Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Quintessential Maine Day

By Susan Danly
Senior Curator

It was perfect Saturday in Maine—cloudless blue sky, quiet breeze off the ocean, lilacs in bloom—and I was off to Prouts Neck toting a picnic basket and baseball cap to help photographer Keliy Anderson-Staley lug her heavy camera and portable darkroom down to the rocks in front of the Winslow Homer Studio. I watched as she set out the bottles of syrupy collodion and magical chemicals—ferrous sulfate, silver nitrate, and potassium cyanide—jugs of water, metal plates, developing trays, and the big box camera on a tripod that she would use to conjure up images of the rock-bound coast, breaking waves, and the piazza (Homer’s porch). It was a slow process that drew its success from a serendipitous confluence of sunshine, moderate temperatures, and gentle winds. But as soon as Keliy placed the cloudy photographic plates in the water bath, scenes of rocky ledges washed by waves miraculously began to appear.

Come see the results when her work is on view at the Museum this fall in the exhibition of Between Past and Present: The Winslow Homer Photographic Project.

Photographer Keliy Anderson-Staley on the rocks in front of the Winslow Homer Studio.

Keliy's outdoor darkroom.

Plate being fixed in a tray.

Plate being fixed in a tray.

Coating the plate with collodion.

Coating the plate with collodion.

Portland, Paris, Giverny, and back again!

By Vanessa Nesvig
Coordinator of Special Projects

Last fall, as my husband and I were traveling through France, I received an email from Margaret Burgess, Associate Curator of European Art, asking for help planning an interactive piece for the exhibition From Portland to Paris: Mildred Burrage’s Years in France.

Since our travels included a visit to Giverny, Margaret asked, “Could you take some photographs of old French mailboxes while in Giverny?” Margaret’s idea was to make a space in the exhibition where people could draw, write, and post letters since letter writing was so intrinsic to the artist Mildred Burrage’s life. Of course, this gave me a fun mission while in France and I am afraid I took pictures of mailboxes wherever we were!

The Portland-born artist Mildred Burrage, as a young painter traveled in the early 1900s to the American art colony in Giverny, France. She wrote numerous letters to her family in Maine about the adventures she had as well as her encounter with great French master Claude Monet and his family. She illustrated three of these letters with pen and pencil sketches of Giverny, along with her trips to Vernon, Paris, and Versailles.

When I returned to Portland, the Education team began to design great interactive spaces throughout the exhibition, inspired by the artist’s affinity for letter writing and painting. In one section of the gallery, there are writing desks where you can write and draw on postcards and then mail your letters in a mailbox modeled after the ones in France; another area holds camp stools with satchels where you can sit and sketch.

The show is so bright and joyful, you can practically see Monet walking in his garden in Giverny, or people strolling through Luxembourg Gardens. Come in, enjoy it for yourself, and be inspired!

From Portland to Paris: Mildred Burrage’s Years in France is on view through July 15.

Free Friday Night at the Museum

By Caitlin Brooke
Marketing and Public Relations Assistant

Friday night the Museum was bustling with activities. Movies at the Museum screened Joffery: Mavericks of Amercian Dance, the McLellan House’s parlor featured Parlor Talk: Collaboration with design agency Might & Main, and the Payson building was taken over with Artist Interventions, designed by artist Karen Gelardi.

Artist Interventions gave Free Friday night visitors the opportunity to collect a series of custom botanical prints created by artist Karen Gelardi. The first stop was the Information Desk where everyone received an instructional portfolio and from there visitors explored the galleries to find uniquely designed printing kiosks. A volunteer was stationed at each kiosk to assist in the printing of a botanical design. Visitors left with their very own mini art collection!

Mark your calendar for the next Artist Intervention on June 15 with John Knight.

*A special thank you to our printing kiosk operators Lara Gibson, Scott Peterman, and Colin Sullivan-Stevens!

During Parlor Talk: Collaboration Might & Main, a Portland-based design and branding agency, and Museum Store manager Sally Struever spoke about the collaboration between them in the creation of products, logos, and designs surrounding the opening of the Winslow Homer Studio and the exhibition Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine. The team premiered, for the first time publicly, a variety of products including handkerchiefs, prints by Strong Arm Bindery, bags by Black Point Mercantile, and even a Winslow Homer bobble head doll. They spoke of the challenges in developing a product line that appealed to every appetite while staying true to the legacy of Winslow Homer and his iconic works of art. The items will soon be available in the Museum Store!

On the Winslow Homer bobble head doll:
“If I was six, I would want it. If I was 60, I would want it. I just want it.” –Graeme Kennedy, Might & Main