Brush with Nature 2021

Brush with Nature galleryThank you to everyone who took part in our inaugural event, our Brush with Nature plein air painting festival and auction that took place in September, 2021! All the artists, visitors, bidders, and other participants made this inaugural event a tremendous success. We invited plein air painters to be inspired by nature at all eight of our sanctuaries and create art outdoors to engage visitors in the artistic process. The paintings were on display at our Falmouth headquarters for a week and then auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting Maine Audubon’s education, conservation, and advocacy programs. 

We look forward to making this an annual event!

2021 List of Participating Artists and Locations 

Borestone Audubon Sanctuary, Elliotsville:
Lindsay Hancock paints oil on board or canvas. Her work is represented by Elizabeth Moss Galleries and has appeared in Greenhut Galleries’ 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2016 “Biennial Portland” or “Maine, The Painted State” exhibits. She has participated regularly in the juried Paint for Preservation auction to support the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust.

Michael Vermette painting at Borestone

Alison Stark has been painting for 20 years, and uses oils and acrylics. Most recently, she says, “I’ve been using the mounds of grocery bags I accumulated during the pandemic. I was inspired by a painting of a kingfisher my son, Otto, had done when he was 10. Painting on the bags seemed less intimidating than on canvas and birds/nature have provided me much solace and bemusement over the past year.”

Michael E. Vermette is an impasto oil painter and bold watercolor painter who is intrigued with the timelessness in change in his paintings. He adds Italian Black Oil wax medium that he makes himself and only uses quality handmade pigments and linen for his canvas. Recently, Michael was chosen for the inaugural Allagash Wilderness Waterway Visiting Artist, the residency established by Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the scenic waterway in 2020.

East Point Audubon Sanctuary, Biddeford Pool
MJ Benson  aspires to create a multilayered blending of reality and memory in her paintings, inspired by the wild and moody coast of Maine, in all its colors and movements.
Kristin Fitzpatrick strives to visually represent the character and emotion of the natural world; expressing a single moment in time. She works with acrylic paint on gallery depth birch panel (2” or more) and often “wraps” the image around the panel to extend the image and increase the amount of angles/views/ways the painting can be enjoyed.

Russel Whitten painting at East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford Pool

Bruce McMillan paints watercolors using bright archival color in a loose style on archival watercolor paper. After a career of photo-illustrating 45 children’s books, the freedom of watercolor allows him to move beyond the pictorial.
Russel Whitten studied art at Maine College of Art, Heartwood College of Art, and the Art Students League of New York. He is a member and showing artist with the Ogunquit Arts Association/ Barn Gallery and The Wright Gallery in Cape Porpoise.

Fields Pond Audubon Sanctuary, Holden
Caren Michel is a devoted plein air painter working in acrylic and pastel on locations all over Maine and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada. Caren’s work explores the urban, industrial, and pastoral images of Maine and documents the ever-changing landscape in paint. She often portrays a location through series capturing different seasons or times of day with changing light and color. She is represented by Littlefield Gallery in Winter Harbor, Maine.


Rebekah Lowell painting at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth

Gilsland Farm Audubon Sanctuary, Falmouth
Rabee Kiwan is a Portland based physician/artist who works mainly in oils and watercolors.
Rebekah Lowell is an author/illustrator. When painting plein air, she prefers to use water-based mediums such as watercolor, combined with pencils, colored pencils, and also watercolor pencils. Projects that evoke a sense of wonder, or invite a closer look, are especially appealing to her.
Kerrin Parkinson is passionate about plein air painting and works towards capturing the light, temperature, color and mood of each location she paints. Kerrin loves layering up her paintings with a variety of materials and tools. A thick “imposto” of oils and acrylics often appear in her work.
Liliia Yuliya Shuel is a watercolor artist who paints wet into wet on different paper textures. This allows her to lift off paint and create different edges. As paper dries she adds values and hard edges to her painting.

Hamilton Audubon Sanctuary, West Bath

Lisa Kyle painting at Hamilton Sanctuary in West Bath

Lisa Kyle works in oil, both in the studio and plein air. She spent many years as a residential architect, squeezing in time to paint whenever she could. She moved to Maine in 2016, and began painting full time in 2017. She loves the quality of the light, the simple yet compelling forms of the vernacular architecture, the subtle colors of the meadows, the magic of all of the seasons of the year. Carolyn Nichols has always been drawn to the beauties of the natural world and her artwork reflects that life-long relationship. She considers herself a multifaceted artist because, she says, “I continually revolve through the different types of media in order to advance my creative perspective.”

Josephine Newman Audubon Sanctuary, Georgetown
Lyn Asselta has painted in pastel in a professional capacity for over 15 years. She is a Pastel Society of America Master Pastelist, an International Association of Pastel Societies Eminent Pastelist and a member of the Salmagundi Club of NYC. Her work is primarily both hard and soft pastel on sanded grounds. She says a recent move to midcoast Maine has allowed her to explore the juxtaposition of rock and water as subject matter, approached in a traditional manner but with a contemporary edge.
Margaret Ford is a landscape painter who participates in several outdoor events and shows annually and has won awards for her work. She strives to create representational art which emphasizes color relationships in our beautiful Maine landscape; she does oil painting on canvas or wood panels.
Joyce Smith‘s style is interpretive realism using fine oils on canvas and board. She paints both plein air and studio landscapes, seascapes, and studio portraits.

Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary, Freeport
Maggie Daigle an award-winning landscape and maritime painter working in oils, acrylics and watercolors, is happiest working in oils on cradled birch board panel. She uses a split primary limited palette and believe that mixing greens is a superpower. She is particularly fascinated with clouds, reflections in water and finding the warm shadows of a landscape on a clear day.
Kim Gagne is an oil painter who has studied at the Swain School of Design, Parsons School of Design, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Chris Magnuson is a watercolor landscape artist who is drawn to both the obvious and the less conventionally beautiful scenery that Maine provides. His technique consists of watercolor paint over a bold and energetic pencil drawing. Rather than trying to conceal the drawing, his paintings feature it as a structural support and an equal partner to the pigment.
John Santoro paints the marshes, fields, and quiet places on the Maine coast en plein air, in oil, on panel and canvas.

Marguerite Lawler painting at Scarborough Marsh, Brush With Nature 2021

Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, Scarborough
Michael Boardman is a wildlife artist and Maine Master Naturalist who spends time field sketching and painting on location in graphite and watercolor, both to create artwork and as a tool to interpret what he sees in the wild.
Marguerite Lawler, when on location, focuses on painting the varied Maine landscape. Through a variety of media, she paints observational studies as direct response to what she sees and feels.
Robert Mongue paints landscapes and other nature using acrylics, oils, pastels, and pen & ink. His most recent works focus on developing techniques in oil and acrylic mediums.
Graham Wood studied painting at Earlham College and School of Visual Arts and is the owner of Ocean House Gallery & Frame. He works with acrylic and latex paint on wood and likes how the paint dries very fast and forces him to make decisions and deal with whatever happens as he is painting.

2021 Jurors:

  • Jane Bianco, Curator, Farnsworth Art Museum
  • Scott Kelley, Artist