2001 – John Knight and Betsy McLellan

John Knight

"Rock/Monument, Peas," Monhegan, oil on panel 9” x 12,” 2001

My current paintings are centered around common plants and their environments. They also describe a dialogue between the sky and the earth. As the plants send out flowers and shoots, growing higher, they become the go-between connecting the earth and sky, and the plants themselves intermingle with their surroundings. I have let these often small weeds become monumental in my paintings, running the whole vertical length of my canvases, uniting solid ground below with atmosphere above. I have encountered these plants in fields, beaches or rocky shores here in Southern Maine . On an aesthetic level, I notice the color and shape of radiating petals on a flower with a specific number and formation, but observing the whole plant closely and identifying it through books opens up other meanings relating to its use as food, medicine, or textile/building material. I welcome the diversity of tenacious weeds that grow without conscious planting or landscaping. Their surprises contrast with gridded plots of daffodils or tulips, and the vast, uniform orchards or crop fields that fill abundant but homogenous produce bins in supermarkets across the country.

In my studio, forms of clouds, stones, plants, rolls of hay, or bodies of both land and water are malleable and change to fit my compositions. However, the subjects and their environments that I create are always informed by my sense of the different places I have lived or spent time. A century plant I painted in New Mexico relates to a sow-thistle I see and paint in Maine . A tower of limestone blocks I painted in a quarry in Indiana relates to natural rock formations I saw and painted in New Mexico and to the shape of the rocky coast of Southern Maine . The name and identity of the forms change, but certain shapes and compositions repeat through many of my paintings. In the studio I work to generate the sense of scale I experienced standing with my easel planted in a large outdoor space with the ground sweeping up under my feet and clouds rushing overhead. I get back to experiences I have had walking out into certain outdoor spaces and being struck by a feeling of harmony in the forms surrounding me.

29 Westminster Avenue
Portland , ME 04103


Betsy McLellan

"Clam Shuckers," oil o/c, 20"x30", 2009

I am a full-time artist living and working in Coastal Maine. Originally from the Boston area, I received a BFA in Painting with a minor in Art History from Boston University. After moving to Maine in 2000, I had the great honor of being awarded a Monhegan Carina House Residency in the summer of 2001. I primarily work in oil and am drawn to Maine’s landscape and quaint harbors. Current projects include poster illustrations and children’s book illustrations. My inspirations include Lynne Drexler, Dahlov Ipcar, Fairfield Porter, Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse, Richard Deibenkorn, Willem de Kooning and Wayne Thiebaud.