Three Artists Muse On Maine
by Eric J. Taubert
With its rustic authenticity, picturesque harbors, hidden coves, sentry lighthouses and the grand drama of sun-glittered surf ceaselessly smashing in salty sprays against a rugged and weather-worn shoreline, coastal Maine has long inspired artists of all disciplines.
What follows here are the musings of three hard-working artists with names intimately attached to the Maine seacoast, describing what it means to work along this stretch of land where tides, tourism and elemental forces influence the rhythms of life and creativity.
Todd Bonita, Fine Art Oil Painter (toddbonitagallery.com)
“I was born and raised by the ocean, so I suppose the salt air and romance of the sea have weaved their way into my heart and creative imagination. The additional charm for me comes by way of the artistically historic merit these places possess. It’s not only cool to paint in the same spot where Edward Hopper painted, but some of these locales also offer a unique problem-solving element to artists interested in how prior masters solved visual issues. You can set up your easel where Winslow Homer set his up and see how he turned this vista into a painting.
“When I paint the coast, it almost always begins with a plein-air oil study on location. I prefer to paint around sunrise and sunset when the light is low and passes through all of those water particles in the air … diffused warm light and shadow makes for sometimes-remarkable dramatic light effects, permitting a greater sense of three dimensions in the work. There is nothing like standing in a beautiful spot at sunset with your paints and tools, just going for it. That’s heaven.
“One common theme I’ve been painting lately is working-class fisherman. I try to make a simple and honest depiction of their character. Introspectively, almost like trying to interpret a dream and through analyzing after the fact, I’ve concluded that these paintings are depictions of my childhood memories and affections for the hard working, honest, blue collar, earthy qualities of the characters I grew up around in a New England harbor town.”