Paintings by year-round Boothbay Harbor artist Hilary Bartlett are on display in the hall gallery at LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta until May 28.
Bartlett’s art covers a broad range of subjects in soft swirls of watercolor or bold swaths of acrylic inks. While some pieces are representational, she also loves to paint intuitively, allowing the fluid spontaneity of initial pours to suggest a composition. A few images portray enchanted realms inspired by her mother’s published fantasy tales. Others evolve into underwater scenes that reflect her marine biology background.
Bartlett grew up in the bustling seaport of Liverpool, England. If asked where she’s from nowadays she blithely says Boothbay Harbor, yet her strong Liverpool accent gives her away — she even saw the Beatles at The Cavern Club before they were famous. She came to Midcoast Maine in her late 20s to determine a predictive index for toxic red tides. Her intention was to return to England, but Maine’s rocky coast bewitched her. She never left.
Bartlett changed careers after her daughter was born and started a home-based art business. Joy Shott, of New Harbor, is her mentor. Bartlett first learned to paint large floral watercolors in the 1990s at Shott’s workshops held at Round Top Center for the Arts. Shott subsequently introduced Bartlett to acrylic inks that may be used with resistant materials like leaves or Saran Wrap, to produce a highly textured surface.
Bartlett’s paintings have been exhibited in galleries and art centers in Maine and Santa Fe, N.M. Several of her ink paintings have won awards at Maine Art Gallery in Wiscasset and the WCSH 6 Portland Sidewalk Art Festival.