More than 18 pieces of art work will be up for bid at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce annual online and live auction. Included is a beautiful print from Bo Bartlett, donated by the Dowling Walsh Gallery of Rockland. It is a signed (Limited Edition), framed and matted giclée print on paper, Artist Proof. The print size is 10.25-by-16 inches.

For nearly three decades, Bartlett has been celebrated as one of the best contemporary realist painters in America. Dividing his time between island homes and studios on both coasts, Bartlett creates distinctive, hauntingly beautiful paintings that reflect his deep appreciation for living close to nature, and his fascination with discovering the mysterious in the everyday.

Inspired by scenes and individuals from his personal life – including his frequent model and muse, his wife, artist Betsy Eby – Bartlett’s exquisitely drawn and crafted paintings reveal his rigorous academic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and under the tutelage of well-known portrait artist Nelson Shanks. Additional studies in fresco painting in Florence, Italy, and in anatomy at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine inform his aesthetic practice. Perhaps most compelling, however, is recognition of Bartlett’s background as a filmmaker on his approach to painting and his development as an artist.

In 1986, Bartlett graduated from New York University’s film school and shortly thereafter was offered the job of making a documentary on the life and work of artist Andrew Wyeth. For the next five years, Bartlett spent nearly every day with Wyeth. Making the film “Snow Hill” gave him the opportunity to learn from Wyeth, to learn why he painted and to ask him what motivated him and how he stayed motivated.

“The process of making the film opened a door to my own life and my own path,” said Bartlett.

Cinematically composed and skillfully edited, Bartlett’s narrative paintings are often mysterious in their intention; they suggest rather than instruct. While he admires history painting on the grand scale of Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley, he eschews their didactic tone. Instead, he says, his objective “is striking the chord of mystery that is being grappled with.” Whether depicted simply or complexly, Bartlett’s paintings are layered in meaning.

Other art-related items in the chamber auction include art classes with Ron Frontin, lighthouse prints from Alan Claude, photographs from Carol Latta’s Amazing Maine collection, prints from Bayview Press and artwork prints from Loretta Krupinski, Stapleton Kearns, Chapman Kelley, Susan Headley Van Campen, Barbara Beebe, Susan Morrell (donated by Bayview Gallery in Camden), Marlene Evans Putnam, Helen St. Clair and Jerri Finch. Art of the Sea Galleries in South Thomaston donated several of these prints.

There are now more than 230 items, valued at over $43,000, for the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce online and live auctions. Up for bid will be many exciting products, getaways and services from hundreds of businesses and organizations. The featured item this year is a FISHER HT Series snowplow from Fisher Engineering.

On Monday, Sept. 20 at 8 a.m., the “doors” will open at biddingforgood.com/PBRCCAuction. The online auction bidding will run through Oct. 11 at 9 p.m., with about 80 items heading to a live auction Friday, Oct. 15 at the Rockland Elks Lodge, 210 Rankin St. The live auction items will be clearly identified on the Web site, and absentee bidding will be available for those that cannot attend the live event. Bruce Gamage will be the auctioneer.

Donations for auction are being accepted through the end of September; log onto the site and click on the “Donate Now” button or contact Shari Closter at the chamber at 596-0376, ext. 22 or shari@therealmaine.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.