Wednesday, December 1, 2010

holidays at the Gem

Everyone can get a brand new bag at the Gem Gallery. The annual Holiday Shop will open this Friday, and will be open for Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 PM during December.
Come on in, and see the bounty of island wares, from fleece hats, to glass vases, to earrings and unique necklaces, to pastels, prints, oils, and pottery.

The Gem Gallery will host a book signing on December 18th from 2:30 PM until 5PM, two books, on Peaks Island: For the Love of Peaks – Island Portraits & Stories: A Collection by Fran Houston and A Glimpse of Old Peaks Island: Through Rose-Colored Glasses by Alice Boyce, Eunice Curran, Ellin Gallant, Reta Morrill & Joyce O'Brien. Featuring wonderful music by Ronda Dale and Kevin Attra. A check will be presented to Peaks Island Tax Assistance for 10% of the gross sales this year for For the Love of Peaks. Please Join us!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

art on the walls, poetry in the woods

Gem member Jamie Hogan shared original art from the recently published "Nest, Nook & Cranny" at the Gem Gallery on October 16. The poem collection about animal habitats, written by Susan Blackaby, provided a great spring board for evocative line drawings by Jamie. She hung sketches and variations of color work that became the final art for the cover.

Meanwhile, Garry Fox, president of the Peaks Island Land Preserve, led a guided nature walk on a PILP trail dotted with pages from the book.

It was a poetic way to bring literacy outside, and thanks to Healthy Portland for sponsoring the signage. A portion of proceeds from the sale of art, books, and prints will benefit the Peaks Island Land Preserve. After all, it's the natural beauty and its stewardship that inspires the island artists who inhabit its environs.

On October 23, PILP opens Battery Steele to the annual pagan art festival, Sacred and Profane. The procession begins from Welch Street off the 2:15 boat from Portland.

Come see this mysterious and sacred event.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

paula coward

A native of California, Paula Coward found a community to call home on Peaks Island about two years ago. After gallery rounds in LA and travels in Asia, she has settled into a creative groove in Maine. Her current show at the Gem Gallery is a mix of wood, ink, watercolor and pastel with an emphasis on pattern and symmetry.

Paula, on the right, at her opening on Friday night:

This piece is ink on wood with a glossy surface.

Paula's work will be on display through next Wednesday, August 18. Gallery hours are
11 - 6 PM daily. Take a ferry to Peaks, walk up the hill, left at the ice cream store. When the gallery is open, a red sandwich board is on the sidewalk, right before the Post Office. Call 766-5600 for more information.

Meanwhile, over on City Point Road, Jane Banquer is furiously carving wood blocks for her upcoming show, "Shelter by the Sea," August 19 - 25 in the back gallery. Jane's opening will be next Friday, August 20 from 5 - 8 PM.

Jane shares a sunny studio with partner, Norm Proulx, who also exhibits at the Gem Gallery. Their studio is open for the last Art Walk of the summer on August 28.

In the Gem show, Jane's deep background in printmaking will be on view, with woodcuts, and solar plate etchings, along with paintings inspired by cottages by the sea.

Also this weekend, some members of the Gem Gallery will participate in the annual Art on the Porch at the Fifth Maine at 45 Seashore Avenue. Paul Brahms, Jamie Hogan, Peg Astarita, and Kathy Newell, Thea Demitre, Betsy Stout, and Martha Morris Gibson will be among 40 artists selling their work on August 15 from 10 - 3 PM.

Enjoy the views and meet the artists!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Claudia Whitman (on right) speaks with an art patron about her work during the current show at the Gem Gallery which is on exhibit July 29 - August 11.

Norm Proulx and Claudia Whitman share the walls of the back gallery in the Gem for two weeks, as they have for the last couple of summers. Their work complements each other; although disparate in both approach and motive, these pieces speak about work.

"Forsaken Workplaces, Forsaken Workers" is a dual exhibit that touches on one theme in very different ways.

Claudia's pieces make use of her collage and assemblage.

Claudia makes this statement about her series:

This show is a response to the NYTimes Magazine articles I read last summer about women being the only hope for the world. There were descriptions of poor communities around the world where women got small micro loans that led to small businesses but huge changes in the family and economic dynamics. Husbands often stopped beating their wives. I decided I needed to focus on women, particularly in the so-called third world. Hanging in my window was a mobile from NAWOU, the National Association of Women’s Organizations in Uganda, with spectacular figures in different poses. I thought I might make something like these figures, but then it occurred to me that I could use theirs and in such a manner, contribute to awareness of their endeavors and to their financial efforts. I e-mailed them and asked if I could use the figures in my art pieces if I gave them credit and also offered to give them a percentage of any sales. They answered enthusiastically in favor of the project. Thus, I will be donating 10% of sales to NAWOU, will send pictures of the individual pieces, and will offer to bring the show to Uganda at some time in the future.

My art has always been a collaboration: items I find and things I make; incorporation of old works into new ideas; use of prints made by school kids with work of my own. This show stretches the concept further for me.


NAWOU, The National Association of Women's Organizations in Uganda, is a non-governmental organization representing women's groups in Uganda. The goal of NAWOU is to improve the status and living conditions of women in Uganda and to make women self-reliant. In addition to running income generation projects, NAWOU is also involved in micro credit, information and research, advocacy, and lobbying for women’s rights.

NAWOU’s handcraft project supports 70 women’s handcraft groups, representing over 1,000 women. With the income earned from making handcrafts, the women provide needed resources to their families. Having a sustainable source of income has not only improved their self esteem and confidence, but has also enabled women to cope with social economic issues and has given the women a stronger voice in their families and communities. Earning their own income has meant that women are able to make decisions and be less dependent on men for accessing their basic needs like food, shelter, health and education for their children.

Through an agreement with NAWOU to use the figures in my art pieces, I will be donating 10% of all sales to NAWOU.

BASKETS are made by Dhaka Handcrafts, an independent organization designed to assist impoverished rural artisans in Bangladesh to attain self-sufficiency, and at the same time to encourage and market traditional craftsmanship.

Norm Proulx has created a series of pastels and acrylic paintings of mills in Maine.

Weather is grand for traveling via ferry to the Gem Gallery on sunny Peaks Island! Call 207-766-5600 for gallery hours.

You can also see the work of Peaks Island artist Jeanne O'Toole Hayman at the newly relocated Addison Woolley Gallery from August 5 - 28. Gallery hours at 132 Washington Avenue in Portland are
Wed. - Sat. 11:30 - 5.

Monday, July 26, 2010

super freak species

Carol Cartier has mounted another mind-boggling installation of magical curiosities.

She is a truly obsessed Thing Finder, and our world is better for it. She finds mystical joys in the most unexpected places, such as worn shoe soles and specimen tags.

Try to picture the pains involved in carting this amount of ephemera from one place to another, and placing it JUST SO, like Joseph Cornell waaaaay out of the box.

Here in this Cabinet of Curiosities, she shares a love of shiny elements with David Sheppard, an artisan extraordinaire whose silver boxes hold secrets worth keeping.

Carol delights in surfaces and textures, combining here fur, leather, and funk.

Along one wall of the Gem Gallery is a row of tintypes by Cole Caswell, a photographer from another dimension. His metallic portraits capture the itinerant souls of his rogue subjects with a delicate blend of the past and future. Pure alchemy. You can find him ducking under a black cloth at the Portland Farmer's Market, or at the next Art Walk, or at We Are X on High Street in Portland.

Carol Cartier's unique installation is only on exhibit through July 28. You MUST see it to believe it.

Next up: Norm Proulx and Claudia Whitman who pair their talents in indescribable ways.

Opening reception: July 29, 5 - 8 PM.

Monday, July 19, 2010

At Gem Gallery hanging our show.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A sweet view of our beloved on a super hot summer day. Bird houses by Alfred Wood, painted children's furniture by Nancy Chalmers.
A view of the current show, KIN. Prints and animation by Jackman Wood and paintings by Diane Wiencke. In the forground is a silkscreen portrait by Jackman. At the top left are small landscape paintings by Paul Brahms .
This is a 4x8 woodcut By Jackman Wood. The image accompanies the animation piece who's content depicts a man's walkabout from and back to his home in the wilderness.
This is a still from Jackman Wood's animation piece currently showing at Gem. The flat screen monitor is mounted on a wheat pasted woodcut wall. Jackman' prints compliment the soft tonal qualities of Diane Wiencke's encaustic colorfield paintings

Sunday, July 11, 2010

work in progress. d. wiencke studio

Studio view


The work of Jackman Wood and Diane Wiencke
Paintings, Prints and Animation
Opening Reception Saturday July 17th 5-8
Show runs through Wednesday July 21

carol cartier's upcoming show

I'm working on new pieces for my upcoming show at the Gem on July 23. Here's a preview of the progress.

These are pieces of coral from Coral Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands. My family and I visited 2 years ago. I tried to find an entire alphabet. Fat chance. Must return.

Desk mess.

The deer"skull" is a broken lobster buoy. The eyes wink. The group of tags are part of a piece that celebrates the gorgeous simple specimen label.

This is an unassembled assemblage of a seal! The dude does not have his tattoos yet.

Here are 2 birds. one is made from beach-combed finds the other from tin and vintage protractors.
lots more to do. I'm out of my tree.

Come to my Cabinet of Curiosities. July 23 5-8
Secrets will be revealed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

light and water

The Gem Gallery is now showing paintings by Lavendier Myers, wood sculptures by Steve B. King, and jewelry by Betsy Stout. It makes for a fresh combination of media, forms, and purpose.

Lavendier's series of acrylics feature color rippling across watery surfaces. Perfect for a steamy summer. Her bold strokes splash across the canvas with joyful energy.

Steve works in wood, light, and time. His sculpture in the corner is whimsical and yet holds great presence, echoing the curves and elipses found in Lavendier's paintings.

The delicate silver, stone, and bead creations by Betsy hang like droplets around the gallery.

The show is up through July 14. Be sure to stop in and meet the artists, who will man the gallery from 11 AM to 6 PM daily.

Paul Brahm's show, which you may have missed, was filled to the brim with his sun-spangled paintings of people at the island shore.

Here is Paul, reflected in Dustine Price's assemblage mirror, discussing a commission in the front room of the gallery.

Summer shows change weekly, so stop in often. The back gallery rotates exhibits on Thursdays, while the front gallery houses the work of over 20 artists in the collective, with regular updates of art fresh from the hands of island makers.

The front door is blooming with flowers, and Dustine Price's assemblage mermaid beckons the curious.

Do stop in!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

new paintings

Paul Brahms invites one and all to his opening this Thursday, July 1 at 5 PM. Come see what this prolific painter is all about. He's in big demand for commissions at this time of year, but still manages to capture the island, rusty relics, and objects of his fancy.

Stop in this week during the show and meet Paul. Hours: 11 - 6 daily til through July 7.
The Gem Gallery is up the hill from the ferry, left on Island Avenue and just before the
Post Office.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

found heart

The Gem Gallery is once again OPEN for summer! This unassuming venue at 62 Island Avenue on Peaks Island will now hang out the sign, 11 AM - 6 PM daily.

Summer resident Dustine Price's "Found Heart" is an exuberant mix of assemblage and wordplay. Dustine graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art and has taught art at all levels. Currently working in elementary schools and juggling small children, her work reflects an optimism and wit, with resourceful use of unexpected materials.

The opening reception was held Friday evening, June 25.

Dustine enjoys mixing media at every opportunity.

This small sculpture is like a curious cross between Buddha and Yellow Submarine.

Dustine identifies with her mermaid creation.

The upcoming schedule promises to be pretty lively:

7/1-7/7 Paul Brahms
7/8-7/14 Lavendier Myers
7/15-7/21 Diane Wiencke
7/22-7/28 Carol Cartier
7/29-8/11 Norm Proulx and Claudia Whitman
8/12-8/18 Paula Coward
8/19-8/25 Jane Banquer

Check here for updates on what's happening!

Stop in and meet the artists. Featured artists exhibit in the rear gallery, with over 20 island artists sharing space in the front gallery. Something for everyone, from
jewelry to glassware, pottery to prints, oils to books.

We are only a breezy 15 minutes from Portland.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

lovies at the Gem

Anne Romanyshyn, Fran Houston, and Phil Munn share the love at the Gem Gallery's sunny book launch party on May 31 for Fran Houston's "For the Love of Peaks."

Fran began collecting the stories of island elders, interviewing and photographing them a couple of years ago. She exhibited her photographs at the Gem Gallery last summer and responded to the immediate demand for a book by applying for a grant. With intrepid diligence, some funding from the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Humanities Council, and support from islanders, Fran's book took shape.

Here, Nancy 3 Hoffman, Island Times editor Kevin Attra, and Rhonda Dale combine their acoustic genius on the street.

You really can't beat live music to make a celebration complete.

"For the Love of Peaks" is available at the Gem and Longfellow Books.

Meanwhile, the Gem will hold an opening reception on Saturday, June 19 for the annual Affordable Art show from 5 - 8 PM. Come meet the folks in this island collective.

A peek at what's currently on view:

paintings by Norm Proulx from a series on local mills

delicate drawings by Jane Banquer, such as this momento of a trip to Paris

a whole shelf of variety, with encaustics by Diane Wiencke, a pastel of peonies by Jamie Hogan, and a basket woven by Martha Morris Gibson

how about a hand painted folksy bench by Kathy Newell and a dreamy field of blue by Adam Wilson?

There is all this and much more: jewelry, oils, glass, photographs, pottery and more books. Peaks Island boasts very diverse makers and creators. Stop in this weekend and get maps for Saturday's first Art Walk of the summer.