Art on the Hill Open Studios in Kittery
In 2001 the Wentworth Coolidge School in Kittery was converted to studios, and not long thereafter, Randie Olofson became the first artist occupant. In time she also became the heart and soul of the annual Thanksgiving weekend event named Art on the Hill, and this year’s show honors her memory. So mark your calendars for Sat. & Sun., Nov. 24 & 25, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day when you can gently walk off that Thanksgiving dinner ( in three quite manageable floors), chat with the approachable artists & artisans, and consider some truly unique holiday purchases.
Several studio artists have been focusing this year mainly on local and regional scenes. Lorwen Nagle’s plein air landscapes of the New England coastline emphasize the effects of lighting and raging skies. Sue Hennigan has been showcasing coastal waters, ports, and boats — the dock activity and architecture of working port towns. And guest artist Jo Ann Portalupi continues to exhibit oil & watercolor landscapes.
Three Art on the Hill artists have produced new work that continues a special focus featured last year. Pamela duLong Williams will present new figurative work in oil and pastels on paper. In addition, she will offer her oil paintings “Cuttings from the Garden 2018.” Watercolorist Fran Mallon has added a number of pieces to her “Portsmouth from Above” series in which local scenes and iconic buildings are treated from a bird’s eye view. Along with representing her interest in local vistas, Paula Boxer’s newest oil paintings include those inspired once again by botanical garden visits.
Abstract art has taken greater prominence in the building this year as witnessed in the work of the following four artists. Bess Cutler will offer both large and smaller series color abstract paintings. (She will also display her new series of small couture fashion illustration paintings on paper.) Lisa Noonis’ working studio will feature new abstract beach paintings and more. Inger Gregory, who has worked in a wide variety of techniques and mediums, is currently exploring the medium of alcohol inks, a process which she finds to be “a prayerlike journey of awe, reflection, and discovery.” And Kathy Morrissey, who recently relocated her studio from the top floor to the bottom floor, finds her increased square footage has allowed her to produce some large abstract paintings.
Printmaker Holly Elkins has been inspired by images from the natural world — birds, gardens, forests, and lately, she says, “ some horses have made their way into my studio.” Like Elkins, all of the jewelry makers also reference nature as inspiration. Building occupant Melinda Salazar, attracted to the untamed wildness of nature, uses silver, copper, bronze, gold, natural stones, river rocks, turquoise, lapis and more in her one-of-a-kind adornments.Guest jewelry makers Joelle Guerard and Blair LaBella each reference nature as well. LaBella’s one-of-a-kind pieces often incorporate beach stones and silver while Guerard’s may include gems or seaglass. Another guest, Lauren Pollaro, will display mixed media and enamel art jewelry.
Additional guest artwork includes Victoria Elbroch’s etchings and monoprints “inspired by conversations with trees,” Lawrence Elbroch’s “off the beaten path” photographs, and Ben Fowler’s found object instruments and sculpture. Other guest creations are decorative lights by Jacqueline Scott, clay works by Shana Brautigan, and artisanal soaps by Joe Radziszewski.
Previous visitors to the annual Art on the Hill open house may be looking for those delightful animal portraits that Randie Olofson often displayed, and AOTH studio artists miss the inspirational force that Randie was in the planning process. So as you reach the third floor hallway, do note the memorial display tribute to Randie.
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 24 & 25, 10-5 each day. 78 Government St. , Kittery
(At the site of the giant chair sculpture)
More information: www.artonthehillkittery.com
To see more local events, click here.