River Arts visitors have selected the winners of this month’s Peoples’ Choice: three painters who are inspired by the natural beauty of Maine. Realistic and abstract points of departure highlight this beautiful show at River Arts gallery in Damariscotta. The show will run until Friday, Dec. 1 in the gallery’s Invitational Hall.
Helen Warner, a resident of Newcastle, is inspired by the beauty and color of the natural world, and her work tends toward subjects in nature. The luminous transparency of watercolor and its unpredictability continue to be fascinating; however, recently working in oils and alcohol ink has added a new dimension to her work.
Both Warner’s mother and grandmother were talented artists, so she had lots of exposure and guidance in art as a child. After a nursing career of 40-plus years, retirement offered her the opportunity to focus on art. Warner is primarily self-taught but has attended many workshops and classes locally, in Florida, and in the Bahamas over the past 15 years. Working as a volunteer at River Arts provides exposure to many local artists and the chance to learn from their work.
John Butke is an artist who has been painting the Maine landscape since 1974. Proficient in oil, watercolor, and acrylic, Butke seeks to capture the beauty and allure of coastal Maine in his work. He and his wife, Jill, a weaver, exhibit their work at The Butke Gallery on Sawyer’s Island in Boothbay.
Cory Stafford, currently living in Whitefield, is a self-taught artist who paints with oils. Having a desire to follow in the footsteps of family members who painted inspired him to start painting. His works lean toward the abstract and imaginative.