“I was in a sense still looking at the world through Maine eyes…”
a guest blog post by John Schmidtberger
Maine, for me, is more a state of mind than an actual place.
Most of these works were painted there, and mostly en plein air, but others were done in New Hampshire and a few in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Two were painted from memory. What is common to all of them are the conditions and traits of the Maine experience: clear, hard, warm light. Low humidity. Quickly-changing weather. Mystery. A slight melancholy. Fog. Vastness. Reverence. Awe.
For many years, I could only paint during our summer sojourns in Maine, and because of that, the place (and the state of mind that goes with it) had an outsize influence on my development as an artist. Even when I began to paint full-time in the Delaware River Valley, I was in a sense still looking at the world through Maine eyes. For example, many artists prefer overcast days for painting (easier to grasp values and local colors) but I like full sun, early or late in the day, because that’s a Maine thing. I love strong contrast—another Maine thing. Fleeting weather conditions, changing moods, shifting light--Maine challenges a painter!
Of course, there is also the influence of Maine (and other northern) artists to consider. My teacher, Neil Welliver, was a Maine artist. Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper, Lois Dodd, Fairfield Porter, Louisa Matthíasdóttir and Marsden Hartley are also strong influences. Many of these artists lived and worked in the Mid-Atlantic region, taking short trips to and extended stays in Maine, drawn I’m sure by many of the qualities I mentioned above.
Enjoy the exhibit!
--John Schmidtberger, October 2019
MY MAINE THING/Recent Paintings by John Schmidtberger opened on Saturday, October 5 from 5–7pm. The exhibition will run through November 20, featuring thirty plein-air oil paintings from Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
10 Bridge Street, Suite 7, Frenchtown, NJ 08825
hours: Thursday-Sunday 12-5, by chance, and by appointment