Well-known Midcoast artist Susan Beebe, whose brilliantly colored florals have become her signature, will open “Herald of Springtime” Sunday, April 6, at the Sanctuary Gallery of Rockland Congregational Church, 180 Limerock St. The public is invited to meet the artist and see her work during an 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. reception.

“I wanted to be an artist since I was 5 years old,” said Beebe. “At least, that's what I've been told.”

From childhood, she played with crayons and watercolors and with scissors, cutting out one of her favorite art forms …. paper dolls. In fact, her first job as a professional was with B. Shachman in New York City, which specialized in all things Victoriana “so my paper dolls fit right in.” She stayed with the company for 15 years.

Prior to New York, Beebe attended Loomis Academy in Connecticut, where her father taught for 45 years. Upon graduation, she went to Williams College in search of a well-rounded education, rather than focusing on art. Her favorite art teacher there, Lee Hersche, talked her out of it and, in 1977, she became a full-time student at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The late Donn Moulton, a familiar name to Maine art lovers, and Court Bennett, retired artist of Appleton, were two of her instructors. She began painting in gouache, creating illustrations and stickers for Shachman's along with the paper dolls. When Beebe and her mother, painter and jeweler Barbara Beebe, purchased property on Friendship Long Island, Susan Beebe delved into the world of oils, painting the natural flora and fauna around her that she values so much to this day.

“I love plein air,” she said, “and I never leave the site until the painting is completed.”

Sanctuary Gallery hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. Parking at the church is available at the upper level of Limerock. Beebe's paintings also will be on display this summer at her husband Jonathan Frost’s gallery on Park Street.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.