The former Gallery at 357 was part of the downtown foundation-laying that led to the city’s popular art walk and growing reputation as a visual arts mecca. Run for a decade by Midcoast native Christina DeHoff, it closed its doors in 2006; a few years later, DeHoff began a new life in Hawaii.

The artist is back for a visit and to paint the Maine landscape left behind for golden sands and tropical greenery. During the city’s First Friday Art Walk Oct. 3, Carver Hill Gallery will showcase both her island figures and her freshly rendered Maine coastscapes (see the link below).

DeHoff, a graduate of Camden-Rockport High School and the University of Maine, first went to Hawaii to visit fellow Midcoast artist Kimber Lee Clark; and Jacobus Baas, who had been in the 357 stable. When health issues got in the way of her painting, particularly working with oils in an enclosed environment, she began to consider relocating to the Aloha State.

“It was something I’d always wanted to do, and I didn’t want to wait until I was dead,” she said a couple of weeks before the First Friday opening.

It’s not easy to make a life on Maui. DeHoff said the cost of just about everything is double what it is on the mainland.

“You have to get used to having less and let go of things,” she said.

But the West Coast mentality and the international, particularly Asian, cultures that mix in Hawaii offer an audience for the figurative work that DeHoff enjoys creating, and she’s been able to make a go of it for five years.

“It’s just a little lava rock, but people from all over the world pass through,” she said.

The art scene is more commercial, though, which is not the most natural fit for this artist.

“My production is slow; I don’t want to make art that isn’t thoughtful! But I do have a line of cards that helps on the commercial end,” she said.

Even more powerful than thought in DeHoff’s approach is the human spirit, as reflected in soulful writings and teachings and movement; the artist is also a dancer and enjoys working with dancers. In her commissioned work, she collaborates with couples and individuals to create visionary art that reflects their spirit, as well as memorial paintings that celebrate the life and spirit of a departed loved one. The work is deeply personal, and not as far afield from her more traditional landscapes as one might think.

“I love capturing the soul, of a place or a person,” she said.

Fall is a time of transitions in a place that has seasons, perhaps one reason DeHoff has come back to the coast of Maine for a spell. Her figurative work has begun to develop in a new direction, using gold metal leaf, which she said takes on a varied glow depending on the light and time of day.

“It just doesn’t come across in a photo, you really have to see them in person,” she said.

The light and the stillness of Maine is something she has enjoyed being reacquainted with. DeHoff said she has been lucky to travel all over the planet and now to live in what many would call paradise, “where every winter day is like a perfect summer day in Maine.”

“Hawaii is amazing … but there is nothing, anywhere, like Maine,” she said.

DeHoff will be in the area into mid-October. To contact her, email christinadehoff.fineart@gmail.com.