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Madelyn Albee

“People don’t always realize the fact that the Sun doesn’t stand still and this is a difficulty for a Plein Air Painter!” The Art Place’s featured artist: Madelyn Albee describes what a Plein Air painting venture is like for her. Well-traveled artist Madelyn is no stranger to the challenges and joy of painting outside. She meets twice a week with two different local painting groups. Each group is about 8 to 10 artist from Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro and Brookfield, New Hampshire.  They work together to choose and get to a location, but paint individually while they are there. “It’s challenging to interpret a place in two hours, and it’s fun!” she says with a smile.

When Madelyn first arrives at location she thinks about in which medium she would like to create the scene. For her this could be watercolor, oils, pastels as she is fluid in many different medias. “We don’t talk while we are painting, we set up and deal with the elements; it could be windy, mosquito-y, hilly, the shadows are constantly moving…”   (that dang moving sun!)  Madelyn says that although this planning, prep and set up is complicated, after doing it for so many years it is second nature, and each of the decisions she makes are rather intuitive. An added benefit, Madelyn states, is the fellow artist community that she has enjoyed over the past 10 years. Occasionally the group will travel to a museum or exhibit.

Loons in Moultonborough

Loons in Moultonborough by Madelyn Albee

Madelyn’s artwork depicts the two  landscapes that she knows very well and lives in: painting on location summers in New Hampshire and winters in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Her native Lunenburg is often depicted in lone boat scenes set in rugged coves, or brightly colored sails against a misty harbor. Paintings of Wolfeboro often include architectural detailing of New England homes, weathered rowboats set along the shore of Lake Wentworth, or loons collaged within the texture of a local map (shown above). The mood of the day is apparent in the images she creates, Madelyn’s confident brush strokes show a mastery of the elements and media.  Her intuitive sensitive response to that experience gives the viewer a chance to be there with her.

Meet the artist Madelyn Albee at The Art Place on Saturday, December 10th during The Wolfeboro Art Walk from 5 to 8 pm.

Castle Paintings

If you are a New Hampshire local, you most certainly have heard of the little gem–Castle in the Clouds–in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. This extravagant home was built in 1914 perched in the Ossipee Mountain Range. It’s famous for its lush views overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee and its lavish interior. Beloved artist Peter Ferber created a series of paintings depicting the Castle. The Art Place recently refreshed its stock of these iconic prints, which are very popular with locals, or for couples who are married at the Castle! Wedding season is a popular time to purchase these prints, but they are stunning all year round. You can view all of these prints here.

Castle Above the Clouds

Castle Above the Clouds

Peter Ferber documented his work on this series of paintings through small essays that go with each piece. One aspect of the Castle that he worked to convey was the rugged environment that surrounds the safe and civilized building. This can be seen in my favorite piece of the series–Castle Above the Clouds. In this painting, the large Castle seems minuscule compared to the view of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Peter also used unique perspectives to create these pieces. In Eye of the Castle, he stood on a 14-foot ladder to get just the right angle and view of reflections in the upper window. And The Corner Pocket captures so much of the architecture and feeling of the Castle and the surrounding landscape with just a tiny view of the corner of a room.

The Corner Pocket

The Corner Pocket

The Castle series also highlights several painting styles that Peter is fluent in. Tea Time at the Castle is a wonderful example of Peter’s detailed watercolor work. The tiny lacework and precise reflections in the silver tea set are flawlessly executed. Peter got to experiment with painting new kinds of intricate details in this series of paintings–the shiny car in Winged Visitor, a newspaper in In the Wind, and another lace tablecloth in Sun Settings!

The Gatekeeper’s cottage and Pergola Perch are reminiscent of an old English country scene. The brown oil wash softens the background of these images and allows the landscape to delicately emerge from the background, leaving plenty of space for the imagination to “fill in the gaps”. Another oil piece–Castle Hues–takes this a step further. Although this painting is created with acrylics, Peter’s depth of hues is similar to his oil works; the clear blue of the distant mountains is a striking contrast to the earthy autumn trees in the foreground.

The Castle in the Clouds series is a gorgeous collection of works, highlighting local artist Peter Ferber’s artistic talents. Each painting expresses this New England landmark in a slightly different voice, and together they truly bring the Castle in the Clouds to life. Although their summer season is over, the Castle is still open to visitors, and many enjoy this time of year for the special Christmas at the Castle events. After seeing the Castle, Peter’s art prints may feel even more alive to you, as the memory of a visit adds further color and feeling to these vivid pieces.

What is a Certified Picture Framer?

When you bring a piece of artwork into a shop to be framed, it is more important than you may think to be sure your work is being taken care of by a certified picture framer (or CPF). The Professional Picture Framer’s Association (PPFA) has created a rigorous exam to help framers prove their professionalism, techniques and overall standard for excellence that qualifies them as a CPF.

“The process of studying was where the most benefit came.” – Harry Gaston, CPF


Emily was awarded the Warshawer Certified Picture Framers’ scholarship.

In order to take the CPF exam, a framer must have hands-on experience with conservation techniques as well as study a long list of framing literature. I am currently working on attaining my own CPF designation, and was recently honored with the Warshawer Certified Picture Framers’ scholarship! This award is given by the New England chapter of PPFA, and aids in taking the CPF exam. I have begun studying for the test and can already see the results of this hard work in my relationship with customers and the artwork that they bring in to The Art Place.

But why is trusting your artwork with a CPF so important? CPFs understand how to best keep your artwork with high monetary or (more importantly) high sentimental value safe from tears, wrinkles, acid burn, mold and mildew, staining, fading, and so much more. They know how to frame artwork in a reversible way; with conservation framing, the piece can be completely removed from the frame and matting without any change or harm to the work. A CPF framer can be trusted to keep your work safe, and explain to you the pros and cons of different framing techniques, and how they can protect your work.

A CPF framer also studies how to create a visually pleasing piece; they can create a striking design that complements the artwork and reflects a customer’s unique vision. At The Art Place, we work hard to make framing choices that enhance the work being framed, instead of distracting the eye and creating “visual clutter”. A CPF framer is also fluent in a wide variety of mats, frames, and other decorative elements that can add polish and finesse to the framing design. For example, The Art Place has over 4,000 moulding samples to choose from, as well as an array of mats from various shades of white to vibrant colors and even fabrics and textures.

Barbara Gibbs, owner of The Art Place, and Betty Kanca, mat cutting specialist, both have CPF designations. This sets our shop apart from others in a very unique way. All our employees are trained under a CPF standard and can be trusted to protect your artwork and frame it safely and with style!


Walter and Kathy put together an oversized frame for a custom framing job.


Barbara measures a fabric piece by artist Valerie Schurer Christle to be framed.


The Art Place staff (excluding Walter) with local artist Peter Ferber from left to right: Emily Marsh, Corina Willette, Barbara Gibbs, artist Peter Ferber, Katherine Tremblay, and Betty Kanca.

Food for Thought

When we started hanging the work for Jan Croteau’s show Food for Thought, people immediately began coming in and commenting on the festive looking fruits and vegetables. We also got excited about the titles and playful essays that went with Jan’s work. As we moved the artwork around in different placements on the wall, we even started laughing at our accidental jokes. “What if we sandwich the apples?” “I feel those two are going to sell as a pair.”

jans-openingI think everyone who attended the show can agree; Jan’s work reflects a strong sense of playfulness, honestly, and gratitude for nature. Jan writes about her passion for gardening, art and life with her inspiring essays that accompany each piece. As an artist and writer, Jan sends off each painting with a gift of a story. This is what makes her work so unique and personal. You can immediately find words to connect to the artwork, even if you are not a regular gallery-goer.

I had a lot of fun reading some of these stories as I created tags for Jan’s work. One of my favorites was about her annual birthday request for artichokes for dinner! (I have an almost identical story myself!) Jan brings humor into her work through these short essays and sometimes even the title itself! A painting of grapes is laughingly called, “Not Even Enough to Make a Scant Teaspoon of Jelly”.


The Ripe Time by Jan Helling Croteau

Jan also surprises her viewers (and readers) with some thought-provoking messages that you wouldn’t expect to find accompanying bright and lively still life paintings. The pear painting we used for our postcards comes with an essay where Jan quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson: “There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it’s perfect to eat.” Not only is this a painting that makes you pause to breathe in the dynamic colors and textures of the visual image, but also a piece that makes you stop to think about appreciating life itself and the precious quiet moments that Jan highlights in her writing.

From the first impact of these glowing paintings on the wall, to reading the poetic and inspiring stories that Jan has skillfully crafted, Food For Thought is a show you do not want to miss! Her work will be on display until October 22 during normal gallery hours. (Monday-Saturday 9:30-5)

Fall Foliage and Photography


Forest and Field by John Geery

Many people come into the gallery these days and ask about New Hampshire’s fall foliage. Although it’s a little early to catch peak color, the leaves are starting to turn here around Lake Winnipesaukee. (Check out this foliage tracker for more details!)

Photographer John Geery has brought in new work just in time for the bright colors. Geery originally photographed the dramatic landscapes of Utah and the western United States. He returned to New England and soon fell in love with the quieter scenes and changing seasons. He currently lives in Vermont, and captures barns, wooden bridges, hay fields, and quiet country roads in his vibrant photographs.

In an interview with John, I asked him if he waited for prime leaf season or “peak season” to go out and capture the foliage. He explained that peak season moves southward, down the state, throughout the fall season. In September, he may travel to northern Vermont to get the brightest photos, but in late October the most dazzling leaves can be found in southern New Hampshire. He said peak season can last a long time if you move with the colors!

But even if the foliage is at its brightest and best, John explained that “it’s really about the lighting”. The shorter days and longer nights create the kind of lighting that photographers seek out. John looks for photographic opportunities after storms, when the air becomes crisp and clear. He also ventures out when other people are “sleeping or eating” as he puts it. Early morning and around dinner time can have the most beautiful lighting.

We have a fresh inventory of John Geery’s work, so this is a wonderful opportunity to stop in and view this artists’ vibrant fall photography. Read more about him on his artist page.

Reflected Colors

Reflected Colors by John Geery

Featured Photographer Sarah Cail

I remember taking a photography workshop years ago when camera’s had film. I was told that it is not unusual to shoot a whole roll of film in order to get one good shot—quite discouraging. Today with the use of i-phones, i-pads, point-and shoot camera’s, it is the norm to take pictures on a regular basis without much effort. However, it takes patience, skill, a good eye, the right equipment, the right timing, and great passion to get the kind of photographs that Sarah Cail creates. Sarah, who resides in the New Hampshire Lakes Region in the summer and Florida in the winter, captures the best of these two worlds that she loves. Sarah believes that her ability to reside in both Florida and New Hampshire has contributed to her desire to become a nature and landscape photographer. The mountains, lakes and wildlife of New Hampshire are her subjects while she is here. Her perfect day is spent capturing the predawn skies, sunrises, and sunsets. She drives back roads in search of new vistas. Her subject matter is not just the flora, fauna, and scenery of New Hampshire and Florida, Sarah also travels extensively to photograph.

Sarah is the current guest artist from August 27th through September 10th. I chose Sarah to exhibit her work after seeing a photograph she had taken of a herd of horses. The picture captured the white horses with their rugged beauty galloping through water along the edge of the sea as they approached her at full speed in what seemed to be synchronized motion. She totally recreated the excitement of that moment. Sarah later told me that photographing those iconic white horses of Camargue, France was one of her most rewarding experiences. Sarah states, “photography is my way of sharing the beauty that is to be seen in the world in an admittedly optimistic point of view. My creative perspective is often “up close and personal,” because I love the almost intimate details that we don’t normally attend to in everyday life. My goal is to evoke an emotional response in the viewer that parallels the sense of reverence, or even humor that helped me to “see” the moment of magic that is now captured in time.”

Sarah Cail Horses
Sarah has found inspiration in many photographers, but her mentors have most
notably been Rick Sammon, known as today’s father of photography, Jared Lloyd, whom Sarah took a workshop from on the Barrier Islands, and John Lopinot, a well-known bird photographer.

In talking with Sarah recently, she told me that along with discovering amazing images, she also has met some very special people. “These people each have a story to tell,” Sarah continues, “for example, I was photographing an old barn, and the owner was telling me how he wants to keep the barn for his family, but it has taken him 10 years just to repair the roof. The building is dilapidating faster than it can be restored.” Sarah cares about the story beyond the photograph. Her vision is more than just what she sees behind the camera. When I look at Sarah’s photography, I see a theme running throughout her work—one of passion and compassion and a love for nature, wildlife and the habitat that we all share. She has mastered techniques, but she has also met her goal of evoking an emotional response along with creating a moment of magic. Well done Sarah.

“A picture without a frame is like a soul without a body”– van Gogh.

Over many years I have looked at a lot of art, but hadn’t given the framing a second glance. Working at The Art Place in framing has changed this. Now I view an exhibit – such as last year’s Van Gogh exhibition at the Clark -and can’t help looking at and thinking about how the mouldings protect, support and enhance the art. At first this was frustrating; it felt like competition to my enjoyment of the art. The more I learn about the history of framing, the less judgmental I feel about the brain space and the eye space it takes up. Frames have a history, a materiality of their own- as well as reflect history and respond to aesthetics in the art and the world around them at the time that they were made.

Martin Kotler, a conservator at the Smithsonian asks: “How many people have taken an art history class? Now how many times have they seen a frame or discussed one in it?” Images in countless art books are shown mostly without their frames and there are only a handful of books on the subject of framing. So, it’s no wonder that I spent years not seeing or thinking about the frames in museums.

The concept of framing has been around since ancient Egypt and Greece as seen on pottery and on walls to create sections of scenes.  The earliest wooden frame was discovered in the 2nd century AD in a Hawara Egyptian tomb. According to a historical series published in Picture Framing Magazine these early “framed panel paintings were made from one piece. The area to be painted was carved out, leaving a raised framing border around the outside edge, like a tray. The whole piece was then gessoed and gilded. Painting the image on the flat panel was the last thing to be done.”   The high cost of this process was prohibitive and led to the present day use of mitered moulding strips.  By the 12th century European frames started to resemble frames as we recognize them today.  In the 14th century church commissions for alterpieces dictated that the frame designs reflect the interiors of the churches and the architecture of these spaces. Wealthy patrons such as the Medici family shifted the making of frames into the home and they became more portable.  The French Renaissance brought further refinement of the frames and art into homes and part of daily life. Furniture builders began making frames as oppose to the sculptors, artists and architects of the past. During the American agricultural reign of power, designs on frames included wheat, corn and tobacco. Abstract Expressionist did away with frames entirely or used only small strips of wood.

Most frames are made from wood, but are also made from silver, bronze, aluminum, plastics, carved wood with gilding and even LED lights.  Interestingly, there are no copyright laws on frame designs and therefore mimics of frames are prolific.

Frames have practical function (protection, support and enhancement) as well as serve as space holders and story telling. They can tell a part of the story of the art and become part of it’s history. As space holders, they can give a visual pause, before I enter into the art being held within. No longer non-existent nor unimportant, rather part of the whole.

LED frame

history of frames

the clark


Peter Ferber’s 2016 Summer Show

SummerShowCrowdPeter Ferber’s August show this year brought the usual crowds and excitement, with people lining up on the street starting at 5:45am. This exhibit features Peter’s classic watercolors as well as rich oils and an acrylic, an ink drawing, and intensely detailed paper cutout with a watercolor accent. Many pieces were sold in the first few minutes, but there are still several gems available for purchase.

One of the pieces Peter created for this show began many years ago when he photographed the interior of a boat shed in the 70s. I remember when Peter first brought this painting in, and was delighted to title it “Relegated to the Future”.

Relegated to the Future

Relegated to the Future

Another piece Peter gathered abundant research for is “The Steamboat Swallow”. This ink drawing is the second in a series of black and white illustrations that began with an interpretation of the old Mount Washington steamboat. The Swallow also evokes the feeling of a past, with lots of elegant line work creating the graceful silhouette of the ship. There are also small and large prints available of this original ink drawing.

The Steamboat Swallow

The Steamboat Swallow

One of my favorite pieces in the show is a little acrylic painting that is a rare view for Peter to capture–Lake Wentworth. “Golden Point” is a rich sunset scene that shows the serene quality of the lake just before dusk.

Peter’s show continues through August 20, so be sure you stop in a catch a glimpse of these stunning originals before they leave the gallery. Several pieces will be made into prints, but many more will not be reproduced. This is a rare opportunity to view a portfolio of work that reflects the beauty of the Lakes Region.


Golden Point – Wentworth


Helene Pierce Watercolorist

Berries in Blue

Berries in Blue

By Barbara Gibbs

This is my 38th year with The Art Place.  I have had been having artists  display their work on our walls since 1992 when I moved into my present location at 9 North Main Street, Wolfeboro.  Helene Pierce, a Wolfeboro resident and watercolor artist, has been showing her work here since then.  We had a one person show with her about 15 years ago, and this year I felt that it was time for her to have another exhibit of her current work.  When I say current work, that might not seem like anything unusual, but in this case for an artist who has been actively painting for well over 60 years, one can imagine that she has a considerable amount of paintings.  She has sold and  exhibited throughout the years, yet her stock is still great.  You see, Helene is a very prolific painter,  due mostly to her passion and enthusiasm to paint.  She works in her beautiful home overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, as well as gathering weekly with friends to paint in Rockport, Massachusetts.  So let me “paint” you a better picture of  the artist Helene Pierce who’s work is on exhibit here at The Art Place through July 30th:

Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1930, Helene Pierce  knew from the very first time she could hold a crayon that art was what she wanted to do.  In school, she continued to shine with her art.  Knowing that it was difficult to make a living in the field of art, she chose a different career path. However, she did take a number of workshops and studied  art on her own, all the time improving her skills.  A family kept her very busy, but painting was always a part of her life.  She painted every chance she could get.  She studied with Betty Lou Schlemm, who is a member of the American Watercolor Society and a published artist.  Helene also took classes at UNH with Sigmand Abeles, a well-known artist and professor, who’s work is very much revered.

Helene and her husband moved to Amherst, NH first, then in 1991, they moved to Wolfeboro, NH.  Helene  travels to Rockport, Massachusetts, where she paints every Tuesday with a group of artists including her long-time teacher friend Betty Lou Schlemm.  The group has been getting together in Rockport since the 1970’s!  They paint outdoors in the summer.

Helene has exhibited nationally and internationally, as well as widely throughout New England.  She is the recipient of numerous national and regional awards.  Helene’s professional memberships have included the New England Watercolor Society; The Copley Society of Boston, MA; The New Hampshire Art Association;  Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, NY, NY; Academic Artists Associations, Springfield, MA; The American Artists Professional League, NY, NY; North Shore Art Association, Gloucester, MA; Sharon Arts Center, Peterborough, NH; The Bermuda Society of Arts, Hamilton, Bermuda.  Her work has been represented by The Art Place for over 15 years.

In the art world, she is known as a painters’ painter—an admiration  by other artists  of her ability to master the medium.  Her medium of choice is watercolor, which she paints with fluidity and movement often choosing lush colors.   Helene’s aesthetically pleasing still lifes show her ability to create volume and form,  as well as depicting light and shadow.  Equally appealing are her landscapes, placing the viewer in a pleasant setting or creating a moment  in time where time might indeed stand still.  Helene has an impressive body of work that span decades of painting.  I am pleased to be surrounded by so much of her work here at The Art Place.  Her exhibit continues through July 30th, and is featured during Wolfeboro’s Art Walk on Saturday, July 30th from 5 to 8. We will continue to show her work even after the current exhibit is down.  After all,  she will continue painting, and there’s a lot more of her art to show!

A Portfolio of 4,000 Footers


Shadows and Silhouettes Photograph by Jeb Bradley

I was asked today what the GRID means. New Hampshire is the home of 48 4,000 footers. These awe-inspiring mountains have not only have been the source for photographer Jeb Bradley’s inspiration, but have also served as a challenge for this avid hiker.

Bradley began pursuing the GRID in 2009, and finished in early 2015. The GRID involves hiking each of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers in every month of the year. That means that Bradley hiked all of the state’s toughest mountains even in the deepest months of the winter. His camera in tow, Jeb also viewed these peaks in every season of the year. His images capture frosted snowdrifts, vivid foliage, and crisp reflections in warm summer lakes. Very view people have seen New Hampshire’s mountains the way Jeb has–he is only the 49th hiker to complete the GRID–but he chooses to share his experiences through the art of photography.


Star Lake Photograph by Jeb Bradley

While I was helping to hang Jeb’s portfolio of works for his show at The Art Place, I asked him which photographs he most wanted to highlight. Not surprisingly, he pointed out his series on Star Lake, a stunning lake at so remote and high an altitude that it is unseen by most New Hampshire natives. Bradley’s crisp images teleport viewers to this nearly magical location, one of his favorite places in the White Mountains.

Bradley’s exhibit at The Art Place continues through July 9. Don’t miss this show highlighting New Hampshire’s colorful seasons.