The public is invited to view an exhibit of paintings by Damariscotta artist Polly Steadman at the Pemaquid Watershed Association (PWA) office gallery in downtown Damariscotta until February 19.
Largely self-taught, Steadman has been painting in oils since high school. When she moved from New Hampshire to Maine in 1972, her painting background was haphazard and unfocused − a quickly grabbed pleasure at best. After arriving in the midcoast, she naturally turned to reproducing the beauty around her, the landscapes and seascapes that she assumed was what she should paint. She joined a small group of like-minded women, The Brushstrokes of Maine, who agreed to get together every Monday, which was the best way a housewife could carve out time to dedicate to her art. She painted regularly, but after a while she became somewhat disillusioned because her stiff and colorless paintings left her uninspired. Almost by chance she learned the “wet-on-wet” technique, which appealed to her because an entire oil painting was completed in one session instead of the painstaking months it had taken her to finish one canvas. More importantly, the process itself was exciting and liberating and each time an exploration into the unknown. Painting for her had changed from a challenge to a passion. Because this technique is all about the blending of the oil colors in the “wet-on-wet” process, the brushstrokes may be long and strong or short, light and quick. As the composition, usually unplanned at the outset, takes shape and the paint sets up, forms and themes emerge on the canvas. Then her artist’s eye guides the flow of the design to the finished work that is a unique convergence of intellect and emotion.
To view the exhibit, visit the Association’s office from 9:30-4:30 weekdays, located at 15 Courtyard Street, above Salt Bay Café in downtown Damariscotta. Steadman is giving 40% of sales to support the PWA mission of conserving the natural resources of the Pemaquid Peninsula.