Friday, August 16, 2013

Plein-air Efforts of the Day ...

'Plein-air Trek!'
Day 1 of 'Plein-air Trek'!
Phase #1. 'Plein-air Trek'
18" x 30". Oil on Birch panel. 2013.
Day 2 of 'Plein-air Trek'!

Phase #2. 'Plein-air Trek'
18" x 30". Oil on Birch panel. 2013.
For the past several months while I would take my morning walk
or afternoon bike ride, I would pass by a number of cute little houses.
And I've been telling myself for all these months .....
 'Oh, I've got to paint that some day!'
I recently got a new Jullian umbrella to make the plein-air experience
a little more enjoyable by being shaded from the Sun
and also keep the light even on the painting itself.
And I also got new hybrid tires for my Trek 4100 MTB!!
For the past few days I've been retro-fitting the plein-air gear to the bike
and also giving it a few test/trial runs before actually senting out.
Yesterday, was the day to try riding the bike with the plein-air gear
and actually setting up on-site and getting familiar/comfy with the process.
I will admit I was a touch nervous at first, but the nerves soon
faded away as I pedalled closer to my intended painting spot.
This piece 'Plein-air Trek' has a few things it needs to be completed
 which can be easily be done in the comfort of the quiet studio!
Please stay tuned for more what's new from the studio!
Cheers, ~ Polly ~

Thursday, August 15, 2013

When a Gallery and Artist Collaborate.

Binoculars #185. View from East Boothbay, ME - 'Out for a Cruise'.
12" x 60". Oil on MDO Board. 2013. Copyright.
RESERVED for the Sylvan Gallery
I have had the honour of being represented by the Sylvan Gallery since 2005.

And in 2012, the Sylvan Gallery relocated to Wiscasset ME, from Clinton CT,
and since, I currently lack a car, my travelling abilities are somewhat limited.

The owners of the Sylvan Gallery are a wife and husband duo, Ann and Rick Scanlan,
who are both a great pleasure to work with! And since their move to Maine,
there has been talk of me doing a few Binoculars of the area near their gallery.

Rick Scanlan, is also a professional fine art photographer
and he was kind enough to take a few photos of East Boothbay ME
specifically in the Binoculars format for me.

After taking elements from the photos that I naturally gravitated towards,
I came up with a largest Binoculars size yet, 12" x 60". The piece itself came together
relatively quickly because I had study the photos on/off for several weeks prior.

And the above painting is the final result of
when a gallery and artist collaborate!!

Please stay tuned for more what's new from the studio!!

Cheers, ~ Polly ~


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Artist on Artist: Interview with Dora Atwater Millikin

For this month's Artist on Artist interview I have great pleasure in presenting fellow Lyme Academy Alumni and accomplished painter, Dora Atwater Millikin. 

Ms. Millikin has graciously agreed to share her thoughts and work on her artistic life with us today. Ms Millikin's work is truly inspiring to say the least; every time I look at any given piece of hers, I find there is always something new to learn from paint texture/handling to composition, from use of colours to subject matter ... and the list goes on and on. Her work is fresh and confident. With each new piece, one can sense the constant challenge(s) she presents herself and brings forth great accomplishment. Her ability to marry abstract forms and detailed areas together is simply astounding .... the mark of a great artist.  

Ms Millikin's work has received countless awards, honours, and scholarships. Her work is exclusively represented by Boston's Walker-Cunningham Fine Art

And now without any further adieu her is Ms Millikin's interview along with selected works.


Dora Atwater Millikin in her studio.

Polly: Hello and welcome Dora, it’s a pleasure to have you on my studio blog. Would you please describe your earliest memories when you realized you knew you were an artist?

Dora: Hi Polly, thanks so much for inviting me on to your blog. I don’t remember when I first realized when I was an artist. Frankly in my case, I have never had a choice. I am such a‘hands on’ person and I have to be doing something and creating and inventing ALL THE TIME. I can’t sit still so the office environment would not have worked for me.

Dora's beautiful studio!

Polly: Could you tell us about your education and training?

Dora: I graduated from Sophie Newcomb College (Tulane University) down in New Orleans, Louisiana with a BFA degree in Painting, Drawing, and Art History in 1983. But that art education was very unstructured and I wound up getting another BFA from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts when I graduated in 2002.

'Down to the Sea.' 40" x 54" Oil on Linen. 2010.  
Polly: Who has been the greatest support to you as an artist and how?

Dora: In the beginning it was my parents, they recognized the ‘hands on’ aspect in me. Then, later on and now, my husband Trip has been incredibly supportive.

Dora's well lit studio space.

Polly: Would you describe your style, methods of working and what materials you use?
Dora: At the Lyme Academy we loosely called ourselves ‘Formalists’. A Formalist works very directly with the formal issues and elements of art, in my case painting. I feature form and function as opposed to detail and sentiment in my work. I work from both life and MY OWN photography when I need references both outside and in the studio. I use a Primary Palette and mix my colors like crazy!

'Red Truck' 13" x 24" Oil on Linen. 2005.

Polly: Please tell us about your influences?
Dora: I have been influenced by so many great artists. I will start with all of my teachers at the Lyme Academy and then give mention to all the 20th century modernists, especially American!

 'Stop!' 20" x 28". Oil on Linen. 2009.
Balcony area of Dora's spacious studio.

Polly: What interests you most about painting as a medium and why do you make art?
Dora: I just love the feel, smell, and look of oil paint. Frankly, I know that I couldn’t ever possibly be able to ‘learn it all’. That will prevent me from losing interest and getting bored of the medium. I find painting so challenging and that keeps me interested!

 'Stern' 12" x 25". Oil on Panel. 2010.

Polly: If you could try your hand at another medium or genre what would it be and why?
Dora: I would study to become an Architect because I love to design spaces.

 'Summer Place' 28" x 36'. Oil on Linen. 2011.

Polly: Do you have any painting projects you are currently working on?
Dora: I have many but don’t ever announce details of a project before a contract has been signed! I will open my studio to the public this August 10th – 11th for an Open Studio Weekend called the Art Drive. The ART Drive, places a unique emphasis on a consistent and high level of professionalism and quality and features some of the area’s premier painters, ceramic artists, photographers, jewelers, and woodworkers. Several of the open studios will also host guest artists from outside of the SouthCoast.

'In Front'. 20" x 66". Oil on Linen. 2013.

Polly: What has been most challenging for you as an artist?
Dora: Being so alone at times. Being an artist is largely a solo journey and it can become lonely.

'Stacked Up' 20" x 66". Oil on Linen. 2013.

Polly: How has being an artist changed your life and if so, in what ways?

Dora: Honestly, since I have always been an artist I would have to say that it has not changed my life rather, it has given me a very glorious career to chase, it has given me a purpose.

'Rolling Through' 22" x 66". Oil on Linen. 2013.

Polly: Not many artists are exclusively represented by one gallery but your work is by, Walker-Cunningham Fine Art of Boston, can you share with us what that is like and its benefits?
Dora: I am very fortunate to have Walker-Cunningham Fine Art as my representation and advocate. They have landed venues for my work that would have been very difficult if not impossible for me to get on my own. Having the representation allows me more time to paint and less time to‘pound the pavement’. It also provides tremendous incentive to work!

'The Getaway' 24" x 36". Oil on Linen. 2005.

Looking down from the balcony area into Dora's studio space.

Polly: If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Dora: Betts Boroughs Woodhouse, a lady who I knew growing up in my town. She came out of the Art Students League in NYC and she sculpted me several times when I was young. I knew her before I was very serious about art and I could ask her so many questions now!!!

 'Cranes' 16" x 16". Oil on Panel. 2010.

Framing area in Dora's studio.

Polly: If you were conducting this interview what one question would you ask yourself and what would the answer be?

Dora: What does it take to be an artist? And my answer is: Dedication, application, determination, education, heart and soul and a little bit of luck!

Looking up at the balcony area.  

Polly: And lastly, what words of wisdom would you offer to young artists?

Dora: Recognize that you ARE an artist, BE YOURSELF, and don’t EVER quit!

 High Summer. 16" x 32". Oil on Linen. 2005.
Polly: Thank you for your time Dora! Is there anything else you would like to share with us about you and or your art?

Dora: Thank you so much Polly, I hope to see you soon! Dora.

... and that you will, Dora, I'll be seeing you at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Sept 6, 2013; for the opening reception of the Alumni Exhibition. Looking forward to seeing you as well!

Thank you, again for a most wonderful interview and I wish you the very best with your Artistic Life!

To see and learn more of Dora Atwater Millikin and her work please visit her website and or