My most recent landscape paintings are the result of my wanderings around the midcoast area of Maine for the past eight years. Walking in the woods on the mainland, on islands, and along the Damariscotta River near my home, I see paintings everywhere. The complexity of the woods provides a compelling challenge.
My ideas begin in the natural world, but once a work is underway, the paint itself on the flat surface takes on a life of its own. Rather than seeking to reproduce a scene, I am attempting to open my senses to an environment. Two-dimenional effects interest me: Verticals are formed by trees or plants placed close to the picture plane from top to bottom, while horizontal bands of sky, water and/or earth make a grid pattern behind. Still, this interest in surface pattern is juxtaposed by a feeling of depth, and the large scale format of some of the paintings helps to create a space into which the viewer can enter. I have learned to trust my instinct for color which can be very different from that seen in nature. Each painting has its own “color integrity.” I am as interested in painting what’s out there as what’s inside my head, and in communicating my reverence for this particular midcoast Maine landscape.
Jane Dahmen explores the light and geography of coastal Maine from intimate and unexpected vantage points. This painting views the bay through a lace of winter birches; it captures the brief., bright day In 1980 UNICEF used her images for a series of greeting cards and staged a one-woman show of her paintings and prints in Boston. In 2005, she was Maine Audubon’s signature artists. A graduate of Colby College and having attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, last summer she had two solo shows at Gleason Gallery, in both Boothbay and Portland.