“Dom’s Barber Shop” by Houle is one of his many oil paintings illustrating scenes throughout New England. SUBMITTED PHOTO/Courtesy of Doug Houle

BIDDEFORD — From now until Sept. 1 an art exhibit of Augusta painter Doug Houle’s work will be on display at the UNE’s Campus Center, and those who revere in everything New England are encouraged to check it out.

Houle, 43, has found his niche in creating oil paintings of scenes from across New England, specifically homes, downtowns and old architecture.

“I’ve always painted New England,” the artist said in a phone call. “You can find a place with an intriguing storyline anywhere.”

He graduated from Plymouth State College in 1988 with a bachelor’s of fine arts in painting, prior to that he’d been drawing through his childhood and grade school. But it wasn’t until about five years ago that he really made a point to create more content.

“For the last five years my wife really was encouraging me to get out there and get my stuff out,” Houle said. “So I started getting into putting out pieces at juried shows. Now this summer I was booked in April and I’m going to be booked all the way through, till October.”

Houle said American realist painter Edward Hopper heavily influences him, evident in his piece titled “Dom’s Barber Shop” which possesses qualities similar to that of Hopper’s famous “Nighhawks” painting.

“Hopper was one of my huge inspirations, I was totally consumed by his work in college,” Houle said. “I’m big into color theory. I love the idea of complimentary colors and how they work against each other. I usually paint the backdrop the opposite colors, and then paint the actual painting over that so you get that pop of colors.”

He noted that realist painter Andrew Wyeth — who owned a summer home in Cushing, Maine for most of his life — has always proved inspirational to him as well, so much so that he named one of his three children Wyeth.

When asked if he paints fulltime he responded, “I wish,” with a laugh. He currently works as a Sales Manager for domestic merchandise store Bed, Bath and Beyond.

“I would love to do painting as a full-time job, but it’s a long ways from there,” he said. “I paint when I’m not working, getting outdoors with my wife and three kids in the process.”

As for his favorite place in New England, make it Maine.

“My favorite spot is any anywhere along the coast of Maine. It’s just the greatest place to be,” Houle said.

Houle’s work will be on display until Sept. 1, at the UNE Campus Center at 11 Hills Beach Rd., in Biddeford. The exhibit is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, contact Diane Noble by email at [email protected]

— Staff Writer Ryder Schumacher can be reached at 282-1535, or via email at [email protected]



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