published Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Kathleen Mack's newest paintings focus on flower gardens and European markets

  • photo
    “Flower Market” is an oil-and-encaustic painting on canvas by Maine artist Kathleen Mack.
    Contributed Photo

Maine artist Kathleen Mack has spent recent months trying to get her brown thumb to turn green.

"I have been putting in a huge amount of perennial gardens with the intention of supplying all the flowers for my daughter's September wedding," she said. "My thumb is new beige with a slight green hue."

More than 15 of Mack's oil and encaustic paintings can be seen in her solo show, which opens at Shuptrine's Gold Leaf Designs on Thursday. The subject matter for her exhibit, "A Breath of Fresh Air," is composed primarily of florals, garden scenes or people in a garden setting. Also included are paintings inspired by markets in Umbria. Mack has visited the village of Umbertide for years and continues to be fascinated with the local residents and the vendors who sell their products in the marketplace.

Knowing that her best work is created before noon, she starts a typical day in her studio at 5 a.m. She focuses on composition, gesture and movement in her paintings. Listening to music during the painting process is key.

"Music is always going -- from Bach, David Byrne and Shostakovich to Queen," she said.

Her goal is to find the simplest means of expressing an idea or reaction.

"A Breath of Fresh Air" continues through Oct. 15. A reception will be held Sept. 10 from 4 to 8 p.m..

Shuptrine's Gold Leaf Designs, 2646 Broad St., is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday; and by appointment. Call 266-4453.

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