Marine Art of Mid-Coast Maine

Since the Gallery’s opening at the head of the harbor in 2002, Camden Falls Gallery has continued to expand its representation of emerging and established artists from the Northeast and beyond.

The intrinsic beauty of Mid-Coast Maine draws visitors from around the world. The island be-speckled waters of Penobscot Bay, in particular, challenges the skills of seasoned sailors and talented painters alike. The land and seascapes are our jewel of the Maine Coast.

A longtime sailor, artisan, and classic boat enthusiast, gallery founder, Howard Gallagher strives to find artists that share his passion and delight with all things nautical. Although the art in the gallery has a decidedly maritime theme, the selection of paintings represents a diverse portfolio, showcasing a variety of styles ranging from Traditional, Modern Impressionists, to Contemporary works.

The marine paintings of Loretta Krupinski, Paul Garnett, Todd Bonita, Kirk McBride, and Jonathan McPhillips have a particular dynamic that connects the viewer to the painted subject, harkening to the familiar presence of Maine and its landscape. They collectively distill time and space, appealing to the mariner lifestyle that is a common cultural identity. Collectors and art aficionados often actively look to their works because of their ability to recreate a moment by conveying their subject in a direct manner.

The Marine Paintings of Paul Garnett and Loretta Krupinski are meticulous illustrations of historical narratives. Krupinski uses archival photographs to create a body of artwork that depicts a coastal lifestyle, long gone, that once typified Maine’s harbors and industry. A major part of this body of work can be seen in her book, “Looking Astern: An Artist’s View of Maine’s Historic Working Waterfronts”. “I think I’m helping to preserve a part of history that is gradually disappearing—classic wooden sailing yachts, working harbors[,] and fishermen at work.” Her paintings are a way for her to preserve, treasure, and pay homage to Maine’s heritage.

To sample Loretta Krupinski’s book on Marine Art, “Looking Astern”: Click Here
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The book is available at the gallery for purchase.]

Paul Garnett is a longstanding member of the National Maritime Historical Society and International Society of Maritime Painters. Garnett has an intimate knowledge of antique naval structures, marine carpentry, and engineering which informs his entire body of work. He is known for his meticulous portrayals of stately sailing vessels of centuries past.

In 1962, Garnett discovered an opportunity to work on the historical replica of the merchant vessel HMS Bounty, created for the 1962 classic film, “Mutiny on the Bounty”. Garnett pulled up stakes and moved with his family south, to work as a shipwright and carpenter on The Bounty for seven years. Years later, his pivotal move to work on The Bounty, still holds profound influence on his painted subject matter. Garnett writes, “I don’t think I’ve ever worked on one of my marine paintings without drawing in some small way upon my unforgettable experiences aboard The Bounty.”

To access the write-up of Paul expounding upon the specific genre of historical narrative paintings: Click Here

For Paul’s video interviews by Camden Falls Gallery: Click Here for Part 1, Click Here for Part 2

Todd Bonita grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. He received his BFA with honors, from the Art Institute of Boston, in 1996. An introspective painter at heart, Bonita was always enamored by boats and the mesmerizing tranquil quality of water. His photo-realistic style captures isolated rowboats, moored or mysteriously abandoned, in calm waters. Some of the small boats take on a substantial magisterial persona, such as the visceral painting of, “Early Morning Maine II”. Bonita masterfully depicts the glide of the lobster boat, as it’s wake forms from behind its transom. The movement of the water is elegantly captured, like a framed still. The sheer scale of the painting and Todd’s meticulous brushwork lend this painting a gravitas and an intensity that defy the humble subject matter.

Kirk McBride is a member of ASMA and a “Painter’s Painter”. He is based in the Chesapeake Bay area, and its surrounding environ. McBride injects his palette with what appears to be liquid light on his canvas. His exquisite sensitivity to color and tonality lend each scene a delicate specificity as to time, season, and locale. For McBride, “Everything has a moment when light and shadow create something breathtaking to view.” He is constantly looking for those moments to inspire his oil paintings. Kirk McBride’s painted subjects include seascapes, mountainscapes, city scenes, landscapes, foreign cafes, and the interiors of his home and studio. The scenes he paints directly reflect the places to which he has traveled to and with which he has been duly enchanted.

Jonathan McPhillips is an accomplished artist, based in Rhode Island. He graduated from Connecticut College in 1993, Cum Laude Distinction, in Fine Arts. McPhillips’ paintings are characterized and distinguished by his atmospheric landscapes and his impressionistic, loose, brush strokes. He adroitly manages to imbue his nocturnal harbor scenes with a mystical aura. His ability to create visual atmospherics from what seems to be a few easy strokes recalls the sprezzatura of old masters. Even a virtuoso master painter would be challenged to recreate a nocturn, but McPhillips consistently captures the marvelous glow of moonlit nights with spontaneity.