the work of Peyton Higgison stood out Saturday at the Art in the Park show and sale in Mill Creek Park.

His paintings captured his own imagined world of wild women with electrified-looking manes of hair and serene landscapes featuring a single tree or a house or both, all done in oil pastels and transparent oils at his studio in Brunswick.

His paintings and some prints attracted an audience, who came to look and buy.

“What got you interested in wild women? Do you have any wild women in your life?” asked Leslie Sederlund of Scarborough, whose friend Charleen Kress of Newton, Massachusetts, was so taken by the art that she bought two of Higgison’s prints.

“I love them. They are fun, unusual and interesting. They make you smile,” said Kress.

Higgison was one of close to 175 artists who turned out for the 37th version of the show and sale. The event featured food, music and children’s activities. The $800 top prize for best in show went to artist Consuelo Bailey of Brunswick, who creates batik paintings of wildlife and landscapes.

While the show is heavy on Maine scenes – lobster buoys, clusters of fishing dories and seascapes were much in evidence Saturday – it holds surprises like Higgison’s art. Some of those who exhibit are full-time artists, and others pursue their artistic passion while holding down a day job.

Higgison, who works as an artist full time, has been showing his work at art shows since he was an art student. He graduated in 1979 from what is now the Maine College of Art. He started out as a printmaker, turning out very abstract serigraphs, following in the footsteps of his mother. His work has been shown in galleries and museums across New England

But for the past 15 years, he has branched out to his paintings of women, landscapes and dogs. Higgison said it takes him about four or five days to complete a painting, but he might work on several at a time.

He said he goes to about 16 shows a year. His wife, Chake Higgison, is also an artist and set up her own kiosk – featuring her landscapes of tiny islands and cottages – across from her husband’s on Saturday. They don’t compete, he said.


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