Current Shows

“Artists’ Choice”  Exhibition

Artist’s Choice Show displays over 100 exceptional works of originality including a sculpted encaustic rooster, fine folk art, watercolor virtuosity, imaginative assemblage pieces, fanciful landscapes and dynamic abstractions. The show runs through November 25

River Arts is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Mondays.

River Arts is located at 241 U.S. Route 1 in Damariscotta, Maine.  Queries and requests may be directed to River Arts at 207-563-1507 or by email at


Peoples’ Choice Winners in the Invitational Hall

River Arts visitors have selected the winners of this month’s Peoples’ Choice: three painters who are inspired by the natural beauty of Maine.  Realistic and abstract points of departure highlight this beautiful show at River Arts.  The show runs until December 1.

Helen Warner, a resident of Newcastle, Maine is inspired by the beauty and color of the natural world and her work tends toward subjects in nature. The luminous transparency of watercolor and its unpredictability continue to be fascinating, however, recently working in oils and alcohol ink has added a new dimension to her work. Both her mother and grandmother were talented artists so she had lots of exposure and guidance in art as a child. After a 40 plus year nursing career, retirement offered the opportunity to focus on art.  She is primarily self taught but has attended many workshops and classes locally, in Florida and in the Bahamas over the past fifteen years. Working as a volunteer at River Arts in Damariscotta provides exposure to many local artists and the chance to learn from their work

John Butke is an artist who has been painting the Maine landscape since 1974. He earned his BFA from MA College of Art and his MFA from Cranbook Academy of Art.  Proficient in oil, watercolor and acrylic, John seeks to capture the beauty and allure of coastal Maine in his work.

He and his wife Jill, a weaver, exhibit their work at The Butke Gallery on Sawyer’s Island in Boothbay, Maine.

 Cory Stafford, currently living in Whitefield, is a self taught artist who paints with oils. Having a desire to follow in the footsteps of family members who painted inspired him to start painting. His works lean toward the abstract and imaginative.


Women Artists of Midcoast Maine – West Gallery thru Dec. 12

The Women Artists of Midcoast Maine is a group of women who banded together several years ago to support and promote their artwork. All have different backgrounds and unique styles, but their unity comes from their love of, and commitment to, art. Oils, acrylics, encaustic and watercolor, as well as some mixed media pieces will be on display in the West Gallery at River Arts in Damariscotta from November 2nd until December 12th.  An opening reception on December 1st will offer a chance to meet and talk with the artists, whose statements appear below:

Kay Carter: After retirement in 2008, I began an intense exploration of the world of visual arts.  I didn’t know how much delight one could experience until I focused on my artwork.  I am now unapologetically in love with form, color, and space.

My study of studio art has been cumulative and eclectic over many years, from an inspired teacher in junior high school to the post retirement years in which I followed a studio art curriculum at the University of Maine.  My passion for creating has led to explorations of pottery, calligraphy, Jacobean crewelwork, and rug hooking.  I am indebted to teachers with whom I studied and from whom I continue to learn.

Judy Graebert: Judy Graebert is a retired architect from Concert Point Architecture.  She has studied with Kris Engman, Susan Tobey White, and Laurie Greenbaum Beitch and is now thoroughly enjoying the freedom of painting along the beautiful Maine coast.

Janake Howard: Born and raised in midcoast Maine, abstract painter Janake Howard explores themes connected with her personal journey.  The cross design has deep significance for her.  She works intuitively as the paintings evolve, using layering  and areas of thick paint.       Howard studied art at the University of Maine and at Unity College. She has exhibited periodically since the 80s when she was a member of the Union of Maine Visual Artists.

Howard has recently shown her work at the Belfast gallery of Julie Cyr and Sheep Jones; in local cafes; and at The Black Hole Gallery and Asymmetric Gallery in Rockland.

Summer J. Hart: I am influenced by the repetitive organic geometries found in nature, scenes viewed through knotholes, and forgotten territories reclaimed by nature.

JoAnne Houlsen: As someone who is quiet and introspective by nature, painting is an important element of communication for me. I paint what catches my eye, makes me stop and think, and then somehow connects to my psyche.

Each of my paintings has meaning for me, although difficult to verbalize at times; for instance, one morning I saw a tall stand of hollyhocks in the sun, looking almost other-worldly.  I want to communicate these kinds of experiences in a way that others can understand, and being a visual person, painting says it all for me.

Deborah Jellison: Deborah Jellison is a midcoast artist with over 25 years experience in teaching and artmaking. Her work ranges from collage, drawing, mixed media installation to painting. She holds a masters degree in Visual Arts and attended Vermont College of Art, Norwich, University where she researched and focused on various art processes including collage, quiltmaking, installation and performance art.

Deborah’s main love is portrait and figure painting. Her recent work combines figures, portraits and natural images and is inspired by her love of nature.

Leecia Price: Having painted primarily in oils, encaustic (beeswax, resin, and pigment) work has recently become a joyful, explorative journey. Subjects I choose vary widely, with grace, color, shape, and texture being my focus, rather than realistic detail. Using materials that fascinate me, I seek to make a piece that is a unique aesthetic experience.

I worked in information technology and environmental conservation until beginning to paint full-time in 2005. Camden is my year-around home.

 Debbie Mitchell: Born near Chicago, I spent most of my adult life in southern California as a music copyist in the entertainment business. Always interested in other arts, I did photography, made sterling silver jewelry and wrote poetry before retiring to Maine in 2004. In 2009 I began studying oil painting with Kris Engman and knew I had found the right medium. For me it is similar to cooking — jump in, pull from my knowledge and sometimes create a mess. In art, as in cooking, I know I will never want or be able to create the same thing twice.

Suzanne G Roberts: An artist with an eye for color and light, Suzanne interprets nature while engaging the viewer. As a true native who grew up and lived in Maine, her observation skills have become intuitive between nature and painting.

“Being able to paint outside in Maine is a treat, and I do so every chance I get,” says Suzanne. “After all, living in Maine is an artist’s paradise.” Her work can be found at Bucksport Lighthouse Gallery throughout the year.

When Suzanne is not painting, you can find her on the golf course, or walking her Malti-poo, Zoe.

Betty Schopmeyer: I came to Maine in 2001, from the Washington, DC area. After a long career as a speech-language pathologist, I went to work for the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport as education director and grants writer.

When I retired in 2013 I happened upon an art class at the Hutchinson Center, taught by Kris Engman, and discovered a new world: oil painting. Now this pastime has become my passion and has led to more classes, some individual and group shows, and a host of new friends and experiences. I love seeing the world in such an enhanced way!






River Arts, open 10am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday and 10 – 2 on Sundays, is located at 241 US Route 1 (north), Damariscotta. For information about the many exhibitions, classes, events and opportunities at River Arts, visit or call 563-1507 or stop in..

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED There are many volunteer opportunities at River Arts, staffing the gallery, helping set up for openings, and artist potluck dinners… Please call (207) 563-1507 or email