Hidden Valley Nature Center was host to the Plein Air Painters of Maine recently. HVNC is a nonprofit, community-supported organization that offers 800 acres of secluded forest and a 25-mile trail system open year-round.

The painters were delighted to explore the center and were guided by director Gary Hayward to some of the best painting spots. Each artist found a place to work, amazed to learn how much wonderful material there is to paint and photograph at HVNC.

“This place is a gem,” said St. George artist Geoff Bladon.

On their first visit, the Plein Air Painters painted at Haybale Pond, Reed Meadow and one of the streams and waterfall. Other artists visiting the area will find a 100-acre pond as well as two smaller ponds, complete with lily pads.

PAPMe, with a membership of more than 150 Maine artists, plans return visits to capture each season and will display their paintings of the center in a group show. PAPMe meets every Wednesday throughout the year to paint the coast of Maine. There is another chapter in the western part of the state, giving more artists the opportunity to paint on location with others who wish to share and promote the beauty of the state.

Hidden Valley Nature Center, located off Egypt Road, is dedicated to providing nature based educational and non-motorized recreational opportunities to the community throughout the year. New supporters and visitors are always welcome; now is a perfect time for bug-free hiking and camping at one of the three cabins. For more information, contact Gary Hayward at 586-6752 or visit hvnc.org.

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