The announcement that Edgecomb artist Bob Rose's painting, “Leaving Damariscove,” was best in show of the ARTinME exhibition was met with loud applause, whoops, yells and hollers. There was little doubt the art lovers and artists attending the opening reception and awards presentation at the Boothbay Region Art Foundation on Oct. 17 were in agreement with juror Bob Keyes of the Portland Press Herald.
In fact, the emotional response Keyes experienced while viewing the watercolor was one of several reasons he selected it for the coveted prize.
Keyes said jurying a show is a “completely subjective process, not a science.” A juror must trust his or her instincts, their first reaction. He also looks for that emotion factor.
“The painting caught my eye right away,” Keyes said. “The color, texture, and the way the artist filtered light throughout the painting as a whole. The light filtering under the house was a bit unusual, but I liked it. That figure walking away — who is it and why are they there? Bob Rose created a sense of mystery and mystique. There was a lot of emotional response.”
Keyes added that he liked how Rose dealt with all of the brown in the painting; despite the darkness of the color, it did not appear heavy in the least.
Rose was completely taken off guard when BRAF board member and fellow artist Sally Smith called his name.
“It's fantastic,” Rose said smiling and laughing, then adding, “This (painting) has a great story.”
Imagine, if you will, it’s the mid to late 1970s. Rose decides to take his cousin out to Damariscove Island to mellow out and maybe forget about his problems for awhile. See, his cousin’s wife had moved out a weekend or so before, but not before packing up the entire house.
“He got home and there was nothing there! It was completely empty,” Rose said in his typical animated style. “So, I bring him out to Damariscove and what do we see ... this house with nothing in it! Zero. I couldn’t believe it. Here I’m trying to make him feel better and the house just reminded him of what he’d just lost and he ended up in tears. It was so ... weird.”
Rose took a photo of the house, but didn't paint it for over 10 years. He didn't think he could.
“Damariscove is a mysterious island. You know something happened out there a long time ago,” Rose said. “You can feel it in the ground. In the Coast Guard station you could hear the people that were in the kitchen cooking; when you looked out from the station, you could still feel the presence of the men. I just thought it was too mystical for me to paint. I never forgot I had the photo I took that day. But that photo didn't do the place justice. One day in the mid 1980s I knew it was time.
“This,” he said, gesturing toward the painting, “is the third version with an orange and green sky.”
And, once Rose painted it, he couldn't let go of it. Until now.
Taking second place in this sixth annual ARTinME exhibition is Suzanne Marinell of Southport Island with “Maine Energy.” Keyes said he “loved the way she handled the paint” and the “looseness of the painting.”
“I liked the emotion of it,” Keyes said. “When I looked at it I felt it was very spontaneous.”
Evelyn Dunphy was awarded third place honors. Keyes was a bit surprised to learn “Glory,” a scene of Katahdin, was one of Dunphy's works.
“I thought I knew her work. I've written about her and seen her work for years,” Keyes said. “I liked the way she handled the subject, the mood of the watercolor, and from a technical aspect, how she painted the clouds ... it was different than other Katahdin scenes you usually see.”
Sally Smith and fellow BRAF board member and artist June Campbell Rose (yep, she's with Bob) hung the paintings and positioned sculpture pieces on both floors of the Art Foundation gallery.
“Jim Taliana founded this event,” Smith said. “But, since his passing, no one on the board has really taken it over. This year June and I were determined to really promote it in all areas of the state to encourage as many artists as possible to submit work.
“We are all really, really pleased with this show — and from what I've been hearing, so is everyone else,” said Smith.
Over 260 art works were submitted by artists statewide. The 96 works in this sixth annual ARTinME show are from East Boothbay, Southport, Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay, Trevett, Edgecomb, Damariscotta, New Harbor, Pemaquid, Round Pond, Newcastle, South Bristol, Dresden, Jefferson, Oakland, Woolwich, Bath, West Bath, Brunswick, Topsham, Georgetown, Old Town/Indian Island, Liberty, Gardiner, Hampden, Cape Elizabeth, Portland, South Portland, Cumberland Foreside, Waterville, Orono, Waldoboro, Camden, Rockland, Spruce Head, Tenants Harbor, Chelsea, Manchester, Winthrop, Farmingdale, Corinna, Litchfield, Yarmouth, Mt. Vernon, Gorham, Kennebunk, Montville, Bangor, Pittsfield and New Sharon.
Best in show, in addition to the prestige, comes with a $500 cash prize. This year that prize was sponsored by Sherman's Book & Stationery. The second place prize of $300 was sponsored by The First N.A. Bank and third place's $150 prize was sponsored by First Federal Savings & Loan. The honorable mention cash prizes of $100 were sponsored by Eventide, Boothbay Harbor Framers & Gallery and BRAF, and awarded to Ellen Pelletier, Angie Blevins and Deb Arter.
Voting for the People's Choice Award will continue through mid-November and the winner will be announced at the Art in the Square reception in December.
The Boothbay Region Art Foundation gallery is located at 1 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor. For more information on this show, or Art in the Square, call 207-633-2703 or visit http://boothbayartists.org.
For more images of works in ARTinME, visit www.boothbayregister.com.