CAMDEN — Camden Falls Gallery, 5 Public Landing, presents “In for the Night,” a new exhibit featuring Poppy Balser and Jay Brooks through Thursday, Sept. 1.

The pairing for this show may be a little odd, a bit like oil and water, but the combined artworks created by Balser and Brooks are just a fabulous representation of coastal New England and Canadian Maritime life.

Balser, whose home port is Digby, Nova Scotia, has been an avid sailor and painter for decades and really feels at home, finding inner peace, while on the water.

Brooks, on the other hand, although being an ancient New Englander at heart, dislikes boating, getting queasy with the least amount of movement beneath his feet. His ancestors came over from England in the 1500s and settled parts of Rhode Island
and Massachusetts. Now residing in upstate New York, Brooks feels as if he’s “coming home” when he travels back to coastal New England.

Despite their very different opinions of being on the water, Balser and Brooks convey their individual identities, sentiments and passions through their artwork. Although neither artist hails from Maine, both have the unique ability to capture the essence, life and spirit of this special part of the world.

“Aside from the mastery of Poppy’s talents in both oil and watercolor, her subject matter reaches the hearts of lovers of the coast and sailors alike,” said gallery owner Howard Gallagher.

Brooks’s intricately crafted works with bold use of color and light have a way of pulling the viewer into the painting. “His interiors remind me a lot of the illustrative work of Norman Rockwell, each strongly stating their own time, story and history. Jay has been
kind enough to humor me with painting from photographs of the area that I find interesting and forward on to him,” Gallagher said.

Balser lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, and works in watercolor and oils. She enjoys painting outdoors through all seasons. As a sailor, she especially enjoys capturing the racing and cruising sailboats in the Bay of Fundy. Her plein air works serve as an
important reference tool when she returns to the studio to create her larger, more developed works. Says Balser, “I feel so fortunate to live near the shore, with huge tides that sculpt our seacoast, dramatic waves, and haunting fog, there is always something
new to paint.”

Balser is an elected Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor. Her work is showcased and collected internationally.

Brooks lives in upstate New York and has earned a faithful following of collectors after joining Camden Falls Gallery last year. Brooks began painting at age 14 under the classical apprenticeship of John Piesley and the plein air instruction of Charles Movalli, a disciple of the late Emile Gruppe. He received his B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University and in 1990 he received his M.F.A. from Columbia University. Being removed from his familiar bucolic surroundings, Brooks studied and painted the industrial
environments of Pittsburgh and New York City.

Teaching art has been an important part of Brooks’s life. He recently retired after more than 30 years as a high school art teacher in New York to focus full-time on his painting. He enjoys painting plein air in Cape Ann together with his many artist friends there. “Plein air painting is alive and well in Maine and New England,” says Brooks.

The gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 207-470-7027 or visit

“Camden Sunrise” by Jay Brooks.

“Rockport Sailing Dinghies” by Poppy Balser.

“Four Marks, Four Tacks” by Jay Brooks.

“Ready the Gaff” by Poppy Balser.

“The Final Coat” by Jay Brooks.