Past Show

Camden Falls Gallery presents: “The Beauty of Wood on Water

Featuring: Poppy Balser, Jonathan McPhillips, Todd Bonita, and Paul Garnett

Exhibition runs through: September 4th, 2020

Camden Falls Gallery is proud to present our annual boat show “The Beauty of Wood on Water”, which typically coincides with the Camden Windjammer Festival. The show has begun and runs through September 4th, 2020. We have decided to continue on our boat show tradition despite the unfortunate cancellation of the Camden Windjammer Festival due to COVID-19.

Camden Falls Gallery is delighted to feature the works of four exceptional marine artists Poppy Balser, Jonathan McPhillips, Todd Bonita, and Paul Garnett. All four artists offer unique interpretations of the subjects they love and are able to translate, and record their individual artistic journeys with poignant and stunning delivery.

Though singular in style and approach, each artist shares a mutual relationship with the sea and those who live on it. Poppy Balser is an active sailor and is able to capture a unique balance of wind, water, and design. Jonathan McPhillips is known for his impressionistic sensibilities to paint the shimmering light and nocturnes. Todd Bonita’s work emanates with atmospheric and introspective qualities, and the work of Paul Garnett reflects a unique blend of historical and narrative marine art.

Poppy Balser is a Canadian painter who has always lived within walking distance of the ocean. She developed an early and deep connection with the seashore which has deepened, as she studies the sea and its environment through her paintings. She often paints outside to keep her observations fresh and accurate.“I feel so fortunate to live near the shore… with huge tides that sculpt our seacoast, dramatic waves and haunting fog, there is always something new to paint. I paint en plein air as often as possible. This practice enables me to observe my subjects over time so I can create paintings that resonate strongly with the viewer.”

Poppy is an elected Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor. Poppy’s work has been showcased internationally, and thanks to her growing international reputation as an exceptional artist, she was invited to take part in The Forgotten Coast en Plein Air. The 10-day festival is among the world’s most prestigious of plein air events, emphasizing artistic excellence and the production of investment-quality paintings. Poppy was invited to this event as part of an elite group of 20 internationally acclaimed artists from around the world.

Jonathan McPhillips is one of the “ New American Luminists.” He has the ability to capture the light, the air, and the distinct atmosphere in his landscape and marine paintings. Known for impressionistic radiance in daybreak and dusk scenes, his ability to capture the shimmering glow of flickering lights in his nocturnes is most impressive.

Jonathan has found his focus in a form of realism that he describes as “Contemporary Impressionism”.  Jonathan described his work as follows; “Each painting is a problem to solve, or a puzzle to piece together…a playful, yet serious endeavor, and a celebration of our surroundings. There is no greater reward than knowing that a painting has somehow captivated a friend or a stranger.  We see many things everyday with heightened digital clarity, yet original artwork always conveys a sense of mystery and magic for us all.  I see painting as an unspoken and unwritten way to connect our hearts and minds through depictions of shared experience.”

Todd Bonita earned his BFA at The Art Institute in Boston. He also studied classical painting and drawing in Philadelphia at The Academy of Fine Arts. His career includes stints as a graphic designer for commercial businesses, and as a commissioned artist creating large scale murals. As a highly respected illustrator, Bonita has also worked for many large publishing houses including McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin.

As an oil painter, Bonita’s focus is often on small watercraft. His classic dories and yacht tenders are imbued with a deep sense of psychological mystery. The softness of light on these solitary vessels, resting quietly at their moorings or tethered securely to abandoned docks, seems to take the viewer outside the normal strictures of time to a more mystical state. Bonita writes, “I paint what is familiar to my background… introspective memories of my childhood…they’re contemplative and reflective of where I grew up.  I guess I’m digging into my soul.”

In contrast to Bonita’s focus on the present, Paul Garnett is known for his precise and meticulous depictions of sailing vessels from a bygone era. Garnett grew up in the Boston area spending much of his free time on the waterfront. A special attraction to him was the frigate “Constitution”, docked nearby, where he befriended crew members working on the venerable warship “Old Ironsides.” An avid draftsman, he constantly recorded his experiences in sketchbooks, documenting his nautical interests.

A pivotal event occurred in 1962 when Garnett discovered the historic replica of the “HMS Bounty,” created for the classic film, “Mutiny On The Bounty.”  This full-scale ship was docked in St. Petersburg, Florida, and kept as a working exhibition. Pulling up stakes, Garnett moved his family south to work as a shipwright on The Bounty for seven years. Paul 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.” Garnett’s intimate knowledge of historical naval structure, rigging and engineering of 18-19th century ships has informed and influenced his entire body of work.

Garnett has completed commissions for retired Coast Guard officers, and has worked at The Merchant Marine Academy in King’s Point, NY. His illustrations also grace the covers of William H. White’s historical naval trilogy about the War of 1812. Permanent collections of Garnett’s work reside in The Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Massachusetts and The Marine Museum in Fall River. The artist is also a longstanding member of the National Maritime Historical Society, American Society of Marine Artists, and the International Society of Marine Painters.

Come and enjoy this truly wonderful collection dedicated to the marine art of Midcoast Maine!

We have missed seeing many of you in the gallery this year due to COVID-19. Camden Falls Gallery is OPEN, and we are more than pleased to open following the state guidelines. If you would like more detailed images of the artwork from our gallery, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us. We would be glad to provide you with additional information.

Camden Falls Gallery is open daily from 10am-5pm. For more information, please visit our website at www.camdenfallsgallery.com, call 207-470-7027, email us at CamdenFallsGallery@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook and Instagram.