Standing Figure Back_Lois Dodd.jpeg

“Standing Figure Back” by Lois Dodd.

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“Two Pink Poppies” by Elizabeth O’Reilly.

ROCKLAND — The Caldbeck Gallery, 12 Elm St., continues the celebration of its 40th year with new paintings by Lois Dodd of Cushing and New York City, Frederic Kellogg of Thomaston and Washington D.C., Melanie Essex of Cushing, and Elizabeth O’Reilly of Brooklyn, N.Y.  All of the works come out of the 2020-2021 pandemic isolation, which, as with many artists, gave them uninterrupted studio time. Viewers now are able to take in the beauty that came out of this otherwise immensely difficult period.  These new shows run through Aug. 14, and the gallery will hold a celebration during the First Friday Art Walk Aug. 6.

During the summer of 2020, Dodd worked throughout the weeks with her long-time friend O’Reilly, who was able to spend the entire summer with Dodd, as her summer painting workshops had been cancelled.  This unique opportunity to paint for many weeks together was productive. Dodd focused on a series of figures painted on small aluminum panels, while O’Reilly immersed herself in selections from the free-flowing flower gardens behind the studio barn. Many artists’ working lives did not change all that much during the COVID-19 isolation months.  For Dodd, each day was, as always, spent in the studio. For O’Reilly, the daily painting was normal too, but having the chance to spend every day painting in Cushing with her very good friend was a most special gift.  The resulting two-person exhibit of selections from these artists’ works holds the summer of 2020 in a kind of suspension. Caldbeck has worked with Dodd since 1984 and with O’Reilly since 2008.

Kellogg immersed himself in his Washington, D.C. studio during the pandemic. Out of this time emerged many large watercolors, several of which measure 48 x 48 inches, depicting his favorite places in Penobscot Bay. Working from small watercolors done on site, Kellogg embarked on his big watercolor project. The challenges of working this large with watercolor involved 48-inch-wide rolls of watercolor paper, and many hours of working quickly, interspersed with moments of entirely holding his breath. As Kellogg explains it, “if a watercolor is working, you keep going. If it is plain that it is not going to work, you let it go.” Included in this exhibit are smaller paintings in watercolor and in oil, as well as three canvases in oil, the largest measuring 60 x 60 inches.  The gallery has worked with Kellogg since 2007.

Essex worked through the 2020-2021 winter pandemic isolation in Northern California. In her exhibit, selections from this time period combine several small charcoal landscapes on paper, along with several 15 x 15 inch oil on panel landscapes. In both the charcoal works and the colorful oils, the light of the Pacific Ocean permeates the mood of each piece. A contemplative feeling of limitless space and atmosphere expands westward, where there is peace and tranquility. Essex has shown with the Caldbeck since 1998.

“Low Sun at the Horizon” by Melanie Essex.

Upstairs, an ongoing group show, “Landscape,” will be on exhibit through July 31.  It includes paintings by Nancy Glassman of Searsmont; Jeff Epstein of Cushing and Brooklyn, N.Y.; David Dewey of Owls Head; Jody Payne of Cushing; Elizabeth Awalt of Swans Island and Concord Mass.; and Jill Madden of Weybridge, Vt.

Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit caldbeck.com, email caldbeck@midcoast.com or call 207-594-5935.