I’d known Bob for about 35 years when he moved to Maine to be with me. We were married a few months later. During those 35 years he’d been a speechwriter, film producer, public relations/media relations expert and consultant to an assortment of companies, advisor to the Saudi Arabian oil industry, New York taxi driver, bartender, Barnes and Noble manager, and, I suspect, a few professions I still don’t know about.
He loved photography, and did model portfolios in New York City for a while (I always suspected it was partially to meet girls,) and did family “at home informal portraits.”
When he arrived in Maine I hoped he’d find something to do here, in the state that I loved, that would fascinate him, as I’d found writing and antique prints. I shouldn’t have worried. He immediately took control of our kitchen and started turning out gourmet meals (cooking had always been a hobby of his, and as a side effect we each gained about twenty pounds the first year we were married.) He took on the mammoth job of inventorying my antique print business, a long overdue task. And he picked up his camera again, and starting taking microphotographs of rocks and sand and kelp. He began to see the world through his lens, and within a year had his first Maine photography exhibit.
And then, one year on his birthday, he decided to learn to paint. My mother had been an artist, and her easel was still in the house, and he turned one of the rooms in our ell into a studio. He studied books on painting, and gallery and museum exhibits, and experimented with textures and surfaces and paints and colors. He painted hours each day — and many nights. He had, to both of our delights, found a new passion.
Two years later he had his first exhibit. Since then he has had exhibits in galleries in Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and is a “regular” at the Stable Gallery in Damariscotta, Maine. DOWN EAST magazine featured him in a story on retired men and women who had reinvented themselves.
Our home, always filled with books (we have floor to ceiling bookcases in every room and some hallways) now had to make space for paintings — many of them hung over the books. (Yes, there was some discussion about that!) We don’t often entertain in our dining room – turned library — because now it is also storage for paintings.
And this week Bob and I (and a very helpful neighbor) hung his first show of 2017 (23 paintings) at the Southport Memorial Library in Southport, Maine. The pictures on this blog tell the story, from choosing the paintings, putting them in large bags, adding tags, and sorting them in our living room, to hanging them at the library.
Last night we enjoyed wine and cheese and the exhibit (which will be open until June 30) was open to the public. And one of his paintings sold! Next opening? May 19 (5 pm-7 pm) at the Stable Gallery. And June 8 Bob and I will both be talking at the Southport Library at 7 pm about being an artist married to a writer.
Maine is a welcoming state for artists and writers … and we love being able to share our visions, in words and pictures, with others.
Hoping if you’re in the neighborhood, you’ll stop in to one of the galleries Bob shows at. He says the textures of his work remind him of the city walls in Beirut, Lebanon, where he grew up, but the colors, the blue and greens and oranges, are all Maine. As his proud wife. I just say they’re breathtaking. And now they’re as much a part of our life as are my books.
What could be better than being a two genre family?