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The Maine Event II

Brandywine Art Guide: The Maine Event II

Posted by Victoria Rose on February 17, 2024

The connections between the Brandywine Valley and Maine are well-known and centuries deep. It has been only strengthened by recent partnerships, such as the creation of the Andrew & Betsy Wyeth Study Center in 2022, which is housed in two staffed research centers at the Brandywine Museum of Art in Chadds Ford and the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.

Monhegan Island Garden by Elise Phillips

But those connections exist for contemporary artists as well, who travel to Maine to be inspired by the dramatic landscapes and unique ambiance. The Maine Event II at Gallery 222 brings together nine local artists who use the Pine Tree State to spark their imaginations.

Two Lights by Philip Carroll

This exhibition has been in the works for almost five years.

“I was one of a few artists to discuss it with Andrea [Strang, owner and Curator at Gallery 222] in 2019,” said Elaine Lisle, a participating artist. “A group of artist friends had just returned from a week painting on Monhegan Island and we asked Andrea if she might be interested in having an exhibit specifically for Maine-inspired paintings.”

The Maine Event was shown in 2020 at Gallery 222, and this brings together the same artists again with new works.

Monhegan Island is tiny, barely a square mile, and since the 1800s has been primarily a place for fishing and tourism. Accessible only by boat, there are almost no vehicles on the island, but miles of walking and hiking trails lead to beautiful vistas and the quaint village. It is a haven for artists. As Lisle said, “The light, the views, the rocks, the boats, there are paintings everywhere.”

Alexandra Tyng has been spending time in Maine since she was a young teenager when she was already fascinated with the work of Andrew Wyeth. “Around that time, my father gave me a set of paints that were similar to tempera, and I began painting outdoors: woods, water, boats, and buildings,” said Tyng. “I was so

 Cooks Lobster Dusk by Elaine Lisle

immersed in painting that I didn’t even realize I was in the first stages of developing my own authentic style. All I knew was that something exciting was happening.”

Her experience has been shared by many others who first visited Maine with their families as a child.

“The two places became connected inside me,” Tyng said. “I imagine something like this happened to Andrew Wyeth and other artists who lived in Pennsylvania and went to Maine.” It was so common, she said, that “When I was a child, Maine used to be jokingly known as ‘Philadelphia on the Rocks’ because so many people had homes in both states.”Some participating artists in the Gallery 222 show belong to groups that travel to Maine together regularly to paint, draw, and create.

“The camaraderie of fellow artists couldn't be more inspiring,” said Elise Phillips.Her group of “Nanatuck” painters have met people in Maine connected with the Brandywine Tradition, such as Helga Testorf, who served as a model for over 250 paintings by Andrew Wyeth and visited locales frequented by the Wyeth family over the generations.

Gathering of Boats Alexandra Tyng

“Maine evokes many memories,” said Jacalyn Beam, another exhibiting artist. She notes two in particular. Once, when Beam was painting, Phyllis Wyeth, the late wife of artist Jamie Wyeth, stopped to ask her about her work. Another time she had a chance encounter with the arts supporter and philanthropist Linda Bean and they discussed Brandywine's art connections. “Meeting these two icons of the art world was a gift beyond the painting experience,” she said.The experience is more than simply tourism—it is a chance to step into the shoes of artistic legends.

“Maine seems to inspire, from its rocky coastline to quaint fishing villages, everywhere you look there is something to paint,” said Phillip Carroll, who paints in Maine during the summers.

Frequently using the same inspiration and even landscapes as other artists, such as the lighthouses painted by Edward Hopper decades earlier, Carroll notes that revisiting those scenes “made the After 8 by Jacalyn Beam

experience far more interesting than it may

have been.”

The Maine Event II is on view from Feb. 22 through March 9 at Gallery 222. An Artist Reception will be held Feb. 24 from 2 to 5 p.m. Gallery 222 is located at 222 East King Street, Malvern. More information can be found at

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