Healing art: Many locals know Newcastle musician and empathic healer Emily Sabino for the free Sonic Uplift healing events she offers and for her membership in the musical duo The Flying Seeds, along with her husband, Lenin Sabino.
Now, add “painter” to Emily’s job description. Her inaugural art show, “Healing Hands,” opened on Sunday, Feb. 10 at her home at 13 Pleasant St., Newcastle.
I hung out with Emily at her house on Wednesday, Feb. 6 as she was getting ready for her opening and we talked about her art. While “Healing Hands” is her first art show, she actually has painted before.
“I took a break from it for a long time,” Emily said of painting. She said she used to paint portraits on a commission basis at an earlier time in her life.
“What pushed me (to get back into painting) is my mom’s Talking Art in Maine talks. I go to those, and I decided I needed to start painting again,” said Emily, referring to her mother, Jane Dahmen’s, live interview series with Maine artists at Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta. Dahmen is a widely known painter who also lives in Newcastle.
The paintings in the “Healing Hands” show are all based on the outline of Emily’s hands, in various poses. Rays of energy shoot out of the fingers in a number of the pieces. Some pieces are part landscape, part hand art – “handscapes,” if you will.
When asked if she learned her painting skills from her mother, she enthusiastically said, “Of course!” (One detects Dahmen’s influence in Sabino’s work, especially in her hands-meet-landscape pieces.)
In one of Emily’s paintings, a large piece titled “Self-Portrait,” young green plant shoots extend from the hands’ fingertips into what seems like a particularly rainy section of sky. The piece seems life-affirming and highlights the connection between humans and the natural environment.
A round painting (a number of Emily’s paintings are round) hanging nearby pictures a hand that is leafed out in dark-green foliage from which emanate lime-green bands of color. The hand takes on the appearance of a part of the plant world, reminding one of the oneness of life.
Another painting, an untitled one, is a close-up of Emily’s hand on top of Lenin’s larger hand with a hint of clouds and a rainbow as a backdrop. Sky-blue rays shoot from their fingertips. The painting seems to speak to the powerful, positive relationship between the two of them. As Emily told me, about Lenin: “He’s a huge influence on me.”
When asked how her art relates to her work as a healer, Emily had this to say: “One common thing when I do healing work or when I do music or art is I want it to be uplifting, something that makes you feel like ‘wow, there’s something more going on.’ I want it to open up your awareness.”
Reflecting on her “handscape” paintings, Sabino said, “I wonder how much my mom’s landscapes have affected me. I’ve looked at them all my life. It’s fun to have the landscapes behind the hands …
“I love nature. I love to shine the spotlight on it a little bit – how nature and humans co-exist and communicate with one another.”
“Healing Hands” runs through Sunday, March 10. Email Sabino at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to view the show.
Timmy, Eddie, Betsy, Frizzle, and Master McGrath: There’s a fun little show up in the community room at Sheepscot General, located at 98 Townhouse Road in Whitefield. Woolwich artist Melanie Wallace, who lives on a farm, offers an array of animal-focused work – mostly chicken-focused work, to be exact – most of it painted on recycled wooden items, such as picnic baskets, a barrel stave, and what appears to be an old shutter. (The exception is a painting of lady’s slipper orchids.)
“Timmy,” “Eddie,” “Betsy,” and “Frizzle” are portraits of chickens. “Betsy,” painted on a wide green fence picket, depicts a dewy-eyed fluffy white chicken with the word “welcome” above her head. “Frizzle” is a black-and-white chicken with long, unruly head feathers, painted on a wooden disc that could have been used as a serving tray in the past.
“Thunderhead” is a painting of a rather solemn black-faced sheep on the lid of a large picnic basket.
“Master McGrath” is a dignified-looking horse. Wallace’s artist statement says that she “was born with horses in her blood and currently has 12.”
Also in Wallace’s statement: “She combines her love for anything vintage with her paintings, finding a new life for throwaway treasures.”
Wallace’s show runs through Thursday, Feb. 28.
(Christine LaPado-Breglia has written about the arts in both California and Maine. She is the recipient of two 2018 Critic’s Awards and a 2018 Local Columnist award from the Maine Press Association. Email her at email@example.com or write her a letter in care of The Lincoln County News, P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543.)